Bulgaria's top archeologist Georgi Kitov toned down the harsh criticism of his colleagues at a National Geographic article on the country's Thracian heritage.
Known as Bulgaria's Indiana Jones, Kitov is presented in the magazine as using bulldozers to unveil the Thracian tombs before the looters beat him.
"I am not insulted," Kitov said, as cited by 24 Hours daily. "The authors have every right to share with the readers what has impressed them most. Everything I have told them is just as they have told it in the article. It can't be otherwise as Kenneth Garrett, whose photographs illustrate the article, spent an average of eight-nine hours with us every day."
"I personally told them I am trying to get ahead of the looters. That's true," Kitov admitted.
A day earlier two of Bulgaria's most prominent archaeologists, featuring in the article, publicly denounced it, saying it aims to discredit the country and drive foreigners away.
They say the article turns a blind eye to the significance and nature of the ancient Thracian culture and barely mentions the ancient sanctuary of Perperikon and the Valley of the Thracian Kings. According to them its tone and subjectivity marks a U-turn from the publications in the foreign press so far. All the more so because Kenneth Garrett, whose photographs illustrated the article, had said he was enamoured by Bulgaria during his stay here.
It is still being considered whether to file an official complaint to the National Geographic magazine main office and demand that a new article on the topic is published.
You can find the issue in question on your newsstand (it should still be available), but if you want a taste, here's the online tease. Personally, I've never understood the cock-strutting that seems to characterize archaeologists in Bulgaria these days ... it's not very useful on any level.