Archaeologists Unearth Remarkably Preserved Statue of Hermes in Bulgaria

Society » ARCHAEOLOGY | July 5, 2024, Friday // 15:03
Bulgaria: Archaeologists Unearth Remarkably Preserved Statue of Hermes in Bulgaria

Archaeologists led by Prof. Dr. Ludmil Vagalinski have unearthed a remarkably well-preserved marble statue in the ancient city of Heraclea Sintika, near Petrich, Bulgaria. The discovery, announced by the municipality of Petrich, was found within the underground sewer known as "Cloaca Maxima". Efforts are underway to delicately excavate the statue without causing damage due to its exceptional state of preservation.

Standing over two meters tall, the statue is believed to depict Hermes, a prominent deity in the region during ancient times. Prof. Dr. Vagalinski, speaking to "Archaeologia Bulgarica," expressed cautious excitement about the find, noting its significance not only as the best-preserved statue discovered in Heraclea Sintika but also in all of Bulgaria. He suggests that the statue was likely buried by city inhabitants following a major earthquake in the 4th century AD, possibly to safeguard their religious heritage during the rise of Christianity.

Archaeologia Bulgarica shared updates on the excavation progress via Facebook, revealing that the statue, crafted from a single marble block in the 2nd century AD, remains partially encased in dirt. Archaeologists have noted its resemblance to other depictions of Hermes, placing it within a known iconographic type. Similar statues are rare globally, making this discovery particularly unique for Bulgaria.

Plans are underway to carefully extract the statue from the Cloaca Maxima and transport it to the museum in Petrich, where it will undergo necessary restoration before being displayed alongside other archaeological finds. Prof. Vagalinski emphasized the challenges of preserving the ancient city's structures, especially those located on private property, where permanent conservation measures are limited. He highlighted the unexpected nature of the discovery, which came to light during routine inspections of the canal's condition.

The excavation team, which first uncovered ancient structures in the area six years ago, had placed protective barriers to secure the site. Upon closer examination, marble remnants were noticed, leading to the gradual unveiling of the statue of Hermes. Work on fully exposing and documenting the statue will continue in the coming days, offering new insights into the religious and artistic practices of ancient Heraclea Sintika.

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Tags: Heraclea Sintika, statue, Bulgaria

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