Pliska – integrated geophysical prospection of the first Early Medieval Bulgarian capital
Keywords:Pliska, Early Middle Ages, Archaeological Prospection, GPR, magnetometry
Between 2016 and 2018, two large-scale geophysical survey campaigns were conducted at Pliska, the first Early Medieval capital of Bulgaria (7th – 11th century AD). The aim was to document yet unknown archaeological remains, mainly in the central Inner City of Pliska, to achieve a better understanding of the urban layout and the successive construction phases of the entire settlement.
The magnetic survey was conducted with a motorised Fluxgate magnetometer system, while the ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey was mainly conducted using a motorised four-channel 250 MHz GPR array. The integrated archaeological interpretation of the prospection data yielded countless newly discovered structures in the city centre, as well as several semi-urban settlements within the surveyed areas of the vast Outer City of Pliska.
The results lead to a more detailed understanding and depiction of the historical development of the Inner City during its capital- and post-capital phases of use, while the data collected in the Outer City improved the knowledge about the complex landscape of this area extending over several square kilometres. However, the surveys also showed how fruitful the large-scale geophysical prospection of the entire Outer City could turn out to be for an exhaustive study and a deeper understanding of Pliska, and how much there remains yet unknown.
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