Thracian cemetery found on Bulgarian highway route

Bulgarian archaeologists have uncovered a 2800-year-old cemetery during excavations along the route of the future Struma Highway that will link Bulgaria's capital Sofia to the border with Greece. 

The excavated site of the Ancient Thracian cemetery near Pernik that will soon become the route of the Struma Highway [Credit: BGNES/Novinite]
The discovery was made near the village of Dren, Pernik District, by archaeologists from the Regional History Museum in the western Bulgarian city of Pernik. 

According to the archaeologists, the cemetery preserved the bodies of nobles from Ancient Thrace. The latest finds in a necropolis on the site are dated back to 8-9th century BC. 

Artifacts from the ancient cremation urns have led the researchers to believe that a number of those buried near the village of Dren were Ancient Thracian warriors. 

"Such incredible sites deserve to be explored for a lot longer, without close deadlines," archaeologist Filip Mihaylov stated, as cited by Standart Daily, referring to the fact that the archaeologists have a week left to complete their work on the site because of the construction schedule of the Struma Highway. 

The excavations were delayed for almost six months by a flooding of the area; the excavations along the route of the Struma Highway have been plagued by a conflict between the archaeologists and the government led by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and Regional Development Minister Lilyana Pavlova, with Borisov insulting the archaeologists at one point. The big concern of the government is sticking to the construction schedule because the project is funded with EU money allocated under strict deadlines. 

The finds near the village of Dren caused a scandal when local press mistakenly reported that the archaeologists had found the tomb of Ancient Macedonian ruler Phillip II. These reports were quickly disproved by the archaeologists from Pernik. 

Source: Novinite [June 27, 2012]

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