Archaeologists in Bulgaria have unearthed a circular mound which they believe used to serve as a burial ground for the ancient Bulgars in pre-Christian times, Bulgarian National Television (BNT) said on September 21 2010
The site, unique in South Eastern Europe, was found near the north coast of the Black Sea, where the Bulgars first settled after arriving from the east. Thus, the scientists have ascribed the origin of the site to the ancient Bulgars, "about whom very little is known" the report said.
The Huns also had similar burial mounds but they were of significantly smaller proportions than those used by the ancient Bulgars, the report said, and if the findings confirm what the archaeologists believe, it is likely that they will eventually discover the remnants of "old Bulgar aristocracy" once excavation is complete.
It is believed that the site dates back to the pre-Christian Pliska period of Bulgaria. The mound itself was detected about 15 metres from the royal complex in layer of earth about 70cm below the medieval town of Pliska.
After its establishment under Khan Asparuh in 681, Bulgaria retained the traditional Bulgar religion of Tengriism and the pagan beliefs of the local Slavic population.
In the mid-ninth century, Boris I established Christianity as a state religion in Bulgaria. In 864 he was baptised in the then capital Pliska by Byzantine priests and after prolonged negotiations with both Rome and Constantinople, he set up a Bulgarian Orthodox Church and used the Cyrillic alphabet to make Bulgarian language the language of the Church
Pliska served as the first ever capital of Bulgaria between 681 and 893 CE. According to a Bulgarian chronicle, it was founded by Khan Asparuh. It is called Pliskusa by Georgios Kedrenos and Anna Comnena. It had an area of 23 sq m and was surrounded by a moat and earthwork ramparts. The walls of the inner fortress were 2.6 metres thick and about 12 metres high.
The importance of Pliska gradually diminished during the 10th century, with the concentration of power and resources in Preslav.