The rescue excavations in the downtown of Bulgaria’s Varna have been wrapped up for the summer season, and will continue in the fall of 2015. Photo: Varna Utre
Two Late Antiquity residential buildings have been found by the archaeologists excavating the Ancient Thracian, Greek, and Roman city of Odessos (Odessus) in the downtown of the Bulgarian Black Sea city of Varna.
The two buildingsdiscovered inside the Late Antiquity fortress wall of ancient Odessos (known in Roman times as Odessus) are dated to roughly the same period as the wall – the 4th-5th century AD.
Their floors are paved with large stone slabs; a wooden shed from the Late Antiquity has also been found on the excavationsite of the Varna Largo, the pedestrianzone under the Knyaz Boris I Boulevard in the Varna downtown, lead archaeologist Prof. Dr. Valeri Yotov from the Varna Museum of Archaeology has announced, as cited by local news site Varna Utre.
Yotov was quick to explain that the newly uncovered ancient buildings and parts of the Late Antiquity wall (which is just one of ancient Varna’s several fortress walls dating back to different time periods) will be exhibited in situ under glass covers for the numerous tourists to enjoy over the summer season.
The discovery of the two buildings has come just before the rescue excations of ancient Odessos / Odessus were wrapped up on April 1, 2015.
Now, in less than a month of rescue excavations, the Varna archaeologists have managed to establish the location of the Late Antiquity fortress wall along its entire length, Yotov explains.
In his words, during the 20th century when the water and sewage pipes and electricity and phone cables were laid underground, “fatal damage" was done to the ruins of Odessos.
“We have been assured by the team of architects dealing with the modernization of Varna’s center and by Varna Municipality that they will collaborate with use in order to realize the project for turning the newly uncovered ancientobjects into a touristattraction,"Yotov says.
He has confirmed an earlier announcement by the local authorities that the excavations of ancient Odessos will be frozen for the summer but will be resumed in the fall, after the end of the tourist season, when the local archaeologists plan to try to find one of the fortresstowers near the St. NikolayChurch, and potentially to continue their search for one of the city’s main gates.
Once the excavations in the fall are completed, they plan to place near the church a tridimensionalmodel presenting the authentic appearance of the ancient city of Odessos.
Check out the other stories about the March 2015 rescue excavations of the Ancient Thracian, Greek, and Roman city of Odessos in Bulgaria’s Varna SO FAR (in reverse chronological order):
The dawn of Varna‘s history dates back to the dawnof humancivilization, the EneolithicVarnaNecropolis being especially well known with the discovery of the world’s oldest find of gold artifacts dating back to the 5th millenium BC.
Ancient Odessos is considered the precursor of the Bulgarian Black Sea city of Varna. It was founded by Miletian Greek colonists at the end of 7th century BC, the earliest Greek archaeological material dating back to 600-575 BC. However, the Greek colony was established within an earlier Ancient Thracian settlement, and the name Odessos had existed before the arrival of the Miletian Greeks and might have been of Carian origin. Odessos as the RomancityofOdessus became part of the Roman Empire in 15 AD when it was incorporated in the Roman province Moesia. Roman Odessos is especially known today for its well preserved public baths, or thermae, the largest Roman single structure remains in Bulgaria, and the fourth largest Roman public baths known in Europe.
The First Bulgarian Empire (680-1018 AD) conquered Odessos (Varna) from Rome‘s successor, the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, in the late 7th century. It is even believed that the peace treaty in which the Byzantine Empire recognized the ceding of its northern territories along the Danube to Bulgaria was signed in Odessos. The v(val) that the first ruler of Danube Bulgaria, Khan (or kanas) Asparuh built at the time as a defense against future Byzantineincursionsisstill standing. Numerous Ancient Bulgar settlements around Varna have been excavated, and the First Bulgarian Empire had its first two capitals Pliska (681-893 AD) and Veliki (Great) Preslav (893-970 AD) just 70-80 km to the west of Varna. It is suggested that the name of Varna itself is of Bulgar origin. In the Middle Ages, as a coastal city, Varna changed hands between Bulgaria and Byzantium several times. It was reconquered for the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185-1396 AD) by Tsar Kaloyan (r. 1197-1207 AD) in 1201 AD.
The Varna Hole is a pit dug up for the construction of a department store in 1984 but abandoned after the collapse of Bulgaria’s communist regime in 1989. It is presently used as a paid parking lot. It is intriguing because it features remains of the Ancient Roman fortress wall of Odessos / Odessus dating back to the 1st century AD as well as preserved walls of the Ancient Greek colony of Odessos dating back to the 5th century BC.