2017 ‘Bulgarian Archaeology’ Exhibition Opened at Bulgaria’s National Institute and Museum of Archaeology in Sofia

Assoc. Prof. Lyudmil Vagalinski (right), Director of the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology in Sofia, opens the 2017 Bulgarian Archaeology exhibition at the main hall of the museum. Photo: National Institute and Museum of Archaeology

Bulgaria’s National Institute and Museum of Archaeology in Sofia has opened formally its 11th annual “Bulgarian Archaeology" exhibition which showcases for the first time some of the most intriguing artifacts discovered across the country during the 2017 archaeological season.

The 2017 Bulgarian Archaeology exhibition will be open for visitors from February 17 until April 1, 2018, in the National Museum of Archaeology building near the Bulgarian Presidency in downtown Sofia.

The dating range of the archaeological artifacts presented in the exhibition is from the mid-Paleolithic ca. 40,000 BC until the Middle Ages.

The 2017 Bulgarian Archaeology exhibition features some 340 archaeological artifacts in total discovered in 22 archaeological sites across Bulgaria over the 2017 season.

The discoveries from dozens of other archaeological sites from across Bulgaria have been presented in the exhibition with posters.

A medieval soapstone (steatite) icon of Archangel Gabriel from the medieval Bulgarian capital Tarnovgrad still bearing traces of its gold and red paint decoration is showcased in the 2017 Bulgarian Archaeology exhibition. Photo: National Institute and Museum of Archaeology

The marble head of a satyr, a male companion of ancient wine god Dionysus, discovered at a Roman villa and nymphaeum near the town of Kasnakovo in Southern Bulgaria is featured in the 2017 Bulgarian Archaeology exhibition. Photo: National Institute and Museum of Archaeology

In addition to the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology, which is a body of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, a total of 17 other museums of archaeology and history from across Bulgaria are co-organizers of the exhibition and have contributed artifacts for its displays.

These are the National Museum of History in Sofia, the Plovdiv Museum of Archaeology, the Blagoevgrad Regional Museum of History, the Veliko Tarnovo Regional Museum of History, the Vidin Regional Museum of History, the Pazardzhik Regional Museum of History, the Museum of Sofia History (Sofia Regional Museum of History), the Shumen Regional Museum of History, the Maritsa East Museum of Archaeology in Radnevo, the Old Nessebar Museum, the Sredets Museum of History, the Belogradchik Museum of History, the Dimitrovgrad Museum of History, the Dryanovo Museum of History, the Petrich Museum of History, the Svilengrad Museum of History, and the Sevlievo Museum of History.

National Institute and Museum of Archaeology Director Lyudmil Vagalinski (left) is seen showing the 2017 Bulgarian Archaeology exhibition to official guests including US Ambassador Eric Rubin (middle). Photo: National Institute and Museum of Archaeology

Some of the artifacts on display in the 2017 Bulgarian Archaeology exhibition include:

The nephrite amulet buckle from 14th century China probably brought to Bulgaria by the Mongols (Tatars) which was discovered in the Kaliakra Fortress on the Kaliakra Cape on the Black Sea coast.

Artifacts from the Early Iron Age and Late Roman settlement with a bi-ritual necropolis found in rescue digs near Moshtanets in Southwest Bulgaria;

The marble statue of Egyptian goddess Isis and a satyr’s head discovered at the Roman villa with nymphaeum in Kasnakovo, Southern Bulgaria;

Artifacts from the excavations of the Ancient Roman city of Serdica in downtown Sofia, which include bronze figurines of Dyonisus, Eros, and Cupid;

A Roman Era gold necklace discovered in the ancient city of Heraclea Sintica near Petrich in Southwest Bulgaria;

Encrusted pottery from a Bronze Age necropolis found in Bulgaria’s Danube town of Baley;

Anthropomorphic figurines found in the huge Late Neolithic settlement near Damyanitsa in Southwest Bulgaria.

