Bulgarian PM Shocks Archaeologists with Insulting Treatment

Society » ARCHAEOLOGY | January 11, 2012, Wednesday // 17:27
Bulgaria: Bulgarian PM Shocks Archaeologists with Insulting Treatment Bulgarian PM Borisov (right) in a verbal exchange with archaeologist Aneta Bakamska (middle) with Regional Devt Minister Pavlova looking on (left). Photo by BGNES

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has treated local archaeologists in a surprisingly offensive fashion with respect to an archaeological site found during the construction of the southwestern highway "Struma".

Borisov and his Cabinet have already expressed their discontent over the fact that the very recent discoveries of Thracian archaeological sites along the route of the Struma Highway might delay its construction. In December 2011, Borisov accused the archaeologists of "racketeering" the state.

On Wednesday, Borisov inspected two of the sites which are located near the town of Radomir, to the southwest of Sofia, getting into a verbal conflict with archaeologists on the spot.

"You've done whatever you've done – you now pick your tiles, and get out of here before June," Borisov literally ordered the archaeologists excavating a newly-found burial site dating back to Ancient Thrace, as cited by the BGNES agency.

The Prime Minister's visit was technically supposed to be an inspection of Lot 2 of the Struma Highway – which is supposed to link the Bulgarian capital Sofia to the border with Greece and Thessaloniki.

The frozen archaeological site near Dyakovo for which PM Borisov offered to bring air-heaters for archaeologists, apparently mocking them.

However, Borisov met with the archaeologists because the Thracian necropolis in question, which was uncovered recently during the construction of the highway, is right on the route of the future road.

A total of six archaeological sites from the Thracian period were unearthed in August during construction works at the highway. One of the sites that Borisov visited Tuesday is an open necropolis in which the Ancient Thracians would set the urns of cremated dignitaries.

"If if hadn't been for the highway, you wouldn't have discovered anything," Borisov told archaeologist Aneta Bakamska, who is in charge of the digs.

"Mr. Prime Minister, after all, this here used to be a necropolis, not a barn!" retorted Bakamska.

"Why aren't you working on it then?" asked the Prime Minister.

"Because it is frozen, it is winter, and it's cold," replied the archaeologist.

"Well, then I will bring you air-heaters – to make you and your tiles warm, and, if necessary, Lili Pavlova (i.e. Bulgaria's Regional Development Minister Lilyana Pavlova – editor's note) will keep an umbrella over your heads but you have to be done by the end of June. We are 50 years behind," said Borisov, obviously scolding the archaeologists for doing their job. However, the archaeologists were not the only ones who bore the brunt of his irritation with the potential construction delay.

The entourage of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov leaving the archaeology site near Delyan, with Borisov driving himself. Photo by BGNES

"You, move so that I can see what these people are working on, I've seen you already," the PM told the reporters on the site. He further refused to answer any questions about the resignation of the head of the Sofia City Council Andrey Ivanov from his ruling party GERB, who is stepping down amidst reports of embezzlement and flawed public procurement tenders.

Borisov visited the Ancient Thracian archaeological site near the village of Delyan, where he scolded the archaeologists, together with Regional Development Minister Lilyana Pavlova and Bozhidar Dimitrov, head of the National History Museum and former Diaspora Minister in the Borisov Cabinet.

BGNES reported that Borisov first arrived at 2 pm by driving his own jeep himself but immediately turned around to the dismay of the reporters waiting for him, and went to another site near the village of Dyakovo. He returned to the spot with the reporters at 2:45 pm after checking out the excavations at Dyakovo first.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov (right) driving his jeep himself upon arrival at the Dyakovo archaeological site. Photo by BGNES

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Tags: archeologist, archaeologists, archaeology, archaeological, Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, Struma Highway, radomir, excavation, excavations, Ancient Thrace, Thracian, Aneta Bakamska, Lilyana Pavlova, Regional Development Minister, Bozhidar Dimitrov, construction
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