Ancient Bulgar Wall (Rampart) – Shkorpilovtsi, Bulgaria

The Ancient Bulgar wall (rampart) found near Shkorpilovtsi is located 1.25 km east of the town on both banks of the Fandakliyska River all the way to its mouth where it flows into the Black Sea. The preserved section of the earthwork is long 2.125 km, it is up to 3 meters tall, and 10-15 metes wide, and has no moat. It is from the period of the First Bulgarian Empire (632/680-1018 AD) was constructed after the Ancient Bulgars moved the center of their state from the so called Old Great Bulgaria founded in 632 AD in the today’s Ukraine and Southwest Russia to the region of the Lower Danube around 680 AD. The rampart was built on top of the ruins of of Late Antiquity structures from the 4th-5th century AD. Explorations of such earthwork ramparts shows that all of them are built on low terraces on the sea coast, on both banks of a certain river, or between two rivers. Everywhere they follow the local terrain using natural defenses such as rocks, hills, and swamps, and sometimes a moat was added. The Ancient Bulgar wall section near Shkorpilovtsi is the second monument of its kind explored near Bulgaria’s Northern Black Sea coast after the Wall of Khan Asparukh (r. 680-700 AD) near the city of Varna. The rampart section near Shkorpilovtsi was built using clay, sand, and stones mixed with fragmented bricks and mortar on the southern (right) bank of the Fandakliyska River. On the northern bank of the river its construction is more similar to Khan Asparukh’s wall where clay sand was mixed with mortar to create an increadibly strong structure. Where the rampart follows a terrace edge it has a wide stone wall in its middle to prevent the earthwork from sliding down the steep slopes.

The archaeological complex near the town of Shkorpilovtsi, Dolni Chiflik Municipality, Varna District, on Bulgaria’s Northern Black Sea coast consists of a Late Antiquity Early Byzantine fortress (Quadriburg), an Early Christian basilica, an Early Christian tomb, and part of an Ancient Bulgar wall (rampart). The town is named after Czech-Bulgarian brothers Karel and Hermann Skorpil who founded modern-day Bulgarian archaeology at the end of the 19th century, and who discovered and were the first to excavated the archaeological complex near it. The archaeological sites near Shkorpilovtsi were last excavated in the 1970s, and have been largely abandoned ever since. In the spring of 2015, a commission from Bulgaria’s Ministry of Culture decided to propose granting a “monument of culture” status to the archaeological complex.

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Archaeology in Bulgaria. and Beyond