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Czech archaeologists excavate Ancient Greek town flattened by Bohemian Celts
[20-09-2005] By Pavla Horakova

For twelve years, Czech archaeologists have been helping their Bulgarian colleagues in the excavations of an Ancient Greek market town in central Bulgaria. The twelve years of work has yielded valuable results, including a hoard of coins, and discovered a surprising connection between the ancient town and the Czech Lands.

The river port of Pistiros was founded in the 5th century BC by a local Thracian ruler. From the excavations we know that wine from Greece was imported to the town in large amphoras. Other pottery was found in and around the remnants of houses and also a hoard of treasure was unearthed from one of the ruins. Professor Jan Bouzek was head of the team.

"Well, it was a hoard of some 561 coins. They were buried just before the Celtic invasion which came there in 278 BC. They were put into a locally made jar, just in a hurry, because the Celts were apparently already attacking the city."

Over a thousand coins were unearthed on the site, minted in various Greek cities and bearing the portraits of many rulers, including Philip II, who caused considerable damage to Pistiros around the year 345 BC. The city was destroyed by Celtic invaders some fifty years later and never fully recovered. Interestingly, some of the attackers apparently came from what is now the Czech Republic.

"In the destruction we found several Celtic weapons which were partly burnt and most of them are not well preserved with the exception of one arrowhead. But we found in the ruins that at the time of the looting of the city they lost one of the typical fibulae (buckles) of the so-called Duchcov type which were especially well-known from a great hoard in Duchcov and which must have been made in this country. Some of the Celts from these parts apparently participated because they were also one of the four tribes which founded the kingdom of Galatia. They were Celts living in the northern part of this country."

The fruits of the 12-year Czech-Bulgarian joint research were first presented to the archaeological community last week in Prague at the Third International Congress on Black Sea Antiquities. As Professor Jan Bouzek says the beginnings of Czech-Bulgarian cooperation in archaeology date back to the 19th century.

"Well, the history is much longer. Both my professors who did archaeology epigraphy were working in Bulgaria. And 80 percent of the founders of Bulgarian archaeology were the Czechs. They were the Skorpil family, Professor Vaclav Dobrusky - who was actually the first person who had any knowledge of our site. Vaclav Dobrusky was the founder of the Bulgarian National Archaeological Museum and he discovered the first inscription on the [Pistiros] site. It was long forgotten and only discovered much later by my friend Mieczyslaw Domaradski who was Polish-born but lived and worked in Bulgaria. He really discovered the city much later."

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Here is something interesting regarding law and trade relations between Thracians and Greeks in Pistiros:

Regarding the Czech article, it seems very unlikely that in this region wine was imported from Greece, as the area around Pistiros was (and still is) ideal for vineyards and wine was a very important product for the Thracians(  Dionysus, the god of wine, was a Thracian deity, adopted by the Greeks and the Romans. 


<<After the fall of the Roman Empire, the art of brick manufacturing was lost in most of Europe, surviving only in Italy itself. Central Europe didn't rediscover the skill until the 18th century and England until the 1100s .>>

I've a feeling that the art reached Britain in the late 1400's. There's a very early brick castle at Kirby Muxloe near Leicester which was abandoned half-built when its owner had his head amputated by Richard III, but I haven't come across anything earlier. But I could be wrong.


The great ports and docks of Constantinople found. Not a very good article to be honest, but its a find of immense importance. Not only that, they have found the first ever Byzantine military naval vessal ever recovered, with its Greek fire mechanisms intact, according to some preliminary reports. That and five other ships, some of which may also be military vessals. If its all the archaeologists working on it say its one of the most important finds in Late Roman/Byzantine archaeology in the last century.
                                             LordBest. 8)


--- Quote from: LordBest on January 29, 2006, 02:48:49 am ---with its Greek fire mechanisms intact, according to some preliminary reports.
--- End quote ---

That would be a sensation, indeed!



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