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Archaeological Park "New Life for the Past"

 

 

 

Studies show the richness of culture in the region of Radnevo over millennia and centuries. In  the organizing of this extraordinary park in an area of about 13 acres have been recreated  non existing monuments where they were found.

1. Entrance of a fortress with a pair of rectangular towers with gates.
The fortress was discovered in the area near the village of Polski gradec. There was entirely revealed the gate of an early Byzantine fortress which is flanked by two rectangular towers protruding from the middle part of the wall. The wall and the tower are wide 1.60 m . Their faces are built with massive ashlars and the filling of small stones covered with mortar, which contain crushed building ceramics. The entrances of the two towers are in the west ,intercepted perpendicularly in the wall  of the fortress with a width of 1 m. The size of the interior of the tower is 4.00 x 2.30 m. The distance between the towers is 7.00 m, which is  too big to shape its entrance. A stone block with a hole from the axes  of a door was found approximately in the middle of this distance from the inner side of the gates.  Probably the entrance is not more than 2.00 m wide and is protruded to Tower № 1. i.e. the north tower.    The fortress was determined to date back from  V-VI century according to the material used and method of construction.

2. Fragment of Early Byzantine fortress of VI century
 It was found in the area of Alekov hill in the land of the village of Znamenosec. According to its plan it is almost a square with a side of 79 m. Its corners are flanked with four round towers projecting from the middle part of the wall. The wall is 2.00 m. wide and the width of the walls of the towers is 1.40 m. The interior of the tower is 5.60 m.
From the inside of the western wall there is a chain building with three premises which were at least on two floors.The foundations of the premises are of ashlars with mortar and above them brickwork with sundried bricks. As living premises were used the three of the four towers. Tower № 1 in the ground part is used as a water reservoir. We judge it by the hydrophobic mortar found in it. In the inner part of the sector was revealed the foundation of a staircase, which led to combat platform of the wall. At this point we cannot determine whether the staircase is a single or double armed. The rest of the interior space was left not finished. There is an exception only in the eastern part where a stone socle was revealed from an unknown construction. On the bases of the numerous found material including coins, the fortress functioned approximately 50 years within the VI century.


3. Early Christian basilica near the village of Polski gradec
Basilica № 1 is a nave with two aisles,  an apse without  a narthex.The oriention has a deviation of 40 ° to the southeast of the east-west direction.
The width of the wall is 0.60 m.  The western part of the wall was destroyed during the construction of the southern wall of basilica № 2, which covers the earlier basilica. From the south wall of the basilica is preserved a small part in the narthex of the later basilica. The wall between the narthex and the temple covers again the western wall of the earlier basilica.
The scarce remains from the basilica № 1 allow approximately accurate reconstruction of the whole plan. The front point of the basilica was 13.60 m. long and a 12.20 m. wide, i.e. it refers to the basilicas with a shortened plan. A small part from the apse is preserved, which is located between the eastern wall of the south aisle of the basilica № 2 and the fifth apse from the outside. This allows the reconstruction of the apse, and hence to establish the length of the early basilica with apse which reaches 17 meters judging from the approximate reconstruction of the plan, its north and south nave was wide about 5.80 m and the width of stilobatite about 0.60 m.
The architectural type, construction equipment, environment and the found archaeological materials and coins determine the construction of the building to the second half of the IV century.


