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Bulgarian archaeologists excavate large 3rd century Roman burial mound near Plovdiv


A "monumental" Roman era tomb from the 3rd century CE has been discovered by archaeologists excavating the Maltepe Burial Mound near the town of Manole, outside of the city of Plovdiv, in Southern Bulgaria.

Bulgarian archaeologists excavate large 3rd century Roman burial mound near Plovdiv
This is what the Maltepe burial mound looked like in 2017 [Credit: Maltepe Open-air Museum Project]
The tomb, located under the Maltepe mound, one of the largest of its kind on the Balkan peninsula at 26 metres high, at a depth of five metres, has a square base of seven metres on each side and is about five metres tall, according to the results of tomographic scans.

Bulgarian archaeologists excavate large 3rd century Roman burial mound near Plovdiv
The Maltepe burial at an earlier stage of excavation [Credit: Maltepe Open-air Museum Project]
It appears to be similar, if not identical, in size and layout to the tomb of Roman emperor Carinus, buried in the town of Viminacium in present-day Serbia, after his death in battle against Diocletian in 285 CE.

Bulgarian archaeologists excavate large 3rd century Roman burial mound near Plovdiv
A view of the already excavated top of the Maltepe burial mound [Credit: bTV]
The tomb under Maltepe burial mound is believed to date to the same period, the third century CE, judging by the pottery shards and several coins found on the site during excavations last summer.

Bulgarian archaeologists excavate large 3rd century Roman burial mound near Plovdiv
The flat roof of the Roman era tomb has been exposed by the archaeologists at about 5 metres
beneath what was the Maltepe burial mound’s top 
[Credit: bTV]
Roman-era tombs are rare in Bulgaria, according to lead archaeologist on the Maltepe excavations and head of the Plovdiv archaeological museum, Kostadin Kisyov. The territory of modern Bulgaria was fully conquered by Rome in the first century CE and became an imperial province in 45 CE.

Bulgarian archaeologists excavate large 3rd century Roman burial mound near Plovdiv
Five 3rd century AD bronze Roman coins found during the excavations
of the tomb’s roof 
[Credit: bTV]
The tomb’s close location to Plovdiv, Greek Phillippopolis, has led archaeologists to believe that the tomb holds the remains of a local noble, either Thracian or Roman.

Bulgarian archaeologists excavate large 3rd century Roman burial mound near Plovdiv
Pottery fragments discovered so far during the excavations of the top
of the Maltepe burial mound 
[Credit: bTV]
“One of the most characteristic indicators that the tomb is most likely linked to a Thracian dignitary is its location inside a burial mound,” Kisyov told BNT. Leaving coins and pottery on top of tombs was also part of Thracian burial rituals, he said.


The excavations have reached the ceiling of the tomb and archaeologists were looking for a way in, he said. Part of the ceiling appeared to have been damaged by treasure hunters in the past.

Source: The Sofia Globe [July 26, 2018]

TANN

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