From Monastery Ruins to Ancient Graves: Excavations in Sozopol

Bulgarian archaeologists made remarkable discoveries during excavations at the future bus station site in Sozopol after completing the initial phase of research. Digging more than 6 meters deep, they found an 11th-century monastery, along with a church dating back to the mid-12th century. About two-thirds of the main part of the temple has been uncovered, while investigation of the narthex is underway.

Detailed study revealed a three-room structure from the northern wing of the monastery, believed to have existed until the mid-13th century. Surrounding the monastery after the second quarter of the 12th century was a significant Christian necropolis, active until the latter half of the 13th century.

Archaeologists unearthed various artifacts, including candelabras from the 12th to early 13th centuries and white clay ceramic vessels with underglaze decoration, aiding in precise dating. Rare discoveries like reliquary crosses, a semi-precious stone-decorated cross, and earrings were also made, uncommon for Christian burials of this era.

Evidence of the monastery and church's destruction by fire at the end of the 13th century was found in layers of coal and charred frescoes. Notably, street construction followed, a peculiar occurrence given the usual reverence for sacred spaces, prompting consideration for preserving and showcasing the street within the future bus station.

During the church's later period, it likely served primarily as a burial site, evident from the numerous graves discovered, including those within each other. Additionally, earlier Christian or Byzantine necropolis remnants were found beneath, along with Hellenistic graves from the 3rd to the beginning of the 1st century BC.

A Ministry of Culture commission is...

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