Basilica № 2. The Basilica retains the dimensions and plan design of the old temple, i.e. it is a three-nave, apse church with indiscrete narthex. The new in the building are three-stepped stone seat for the priest and two enlargements from the south and the north. The  deambulatorium was abandoned during the construction and on it was  built a three-stepped stone seat, which is preserved only in the northern part of the apse area. In the construction of the steps were used ashlars and  the filling is of stones and mortar, mixed with parts of pieces of bricks similar to the mortar in the second basilica. However the cement differs in structure from the mortar of the earlier building and there are less pieces of  bricks.
During this period, to the north and south of the church were added enlargements. The south one rolls on the whole length of the basilica and is 19.80 m. long and 3.75 m. wide. The walls of the enlargement were constructed with small and medium-sized ashlars cemented with mortar in which the amount of broken pieces of  bricks is considerably less than in the basilica № 2, and the construction is more flimsy and the structure is more different from that of the basilica № 2. The width of the walls varies from 0.67 to 0.70 meters. The west and the east wall are cemented to the outer face of the south wall of the basilica № 2. In this way the internal dimensions of the enlargement are 18.40 x 3.05 m
The walls of the southern enlargement are preserved to a height of 0.25 to 0.40 m.
Most likely its entrance was located almost in the middle of the south wall and where masonry breaks, but unfortunately the sides of the entrance are not preserved, therefore its exact width cannot be established.
The northern enlargement is 8.75 m. long and 4.25 m. wide.
The width of the western and the eastern wall is 0.75 m and the north - 0.80 m, hence it is supposed that the internal dimensions of the enlargement are 7.25 x 3.45 m. The west wall is cemented to north wall of the basilica № 2, whilst its the north end is in a constructive connection with the north wall of the enlargement.
The temple survived up to the middle of the V century, after which it was abandoned forever. In any case, in determining the chronology we should take into account the found  there  more than 80 coins, the latest of which relate to the reign of Valentinian III (425-455), which gives a secure prove for the dating of the basilica 2B , i.e. it certainly does not go beyond the middle of the V century. After its abandonment and possible destruction most probably arose the western necropolis, which was further used up to 10-20 years, and after that abandoned forever.

4. Watchtower and a complex farm building from the Roman period.
It was located in Garagashkin hill 2.5 km north of the village of Pomoshnik.
A residential-farm building with 5 rooms grouped around a courtyard was discovered. The total area of the researched building is 375 m2. The foundations of the building and the preserved structure at a height of 1.40 m. are ashlars with mud cement and above them with adobe. It had a tiled roof. The materials from the research show its residential and farming nature. Based on the found 24 pieces of coins we define its functioning within the IV century AD.
In the northeast of the building was investigated a single watchtower with internal
sizes 4.30 x 4.30 m. The walls are 1.60 m wide and were constructed with ashlars cemented with mortar.The north facade wall of the building continues in the east and at 10 m. from the northeast corner of the building and reaches to the north corner of the tower.  The stratigraphic position of the two parts is identical. This is a proof for the parallel existence of the tower  and the building, and it was the tower that was first built. Such towers are common for the  Danube boundaries. But for now it is the only tower of its kind found so far in hinterland of  the Roman empire.

5. Brick-layed tomb of the Roman era
The village of Mednikarovo is located 15 km east of the town of Galabovo.
The examined tomb V is located on the southern slope of a hill with a height of 0.60 m and diameter of 25 m. Because of its location it is more easily distinguishable from the south than from the north.
Grave № 4 differs somewhat from the others, both in the design of the burial facility and the rich burial gifts. The burial pit is at a depth of 0,35m. It has a north-south orientation with the 12th deviation on the northeast and is 2 meters long and 1.44 m. wide. The burial chamber has a length of 2.10 meters and a width of 1.06 meters. It was built with 6 in length and 3 in width square bricks with a side of 0.34 m and a thickness of 0.04 m, and at height of 5-rows of bricks. The internal dimensions of the chamber are 1.40 m × 0.34 m × 0.20 m .The grave is covered with two long tiles which imitates a dome carefully plastered with white mortar, which was used in the construction of the tomb.
The funeral was conducted through cremation on the site. Observations show that the pyre was erected on the brick chamber.
The tomb chamber is filled with a thick layer of ash, coal and unburned bones, among which were found a pair of gold earrings, two fragments of silver, a bronze and iron bracelet, a silver ring, a bone hair pins and a bronze coin. In the north corner of the chamber is a pot, covered with a small clay bowl. There was found a flower similar with that on the wreath on the skull.
For dating of the mentioned finding, along with the architectural style of burial facility, the features of the funeral ritual and the found jewelry and pottery of crucial importance is  the found bronze coin from the reign of Emperor Antonius Pius (138-161), minted in Philippopolis, which relates the tomb the middle of the II century. Most of the findings refer to the same period.
The Analysis of stratigraphic observations and archaeological environment shows that the open grave NQ 4, in tomb V from the necropolis near the village of Mednikarovo is primary. It is distinguished from the others not only in architectural type of the  burial equipment and the wealth of burial gifts, but also by the found there Ring of Theodora, a  probable representative of the local provincial land aristocracy.

