Early Byzantine basilica, baptismal fonts found at Byala fortress

Varna archaeologists working at a site of an ancient fortress near Cape Saint Atanas in Byala on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast have found early Byzantine baptismal fonts, estimated to date from the fifth to sixth centuries CE, as well as the foundations of a basilica.

Early Byzantine basilica, baptismal fonts found at Byala fortress
The foundations of what is believed to have been an early Byzantine basilica have been uncovered at the fortress near Byala [Credit: BGNES]
The discovery of the fonts is unique in the country and one of few in the field of early Christian archaeological studies, public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television said on September 27 2012.

Also found near the basilica site were the foundations of accommodation, believed to have been the housing of a local bishop. Other discoveries included a spring believed to have been used as a source for holy water, a winery, bath and a kiln for ceramics.

Early Byzantine basilica, baptismal fonts found at Byala fortress
Early Byzantine baptismal font at Byala [Sophia Globe]
In all, three baptismal fonts were found. One was in the basilica and the other two some metres from it, located one above the other, one from the fifth century and the other from the sixth. The fonts were found while archaeologists were investigating religious sites from the time before Jesus.

Two of the fonts are cross-shaped. The report said that scholars believed that in the fifth to sixth centuries, practices in Christianity varied and changes in rituals explain the presence of the third font.

Archaeologists said that the discoveries change perceptions of early Christian architecture not only in Bulgaria but in the entire Byzantine world.

Source: Sofia Globe [September 27, 2012]

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