The 6,500-year-old gold amulet, which easily ranks among the world’s oldest gold artifacts, which has been found in Yunatsite Settlement Mound in Southern Bulgaria;

A well-preserved 5th century BC pottery krater from the Ancient Greek colony of Apollonia Pontica in Bulgaria’s Black Sea town of Sozopol depicting Oedipus and the Sphinx from the Greek mythology;

Paleolithic artifacts from the Bacho Kiro Cave near Dryanovo in Central Bulgaria;

The latests finds from the Nebet Tepe Fortress in the southern Bulgarian city of Plovdiv;

Artifacts from the Provadiya – Solnitsata (“The Salt Pit") prehistoric settlement in Northeast Bulgaria known as Europe’s oldest town.

Among the tens of archaeological research projects to be presented with posters will be the findings of the Black Sea M.A.P. underwater archaeology initiative which has discovered dozens of very well preserved ancient ships in the Bulgarian section of the Black Sea.

Another site to be presented with a poster is the Roman villa estate and ceramics factory where ancient mirror frames have been discovered.

A poster for the 2017 annual Bulgarian Archaeology exhibition featuring decorated pottery vessels from the large prehistoric Late Neolithic settlement near Bulgaria’s Damyanitsa. Photo: National Institute and Museum of Archaeology

A poster for the 2017 annual Bulgarian Archaeology exhibition featuring the nephrite amulet buckle made in medieval China and discovered in Bulgaria’s Black Sea Kaliakra Cape Fortress. Photo: National Institute and Museum of Archaeology

A poster for the 2017 annual Bulgarian Archaeology exhibition featuring one of the bronze statuettes of Eros from the Ancient Roman city of Serdica discovered in downtown Sofia. Photo: National Institute and Museum of Archaeology

“[The artifacts on display] illustrate [archaeological] sites varying in terms of type and chronology, from the Early Prehistory to the Middle Ages," the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology in Sofia has said.

“Among them is the continuing research of the Kozarnika Cave and the Bacho Kiro Cave; the prehistoric Yunatsite Settlement Mound and Kozareva Mogila Settlement Mound; the Late Bronze Age necropolis near Baley; the Antiquity cities of Apollonia Pontica, Heraclea Sintica, Deultum, Serdica (Sofia), and Philipopolis (Plovdiv), the medieval Bulgarian capitals Pliska and Tarnovgrad (Veliko Tarnovo) as well as the Kaliakra Fortress. The rescue excavations of the prehistoric settlement Damyanitsa and the Antiquity sites near Pokrovnik and Moshtanets along the route of the Struma Highway have [also] produced impressive results," the Museum elaborates.

“The 11th exhibition “Bulgarian Archaeology" is among the most diverse to have been presented so far. It features a rich collection of ceramic vessels and anthropomorphic figurines from the Prehistory, glass vessels from the Roman Age, golden and silver adornments, silver coins, marble statues, bronze plastic arts, among many others," it points out.

“Some of the most impressive finds are the anthropomorphic statuettes from the Late Neolithic settlement near Damyanitsa, the gold amulet from the Yunatsite Settlement Mound, the red-figure pottery krater from Apollonia Pontica (Sozopol), the golden necklace from Heraclea Sintica, the bronze flute from Deultum, the marble statue of goddess Isis from Kasnakovo, the bronze torch holder from Pliska, the sophisticated nephrite buckle from Kaliakra," the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology concludes.

The official posters for the 2017 Bulgarian Archaeology Exhibition feature precisely the nephrite amulet buckle from medieval China found on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, the bronze figurines of Eros from ancient Serdica discovered in Sofia’s downtown, and decorated Late Neolithic pottery vessels from the Damyanitsa prehistoric settlement in Southwest Bulgaria.

One of the official posters for the 2017 annual Bulgarian Archaeology exhibition featuring one of the bronze statuettes of Eros from the Ancient Roman city of Serdica discovered in downtown Sofia. Photo: National Institute and Museum of Archaeology

One of the official posters for the 2017 annual Bulgarian Archaeology exhibition featuring the nephrite amulet buckle made in medieval China and discovered in Bulgaria’s Black Sea Kaliakra Cape Fortress. Photo: National Institute and Museum of Archaeology

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