6. PROTECTIVE COATINGS

1.  A pit with human remains from the site near the village of Polski Gradec in the region of the Thermal power complex "Maritsa- Iztok"
The object was found in the area of  "Seilishteto" near the village of  Polski Gradec, which in the previous publications,  the field  with pits was interpreted as a religious object.
In some of the pits were found human remains.  The most notable among them is a pit which was dated back to VI-V BC, where were found bones (mainly lower limbs and skulls) of 6 people of different sexes and different ages. It has an approximate diameter of 2.30 m.and a depth of 0.50/0.60 m. The parts of  the human bodies were scattered throughout the pit and only in anatomical order  are one breast-bone and an arm, cut  at the shoulder. The skulls were neatly laid with trunks down, and around them were scattered tubular bones. Many of the bones show signs of cuts made at a time when the bodies still had flesh, but it is not clear exactly when they were inflicted: ante-or post mortem.
Similar examples are known from almost all big pit complexes, studied in our country: there were found fragments of human bones, parts of human bodies of one or more individuals placed in anatomic or non-anatomic order, and complete skeletons, some of which  are in an unnatural position or bear traces of violent death of the buried. Such cases were registered in a number of Thracian tombs from I BC: Most of them can probably be explained by the practice of re-inhumation, but the emergence of human remains in the pit complexes are thought to be as a result from the performance of human sacrifices in Thrace.
 The registered in the pit of the village of Polish Gradec ritual is not typical for the normal burial practice since the remains were found out of the  tomb contex. The fact that the placement of  the human remains happened at a time when the bones still had flesh, in a way rejects the idea of their re-inhumation. The traces of cutting / chopping on them can be viewed as an indicator for  a violent death or  for a secondary manipulation with human remains performed because of the impossibility to be done a normal burial (because of a death due to unfavourable weather, unusual death).

Tomb № 6 in the  gravestone "Chernyovo mound" in the village of Golyama detelina
The Chernoyova burial mound is located in the area of “Yelazlaka” located approximately six kilometers east of the village of Troianovo.  The mound was about 3m high and had a diameter of about 50 meters. There of great interest is Grave № 6. The burial facility has a rectangular shape oriented east-west with dimensions 3.50 x 3.30 meters. It was dug into the sterile layer at a depth of 2.40 m. The funeral was conducted by placement of the dead body supine  in  flexed position (with legs folded), fallen to the right. The arms are drawn along the body. The orientation is northwest-southeast. The flat bottom of the burial pit is covered with 0.1 A m. layer of earth with light brown hue, clearly distinguished from the main earth color. Above it there is a wooden structure, framed by beams with a diameter of 0.1 m.The wooden construction was lined with organic fabric / leather /  chained with silver nails. On the skeleton, the most recognizable at the feet are traces of red ochra.

Grave № 7 in the burial mound near the village of Ovchartsi.
It is situated 1.5 km northwest of the village of Ovchartsi.  The height of the preserved part is 5.5 m with a diameter of 40 m. It was initially studied in 1986 when were discovered 55 graves from the medieval age. In the mound were discovered 17 graves from the Early Bronze Age and the Grave № 7 of the Middle Bronze Age. Burial facility has almost regular oval oriented northeast-southwest with dimensions 1.65 x 1.70 m. The bottom of the burial pit is leveled and neatly arranged. The skeleton is ritually dismembered post mortem and placed in an approximate anatomic order with bent at the knees legs, placed on  right / hocker /. The anthropological studies show that the skeleton belongs to females at the age of 65 and height of 1.75 m, the sceleton indicates that during her lifetime the woman had well developed muscularity. The filling of the pit is hard, light yellow earth and above the skeleton there is loose, light brown soil. There are remains from woodwhich is the most probable reason for the different color of the earth above the skeleton. There is a possibility that the skeleton was covered with a wooden structure.
Based on numerous parallels in Central Europe and the Aegean world it can  be assumed that dating goes back to XX - XVII century BC or the Middle Bronze Age, according to the adopted in the country periodization. The ceramic made with a wheel hasn’t got for now a parallel on the Balkan Peninsula. It corresponds directly with the Crete -Mycenaean culture and cultures in the Front Asia.

