For the first time Bulgarianarchaeologists have started excavating a previously unexploredLateAntiquityfortress known as Kaleto near the centralBulgariantown of Banya, PanagyurishteMunicipality.
The excavations of the KaletoFortress near Banya (“kale" is a Turkish word meaning “fortress” left over from the Ottoman period commonly used for the numerous ruins of ancient and medieval fortresses all over Bulgaria, whose proper names are sometimes unknown) started on April 2, 2015, PanagyurishteMunicipality announced on its website.
The initial partialexcavation of the KaletoFortress near Banya is funded with BGN 15,000 (app. EUR 7,600) of EU funding under OperationalProgram “RuralDevelopment".
The project has been initiated by a Local Initiative Group, a NGO, active in the towns of Panagyurishte, Strelcha, and Lisichovo.
The fortress near Banya is believed to be from the Late Antiquityperiod, i.e. a LateRoman or EarlyByzantinefortress; however, it is possible that the archaeologists might discover that it had originally been a Thracianfortress that was later built upon, explains BanyaMayor StoyanNozhdelov, as cited by the Bulgarian information agency Focus.
He says that different archaeologicalartifacts such as tools, arrows, and spears have been found by locals on the site of the Kaleto Fortress.
The LateAntiquity and Early Byzantinefortress known as Kaleto is located near the centralBulgariantown of Banya, PanagyurishteMunicipality, Plovdiv District. The archaeologicalexcavations of the KaletoFortress near Banya (“kale" is a Turkish word meaning “fortress" left over from the Ottoman period commonly used for the numerous ruins of ancient and medieval fortresses all over Bulgaria, whose proper names are sometimes unknown) were held for the first time in April-May 2015.
Historians and archaeologists think that the fortress Kaleto near Banya was originally an Ancient Thracian settlement. The first stone masonry on the site and the construction of the fortresswall date to the 5th century AD, and there are indications that it was destroyed during the barbarian invasion of Attila’s Huns. After that, the fortress near Banya was rebuilt by Byzantine Emperor Justinian I the Great (r. 527-565 AD). It was restored in the 12th century AD but fell prey to an invasion once again – this time it was destroyed by the crusader knights from the Third Crusade (1189-1192 AD). However, it remained in use during the entire period of the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185-1396), until it was conquered by the Ottoman Turks at the end of the 14th century.
The Kaleto fortress near Banya was important in ancient and medievaltimes because of its strategiclocation between the Valleyof Zlatitsaand Pirdop, and the Upper Thracian Plain (in today’s Southern Bulgaria). Different archaeologicalartifacts such as tools, arrows, and spears have been found by locals on the site of the Kaleto Fortress. Its first excavations were led by Assoc. Prof. Valeri Grigorov from the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, together with Lyubka Todorova, archaeologist from the Pazardzhik Regional Museum of History, Georgi Abdulov, former Director of the Panagyurishte Museum of History, and Vasil Katsarev, curator at the same museum.