For an eighth year now, a team of archeologists led by Prof. Nikolay Ovcharov, has been exploring the grounds of the holy city of Perperikon(also Perpericon) in the eastern Rhodope Mountains.
The place acted as a cult site as early as the end of 5 and the early 4 millennium BC. Researchers have come across finds from the second millennium BC and there is evidence the city prospered during Thracian times in Antiquity. An Episcopal center was set up here in the Middle Ages.
At a press conference in Sofia Nikolay Ovcharov showed unique finds originating from different periods in the history of Perperikon. The oldest one is dated to the Trojan War, the archeologist contends.
"It is a sword with a broken handle from 12-13 c. BC. It is made of high-quality bronze. I have dated it to the Trojan War because that war was waged using precisely such swords. The fact that the sword is broken implies two things. One, that it got broken in combat. Two, that it was broken on purpose during a cult ritual. People used to lay dear objects in shrines, and swords were indeed perceived as extremely valuable. This has been the third such sword found in the Bulgarian lands, meaning it is quite a rare and inspiring find."
Nikolay Ovcharov argues that during his expeditions he is not after gold. According to him a tiny ceramic figure from 10 c. BC similar to a human body, can have a greater scientific value than an intact gold treasure. Well, the rough make of the small idol will hardly intrigue art connoisseurs.
"The idol is pierced all over - it obviously stands for some sort of illness", he adds. "Could be measles, could be plague. In any case it was a lethal disease. We know that in voodoo religion a small figure would be desecrated in a bid to transfer on it human illness or suffering. It is obvious that the small idol was used in magic in an effort to banish disease away from the body and into the object."
Apart from the ceramic item, there is also a small silver jewel found recently in Perperikon. It is a cloak fibula and has two parts.
"When the two parts of the fibula fit together the jewel displays a human face with a halo. The halo is a Christian symbol. At first glance the illustration is unsophisticated, Barbarous in style. But in fact it depicts Christ. Our research suggests that this object is part of a Constantinople fashion trend in 5 c. AD. Back then, Constantinople, the capital of Byzantium, had attracted many Barbarians. The Greek used that word to denote various Germanic tribes, mostly Goths, and Asia Minor tribes. Byzantium of that time saw quite prolific writings that condemned the Barbarian fashion trends, especially the ones brought over by the Goths. There was a period when even noblemen copied the Goths - in hairstyles, clothing and adornments. So in this particular case we have a silver jewel that was owned by a Byzantine aristocrat. Well, he could have been one of Perperikon's military leaders," archeologist Prof. Nikolay Ovcharov said in conclusion.