Human sacrifice from the late Iron Age.
It is situated in the area of ”Kumsala” at 800 m northwest of the village of Gledachevo.
100 pits from the pit sanctuary have been studied. Of a great interest is pit № 9, which is interpreted as a burial. It has a circular shape with a diameter of 2.00 m and a depth of 0.90 meter. The walls are vertical, slightly inclined towards the bottom in the lower part. The first layer of the filling has a black  colour thoroughly repleted with small embers. In the second layer there are considerably more coal and ash. In the described burial facility was discovered a skeleton of a woman at the age of about 16 , in an unusual and non-discovered far position. She was on her knees facing the ground. Her right hand covers the right shoulder. The left palm and foot of her right leg were missing. According to the observations made on the site by an anthropologist, this movement of the arm is unconscious, made when she was alive. On the cervical vertebrae is discovered a large ashlar with which the woman was most probably killed as previously she was stuffed in the burial pit. In the filling of the pit was opened anthropomorphic stone idol, a part of chrome and fragmented pottery from V-IV century BC. This situation is interpreted as a human sacrifice. The victim was most likely killed with the stone, which is the biggest within the sanctuary. The body is covered with gifts, including anthropomorphic stone idol, which emphasizes the meaning of a ritual.
Information of the ancient authors leaves no doubt that the Thracians commit ritual murders. The found human sacrifices support in the archaeological way the written sources for their practices in the Thracian lands, and the other shows that it is not a typical ritual and the extraordinary act was performed only in exceptional circumstances. The place for these rituals associated with Chtonic cults are the pit sanctuaries.The human sacrifices should be accepted as an act whose idea is to ensure the  natural cycle or natural echo from various medical-magical practices.

A mass grave with a body placement and burial inventory of gold jewelery and silver belt accessories.
It was found in the village of Gledachevo. The burial facility is a rectangular burial pit with dimensions of 2.00 x 1.80 m.  At the bottom of the burial pit are discovered 4 skeletons laid on their backs with east-west orientation. The rich burial facility found near them defines them as the only ones for now from the territory of Bulgaria from the period of VIII century. The only analogues concerning the belt accessories are found in the village of Vrap, Albania and are associated with  the Kuberov Bulgarians. The art style brought them closer to the middle avar period. Of particular interest is a jewel worn on the neck, which has got only one analogue up to now and it was found in the tomb of Khan Kubrat in the village of Malaya Pereshchepina. The skeletons are considerably well preserved and there is a possibility for a good reconstruction and exhibition.

A mass grave with a placement of a dead body and burial facilities made from iron agricultural tools.
Not far from the excavation of the grave with gold and silver ornaments was discovered in 2006 a circular burial facility with a diameter of 2. 50 m. and a depth of 1.20 m.  At the bottom of flat burial pit were found 2 skeletons with a west – east orientation. One of them is in the position of “hocker” with an arrow stuck between the vertebrae of the spine. The other  skeleton is with a broken neck. Between their legs is placed a considerable collection of iron tools. Two scythes, two sickles, two hayforks, a hoe and a carder. The ceramics found in the filling of the burial pit bears features typical of XI-XII century. They are associated with the traditions of nomadic tribes - Uzi, Pechenegs and Cumans who periodically inhabited the land of empire during XI-XII centuries.

 

 

 

 

The contents of this page is created within the project BG161PO001/3.1-02/2009/015 "New Life for the past", which is performed with the financial support of Operative Program "Regional Development" 2007-2013,co-financed by the European Union through
the European regional Development Fund.
The entire responsibility for the content of the page is brought by the beneficiary – Municipality Radnevo
and under no circumstances it can be considered that this page presents the official position
of the European Union and the Managing Body.