A bronze seal, a double wick clay lamp, and a wine cup discovered recently in the ancient and medieval rock city of Perperikon in Southern Bulgaria all date to the 2nd-3rd century AD when the region was part of the Roman Empire. Photo: BTA
A number of artifacts from the Roman period, including a clay lamp with a depiction of the ancient deity Eros, have been discovered by the team of archaeologist Nikolay Ovcharov during the excavations of the ancient and medieval rock city of Perperikon.
Speaking at a news conference, Ovcharov has presented to the public some of his latest finds from Perperikon,the rock city in the Eastern Rhodope Mountains in Southern Bulgaria, which was a major settlement in the Prehistory, Antiquity, and Middle Ages, reports the Bulgarian state news agency BTA.
The double wick clay lamp discovered in Perperikon features an image of the winged god Eros together with images of vine friezes, and geometrical elements.
“All of this allows us to date this lamp to the end of the 2nd and the beginning of the 3rd century AD, and even to determine its place of origin – Asia Minor (Anatolia), and most probably the region of Ephesus,"Ovcharov explains noting the trade among the provinces of the Roman Empire at the time.
Archaeologist Prof. Nikolay Ovcharov posing with the Ancient Roman Era bronze seal, double wick clay lamp, and wine cup his team found at Perperikon recently. Photo: Standart daily
Other artifacts from the same time period – the 2nd-3rd century AD – which have been discovered recently by Ovcharov in Perperikon include a wine cup and a bronze seal.
The seal features the name of Dimitrius Celluli, with the archaeologists hypothesizing that the man in question was a local craftsman producing luxury chairs or maybe even sedan chairs (litter) for aristocrats. This hypothesis is based on the second word in the name which is translated as meaning “a small chair", even though the archaeologists do not rule out the possibility that it was just a family name which did not signify an occupation.
Another recent find from Perperikon are several signs, one of them featuring the name “Amonius". This is believed to have been the name of a Roman military veteran who settled in Perperikon in the 2nd-3rd century.
Ovcharov has declared 2015 a “Roman Year" at Perperikon because of the large number of discovered Ancient Roman artifacts and archaeological structures dating to the period of the Roman Empire.
He says that the large number of signs as well as several hundred coins from the Roman Age found in Perperikon so far indicate the enormous importance of the city and the region during the period of the Late Antiquity.
“The largest gold mines [in the region] were 3 km away. That is why Perperikon controlled the mining of gold in the entire region," adds the archaeologist.
The 2015 summer archaeological excavations in Perperikon are due to be completed at the end of next week.
Ovcharov has also stated his expectation that the number of tourists who visited the rock city Perperikon in 2015 will surpass 200,000.
Also check out our stories about the other recent archaeological finds in the ancient and medieval rock city of Perperikon:
Perperikon (also called Perperek or Perperik) is an ancient rock city located in the Rhodope Mountains in Southern Bulgaria, 15 km away from the city of Kardzhali. It is a large-scale archaeological complex including historical monuments from different ages. Those include a megalithic sanctuary dating back to the Neolithic Age, the 6th millennium BC, a Bronze Age settlement, and a holy rock city established by the Ancient Thracians later taken over by the Romans, Goths, and Byzantines, respectively. In the Middle Ages, especially during the time of the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185-1396 AD), it was the site of a strong fortress and a royal palace that Bulgaria and Byzantium fought over numerous times. Perperikon has been excavated since 2000 by Bulgarian archaeologist Nikolay Ovcharov who has found evidence that the mythical ancient Temple of Dionysius was located there. The rock city and fortress at Perperikon, not unlike the vast majority of the medieval Bulgarian fortresses, were destroyed by the invading Ottoman Turks in the 14th century.