Bulgarian Archaeologist Shows Off Perperikon Finds
Leading Bulgarian archaeologist Nikolay Ovcharov has presented the latest finds of his team from the Ancient Thrace and Rome fortress of Perperikon in the Rhodope Mountain.
One of the finds is a miniature model of a stone grinder dated back to 7000 years ago. Ovcharov believes the model might have been an actual children's toy.
Another unique find is a figure of a Thracian warrior from the 3rd-2nd century BC. The Thracian warrior used to hold a spear. The figure is modeled after the Greek god Apollo, who in the Roman Age "replaced" the cult for the "Thracian Horseman", a local deity, among the Thracians.
Ovcharov also showed a surgical instrument from Roman times which was used for plucking parasites out of human bodies. He explained the instrument is the same as the one portrayed on every pharmacy with a serpent wrapped around it or held by the Ancient Greece god of medicine Asclepius.
According to the professor, the most interesting find at Perperikon from the Middle Ages period is the 13th century image of a mummer, or "kuker" in Bulgarian. The human-line image features a man with a bear head and a bear skin, which according to Ovcharov, proves that today's kukeri games around Bulgaria – in which humans dress as scary animal creatures to chase away evil ghosts – were inherited from the ancient Dionysus games among the Thracians.
Other exciting finds from the four-month summer excavations at Perperikon are a bronze buckle from the 10th century with an image of a griffin, a mythical creature with an eagle's head and a lion's body, and 14th-century Venice coins.
A very rare Bulgarian coin picturing Bulgarian Tsar Ivan Alexander and his son Mihail from the Second Bulgarian Empire, minted in 1330-1345, was also shown to the public.
The Thracian city of Perperikon is an ancient archaeological complex located 15 km north of the city of Kardzhali. It is believed to be site of the sanctuary of god Dionysus which was widely known in the ancient world.
Human activity at Perperikon dates back to 5 000 BC, and in the Middle Ages the former ancient sanctuary became a key fortress controlling the Eastern Rhodoppe Mountains.
Professor Nikolay Ovcharov started the excavation works at Perperikon in 2000 and has revealed part of a stunning ancient architectural complex which is still being unearthed.
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