More details have emerged about the archaeological find of Roman ruins at a spot near Bourgas on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast – including the fact that they have been found before and funding already has been allocated to investigate them.
The ruins emerged after huge seas scoured the Black Sea coast earlier in February 2012, prompting speculation whether this represented a hitherto unknown Roman settlement or just a small sewerage or sanitation installation.
Bourgas mayor Dimitar Nikolov went to see for himself and trumpeted the find, which hit national headlines amid the bitter winter weather chaos.
But it turned out that the existence of the ruins was well-known to archaeologists and 120 000 leva (about 60 000 euro) already had earmarked to investigate the site.
However, Bulgarian National Television said that while the site, near Sarafovo, was well-known to archaeologists, excitement about the extent to which the February storm had unveiled them had prompted hopes of new impetus for the project.
It was still not clear what the site represented, because so far all that was visible was a large Roman-era wall.
Konstantin Gospodinov, curator of the Archaeological Museum in Bourgas, said that a Roman-era coastal road had passed the site.
Bozhidar Dimitrov, director of the National History Museum, said that the ruins first had been found in September 2011, also after a storm.
The site appeared to stretch about 200 to 300 metres, he said. Dimitrov said that the government had allocated the 120 000 leva as part of a pilot project to develop cultural and historical tourism on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast.
He said that the sea had uncovered parts of ancient buildings and streets, and the site appeared to be a small Roman settlement that before September last year, had been unknown to archaeologists.
Dimitrov, speaking in an interview with local news agency Focus, said that it was certain that this was an urban settlement because Roman villages did not have sewerage, temples with columns and buildings made of blocks weighing hundreds of kilograms.
He said that it was most interesting that the settlement was not shown on ancient maps and navigational charts.
"There is no mention of an ancient settlement at this place," Dimitrov said.
However, this was no big surprise because there were only two ancient maps of the coast available, and they identified only the names of the largest settlements – Anchialos (today’s Pomorie), Apollonia (today’s Sozopol) and Menebria (today’s Nessebur).
Dimitrov said that Professor Lyudmil Vagalinski, director of the Institute of Archeology at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, will be the archeologist in charge of the site.
"The excavations will begin when the snow melts and the weather gets better, because the next sea storm might wash away part of the ancient settlement," Dimitrov said.
He said that the site had a pillar with lines of writing on it that had not yet been deciphered, and he hoped that this would reveal the name of the settlement.