Archaeologists from Bulgaria’s Burgas Find Late Antiquity Artifacts from Poros (Burgos) Fortress on Black Sea Cape Foros

Archaeologists from Bulgaria’s Burgas Find Late Antiquity Artifacts from Poros (Burgos) Fortress on Black Sea Cape Foros

The 2016 excavations of the ancient port and fortress Poros (Burgos) on the Black Sea Cape Foros have been started recently. Photo: Burgas Regional Museum of History

The 2016 excavations of the ancient port and fortress Poros (Burgos) on the Black Sea Cape Foros have been started recently yielding almost immediately new finds. Photo: Burgas Regional Museum of History

A team of archaeologists from the Regional Museum of History in Bulgaria’s Black Sea city of Burgas have found various Late Antiquity artifacts shortly after the start of the 2016 summer excavations of the ancient port and fortress Poros, also known as Burgos, on Cape Foros.

The summer excavations of Poros (Burgos), one of the two predecessors of today’s city of Burgas together with Aquae Calidae – Thermopolis, were launched several days ago in the unexplored sections of the ancient city in the Kraymorie Quarter, the Burgas Museum has announced.

In 2015, the archaeological excavations of the Burgos (Poros) Fortress made headlines with two intriguing Early Christian discoveries: a lead reliquary containing ashes from the grave of St. John the Baptist in Ephesus, and an Early Christian and Early Byzantine medallion with crosses, both from the 5th-6th century AD.

For a fourth year in a row, the exploration of Poros/Burgos is being led by archaeologist Milen Nikolov, Director of the Burgas Regional Museum of History, and the deputy head of the excavations, Doroteya Gyurdzhiyska.

During the 2016 summer digs, the researchers will be excavating an area lying east of an Ancient Roman villa discovered back in 2013. The ruins of the villa are situated in the northwestern part of the Foros Peninsula (Cape Foros).

So far the unearthed archaeological structures of Poros (Burgos) include parts of its fortress wall, residential quarters, administrative and port buildings, a bishop’s basilica, and necropolises.

In their first few days on the ground, the Burgas archaeologists have discovered a number of Late Antiquity items, including coins and fragments from pottery and adornments.

During the 2016 excavations, they hope to uncover more of the buildings inside the fortress of Poros (Burgos) in order to learn more about the historical development of the settlements in what is today Burgas Municipality.

The 2016 digs on Cape Foros are funded by Burgas Municipality and Foros Development Jsc, a private firm.

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Archaeologists Milen Nikolov (right) and Doroteya Gyurdzhiyska (left) are seen during the newly started 2016 excavations of the ancient port and city Poros (Burgos) on Cape Foros near Bulgaria's Burgas. Photo: Burgas Regional Museum of History

Archaeologists Milen Nikolov (right) and Doroteya Gyurdzhiyska (left) are seen during the newly started 2016 excavations of the ancient port and city Poros (Burgos) on Cape Foros near Bulgaria’s Burgas. Photo: Burgas Regional Museum of History

Also check out our other recent stories about the archaeological discoveries in the Burgos (Poros) Fortress in Bulgaria’s Burgas:

Bulgaria’s Burgas to Support Underwater Archaeology Efforts for Further Exploration of Burgos (Poros) Fortress

Archaeologists Discover Early Christian Medallion in Burgos (Poros) Fortress in Bulgaria’s Black Sea City Burgas

Bulgarian Archaeologists Find Lead Reliquary with Ashes from John the Apostle’s Grave during Excavations of Ancient Fortress Burgos (Poros)

Bulgarian Archaeologists Come Across Late Antiquity Toilet at Burgos (Poros) Fortress, Bulgarian Royal Seal at Rusocastro Fortress

Background Infonotes:

The ancient and medieval fortress and port of Burgos (Poros) is located on Cape Foros in the Bulgarian Black Sea city of Burgas. It was first excavated in 2008 by archaeologists Milen Nikolov (currently Director of the Burgas Regional Museum of History), Dr. Tsonya Drazheva, and Konstantin Gospodinov, after access to its site was denied for decades because of the existence of a nearby military base which has been closed down in recent years. Part of its fortress wall was first discovered in 1989 during the construction of a cow farm. Even though there have been traces of ancient life, the fortress and port city of Burgos (Poros) on the Cape of Foros in Bulgaria’s Burgas is dated back to the Late Antiquity / Late Roman period, with the Bulgarian archaeologists uncovering a large number of buildings, artifacts, and pottery vessels dating back to the 4th-6th century AD.

Their excavations have revealed a complex set of fortifications, including walls, ramparts, and towers, which were rebuilt and reorganized multiple times from the 4th until the middle of the 15th century, and were in use throughout this entire period by different states: the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Bulgarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire. Some of the more interesting finds including a stone block with an Ancient Roman inscription in Greek mentioning the name of Roman Emperor Gordian III (r. 238-244 AD); a 2nd century AD inscription carved into stone stating that “burgi" (fortifications) were built on the border of the Roman colony of Deultum (located some 10 km inland from the Black Sea coast near today’s town of Debelt) – hence, possibly, the name Burgos; a basilica; the remains of a small monastery called “St. George" which is described in a 13th century Byzantine source; the 6th century lead tube reliquary containing ashes from the grave of John the Apostle in Ephesus, Anatolia.

The Foros pennisula was marked on Italian and Catalan maps from the 13th-17th century as an old fortress and port under the name Poro (strait) or Poros, which means that the fortress defended the waterway entry point of the nearby Lake Mandra which flows out into the Black Sea. A stone inscription dating back to the 2nd century AD (presently exhibited in the Burgas Regional Museum of History) discovered on the site states that “burgi" (fortifications) were built on the border of Roman colony Deultum (located some 10 km inland from the Black Sea coast near today’s town of Debelt). Historians believe that there used to be a large fortified port along the waterway between Lake Mandra and the Black Sea which served and protected the Roman city of Deultum. The Roman road station called Pudizo marked in the 4th century Tabula Peutingeriana (the Peutinger Map showing cursus publicus, the road network in the Roman Empire, covering Europe, North Africa and parts of Asia) has been discovered in this same area.

The area of the Burgos (Poros) fortress and the Cape of Foros is also famous for being the site of a major battle during the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185-1396 AD). The so called Battle of Skafida (named after the Skafida River and the Skafida Fortress, another medieval fortress located nearby) took place in 1304 AD when the forces of Bulgarian Tsar Theodore Svetoslav (r. 1300-1322 AD) defeated the army of Byzantine Emperor Michael IX Palaiologos (Palaeologus) (r. 1294-1320), after having reconquered earlier the nearby Black Sea cities of Rusocastro, Mesembria, Anchialos, Sozopolis and Agathopolis. The victory in the Battle of Skafida helped the Second Bulgarian Empire regain most of the region of Thrace from Byzantium bringing it a period of relative stability at the beginning of the 14th century, after feudal strife had put it in a state of permanent dynastic crisis at the end of the 13th century.

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