The archaeologists conducting the rescue excavations along the route of Lot 2 of the Struma Highway running between the town of Dupnitsa and the city of Blagoevgrad are constantly coming across new finds not only at Mursalevo, but also at 3-4 other locations, says the Regional Museum of History in the nearby city of Kyustendil.
A team of the Kyustendil Museum has resumed the rescue excavations of another Neolithicsettlement which is located near the town of Dzherman.
The deadline for completing the digs at Dzherman is June 7, 2015, says Valentin Debochichki, Director of the Kyustendil Regional Museum of History.
A new development has been reported concerning the fate of the Early Neolithic city at Mursalevo, which has emerged as the most impressive of all archaeologicalsitesexcavated in the ongoing rescue digs along the future route of the Struma Highway.
According to the existing plan, the Struma Highway is supposed to pass right through the middle of the unearthed prehistoriccity. As the construction is funded with EU money, and any modification would not only cost a lot but would also run into administrativedifficulties, the authorities have little wiggle room for changes.
Now, however, a new idea has been discussed which is to raise the future highway onto a bridge going above the prehistoricsite so that it could be exhibited in situ as an open-air museum.
It is still unclear whether this idea can be realized because it would require additional funding on top of the more than BGN 4 million (EUR 2 million) slated for rescue archaeological excavations along the route of the Struma Highway by Bulgaria’s Road Infrastructure Agency.
The Early Neolithic settlement near Mursalevo, Blagoevgrad District, in Southwest Bulgaria was discovered in May 2015 (even though the spot has been known as an archaeological site since the 1930s) by a team of Bulgarian archaeologists led by Prof. Vasil Nikolov from the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. It is dated to about 5,800 BC. The Bulgarianarchaeologists found there at least 20 prehistoric buildings with perfect alignment whose walls are 20 cm wide and made of plant stalks and clay. They believe that the buildings were burned down deliberately in arson after firewood was stocked inside them. On the same spot near Mursalevo, the archaeologists have found a Late Neolithic grave with a skeleton in fetal position, artifacts such as tools, figurines, and ceramic vessels, as well as dozens of Ancient Thracian sanctuary pits for rituals and sacrifices from the 5th-1st century BC; it is thought that the Thracians deemed the spot of the former prehistoricsettlement a sacred place.