Bulgarian archaeologists have unearthed the remains of an early Roman town near the village of Gorsko Ablanovo, 30 kilometers south of Russe, Bulgaria's national television reported on Tuesday.
Initial artefact finds include a bronze duck figurine of a previously unfamiliar design and a silver fibula, only the fifth documented find of its kind in Bulgaria.
The stone foundations of the houses have been preserved well despite intensive agricultural activity.
"The town was founded no later than the first half of the 2nd century AD, and has been damaged already in the second half of the same century, because we found coins dating to the reign of emperor Marcus Aurelius that have been badly burnt," archaeologist Sergei Torbatov with the Bulgarian national archaeology institute said.
Evidence supports the theory that the unfortified town was inhabited mostly by wealthy people and Roman army veterans, a claim supported by the large number of silver and bronze coins found, most of them dating to the Severs imperial dynasty in the 3rd century AD.
But the most intriguing find is the bronze duck, which was used as an outdoors decoration.
"We have never found this kind of figurines in Bulgaria. The next step is check whether similar finds have been reported elsewhere, or whether we have a unique item on our hands," Torbatov said.
The town apparently sprawled on 50 hectares and will take years to study.