Wednesday, August 12, 2009

More archaeological discoveries in Bulgaria

Bulgaria's top archaeologist, Professor Nikolay Ovcharov, showed Bulgarian media artifacts and jewelry that he discovered recently in Veliko Tarnovo, the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185-1396 AD).

Ovcharov has discovered the remains of the medieval St. Peter and St. Paul Monastery and the St. Ivan of Rila Church, which both provide information about the life of the medieval Bulgarian capital that had never been available before.

The finds include a gold ring with an amethyst, a golden earring, a silver gilded pin with a massive pearl - part of the more than 100 objects of precious metal dating from the 13th through the 18th century.

Ovcharov has found 20 silver rings, and a massive 23-gram male ring of 21-carat gold that he showed at a special press conference in Sofia.

Another silver ring dated back to the 13th century has an image of lilies, the symbol of the French royal court, and according to Ovcharov was made in Aquitaine, France, and probably brought to Bulgaria through the Crusades.

More than 600 artefacts from the digs, which began in 2008, will be shown at a temporary exhibition hosted by the Regional Museum of History in Turnovo before year's end.

In addition to the jewellery, remains of valuable cloth were found in many of the graves which, according to the archaeologists, refutes the opinion that the Bulgarian aristocracy was destroyed after the Ottoman invasion at the end of the 14th century.

Professor Ovcharov has also discovered the grave of a 17-18 year old girl that he believes was a Bulgarian princess. His team is yet to study her origin. The team also found parts of murals and interesting architectural remains.

Ovcharov and the archaeologists believe that the St. Peter and St. Paul Monastery was the largest monastery complex in Bulgaria in that period (12-14 century). They believe that the St. Ivan of Rila Church two stories high, and was a site where the relics of St. Ivan of Rila (870-940 AD).

Excavations will continue next year.