Bulgaria’s Pavlikeni Revamps Road to Ancient Roman Ceramics Factory, Villa in Restoration Project

The newly rehabilitated road leading up to the Ancient Roman ceramics factory and Roman villa estate. Photo: Pavlikeni Municipality

An Ancient Roman veteran’s villa estate and ceramics production center in the town of Pavlikeni in Central North Bulgaria has been made more easily accessible for tourists with the local authorities revamping a 1-kilometer-long road leading up to it.

The road rehabilitation is part of a recently launched project for the conservation and restoration of the Ancient Roman pottery making center with an EUR 740,000 grant from the Norway Grants / European Economic Area (EEA) Grants, a development aid mechanism of the governments of Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.

In addition to the road rehabilitation, which has been completed before the advent of the 2016/2017 winter, Pavlikeni Municipality has also announced the completion of the construction of a parking lot for 14 vehicles at the Ancient Roman ceramics factory, another facility designed to improve access to the impressive archaeological site.

The Ancient Roman ceramics production center near Bulgaria’s Pavlikeni has an area of 139 decares (app. 34.3 acres).

It was part of the villa estate of a Roman military veteran, and is dated to the end of the 1st century AD – the beginning of the 2nd century AD. It was destroyed in 170 AD by the Costoboci, then rebuilt, and ultimately abandoned for good after 235 AD, possibly because of the barbarian invasion by the Goths and Carpi in 238-239 AD.

The Ancient Roman ceramics factory in Bulgaria’s Pavlikeni recently made news headlines with the accidental discovery of a huge Roman gravestone with a Thracian Horseman relief. This led archaeologist Kalin Chakarov from the Pavlikeni Museum of History to start rescue excavations resulting in the discovery of a Roman tomb containing a gold amulet, among other artifacts.

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The newly-built parking lot for visitors of the Ancient Roman ceramics factory and villa estate in Bulgaria’s Palvikeni. Photo: Pavlikeni Municipality

The Norway / EEA-funded project for the restoration of the Ancient Roman ceramics production center near Pavlikeni provides for the development of an open-air museum, restorations of ancient kilns, setting up a pottery-making workshop for children, building a Roman-style water fountain, and offering a mobile application designed to direct tourists to the cultural attractions in the town.

The project is supposed to be completed by April 30, 2017, after which visitors will be offered an even more rewarding cultural tourism experience.

Background Infonotes:

The Ancient Roman ceramics factory and Roman military veteran’s villa near the town of Pavlikeni in Central Northern Bulgaria was found in 1971 by Bulgarian archaeologist Bogdan Sultov who excavated it for about a decade.

It is the best researched Ancient Roman ceramics factory in Southeast Europe. It also especially notable because today it has been turned into an open-air museum ceramics production during the Roman Era, featuring a large number of preserved ancient kilns as well as a restoration of the ancient manufacturing process housed in modern-day buildings made of ancient materials.

The Ancient Roman ceramics production center near Pavlikeni is located on a plot of 139 decares (app. 34.3 acres). It was part of the villa estate of a Roman military veteran, and is dated to the end of the 1st century AD.

The ceramic production started at the beginning of the 2nd century AD. Archaeological excavations have revealed a total of 52 kilns for baking household and construction ceramics which was traded and sold in the entire region.

The Ancient Roman villa estate with its ceramic factory was destroyed in 170 AD by the Costoboci, then rebuilt, and ultimately abandoned for good after 235 AD, possibly because of the barbarian invasion by the Goths and Carpi in 238-239 AD.

Archaeologist Bogdan Sultov’s excavations of the Roman ceramic center near Pavlikeni were terminated in the 1979 (Sultov passed away in 1982), and were resumed only in the summer of 2014 with funding from Pavlikeni Municipality. In 2015, the Municipality and the Pavlikeni Museum of History won a EUR 736,000 grant for the partial restoration and rehabilitation of the site. In addition to Ancient Roman buildings and kilns, the excavations there have revealed numerous ceramic vessels, tools, jewelry, and even Ancient Roman child toys.

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