The new archeologist season in the region of Sliven will be launched soon. The excavations organized by the Regional Historical Museum and Thracian Expedition for Tumular Investigations /TEMP/ continue.
Archeologist Nikolay Sirakov, deputy head of the excavations, tells more about the Thracian urban culture in an interview with Focus News Agency.
FOCUS: Mr. Sirakov, the urban culture is usually an indicator of the achievements of a civilization – since when have there been cities in Thrace?
Nikolay Sirakov: The first cities south of the Balkan Mountains /Stara Planina/ date back to IV century BC. These cities were different from the Greek polis because of differences in relations of ownership and urban life organization. Usually such cities are labeled neopolis – Philippoupolis, Seuthopolis, Kabile, Uskudama, ect. The region between the upper and middle course of the Tundzha river is of enormous industrial, cultural, military and politician significance for the entire history of Thrace.
FOCUS: What is the area of influence of these cities?
Nikolay Sirakov: Roads are an important factor in the flourishing commercial relations in the region. They connected the central settlements with commercial centers along the eastern and southern seaside. Using the numismatic material obtained from Kabile’s hinterland we can approximately determine the border of the urban territory of the Thracian settlement. Kabile’s northern border reaches the foot of Eastern Balkan Mountains. In the west Kabile spreads to St. Iliyski and Manastirski hills, in the south – to northern slopes of Strandzha and Sakar mountains, in the east – to Apollonia and Mesambria.
Another big Thracian center – Seuthopolis – includes most probably the upper course of the Tundzha river, bordering on Kabile in the east. In the south it reaches the foot of Sredna Gora mountains and in the north – Balkan Mountains.
FOCUS: What did Thracian cities look like?
Nikolay Sirakov: The urban planning of the two Thracian cities mirrors the development stage of the social and economic relations in the Odrysian kingdom – a union of Thracian tribes who lived in the two cities at the end of IV and beginning of III century BC. What is typical for the Early Hellenistic period is agora (an open place of assembly) and temples. The city’s reinforced part was built by means of the so-called Hippodamus urban planning system. The houses’ foundations were made of stones soldered with mud and an additional storey made of timber framework and adobe. The roof is wooden and covered with tiles. The Thracian cities’ hinterland contains the already discovered sub-tumulus temples and tumuli with burials. The temples differentiate according to their planning. They date back between the end of VI and beginning of II century BC. The plan of the Thracian temple-tombs is almost one and the same. There is a central chamber – round or rectangular with a dome or an arch and a dromos (corridor), which leads to the chamber. Sometimes the chamber and dromos are separated by a door, thus stressing on the isolation from the outer world and heightening the sacral.