The paper discusses ten anthropomorphic figurines that were found during the archaeological investigation of a multilayer site near the town of Varbitsa in 2015 (fig.1). They were found in stratigraphic layers associated with phases Karanovo II-III (cat. nos. 1–7) and Кaranovo II (cat. nos. 9–10) and predominantly represent strongly stylized female bodies. This style is characteristic for the entire Early Neolithic Balkan-Anatolian cultural block. An attempt to render some individualization is visible at one of the figurines whose body is made in a dynamic ‘dancing’ pose and the face expresses a strong emotion (figs. 3.4, 4.4). The typological characteristics of these Neolithic figurines link them to the Ovcharovo culture in Northeast Bulgaria and its variant Samovodene in Central North Bulgaria.
The first part of the paper discusses the written evidence about the Roman road station Anasamus, the Late Roman military fort Ansamus, and the Early Byzantine fortified settlement and later city Ἀσημοῦς/Ἀσήμος. All these toponyms refer to one and the same site, depicting its development and functional transformations through the ages. The second part presents a critical analysis of the opinions expressed so far about the exact location of the site. The conclusion is that the site had always been situated in the village land of Cherkovitsa, in the immediate vicinity of the Osam River’ mouth; on the left bank in the earlier period, and on the right bank during the Late Antiquity. The third part is a synthesis on the Early Roman Anasamus (a military camp, civil settlement and road station), based on the available archaeological and epigraphic information as well as personal ground surveys and reinterpretation of the evidence. The last part of the paper comments the remains of the Late Roman and Early Byzantine Ansamus/Ἀσημοῦς/Ἀσήμος, convincingly identified with the so-called “Osamsko kale” (Osam Fortress).
A fragment of the substructure of the Eastern wall from the Northern extension of the Late Antique Serdica fortification was registered during rescue archaeological excavation in the area of the Lion Bridge square. Detailed investigations have identified three construction levels of the foundation of the structure – stones bound with solid white mortar, stones bound with yellow sandy mortar and a leveling layer of loose mortar and single stones. The stratigraphy of the site consists of three chronological groups: Late Ottoman/Revival (17th-19th century), Medieval (11th-12th century) and Late Antiquity (4th-5th century). Artifacts and numismatic materials date the construction of the fortress wall between the last decades of the reign of Emperor Constantine I and the end of 4th/ beginning of the 5th century AD.
Site 5 is located at 500 m to the south of the village of Dravovishtitsa, Konstinbrod municipality (fig. 1). Rescue archaeological excavations conducted at the site in 2014 and 2015 identified cultural layers from several periods: Early Medieval, Late Roman and Early Bronze Age. Twenty-one fragments from different technological and typological groups from all three periods have been subjected to mineralogical and petrographic analysis. Four groups were identified according to optical characteristics. They comprise of 17 fragments of Late Roman vessels. The remaining four fragments (one Late Roman, two EBA and one Medieval) have no known petrographic analogues. In the Roman period, materials with particular properties were used for the different technological groups and the clay was initially purified. A routine practice was to add certain components to the clay – minerals and temper – or to mix different clays, thus combining their physical and chemical properties. The clays used in the Early Bronze Age and the Early Medieval period are more ‘natural’ showing very little trace of preliminary processing.
The paper summarizes all papers published by Bulgarian scientists in the field of archaeometry, issued in the last decade. The archaeometric investigations in Bulgaria cover the analyses of chemical composition of bronze, gold, silver, lead, glass, glaze, pottery, mortar, amber, resin and other archaeological objects. For their characterization many instrumental techniques such as AAS, ED-XRF, ICP-AES, INAA, LA-ICP-MS, SEM-EDS, etc. are used. These techniques, together with geophysical methods, archaeomagnetic investigations, dendrochronology and the various dating methods are all covered by the umbrella term ‘archaeometry’. MA programme in archaeometry has been offered in Sofia University ‘St. Kl. Ohridski’ in the last 10 years, whose graduates have been joining archaeological investigations professionally. In this way, archaeology is enriched with new understanding of the role of physics, chemistry, biology and geology.