The long and rich history of Bulgaria’s Apollonia continues to be revealed under the direction of Dimitar Nedev. Excavations in and under the ‘St. Nikolai’ monastery illustrate the continuity of occupation of the city, and are bringing to light part of the ancient necropolis.
A complex series of church buildings overlay the area of the burials, which were found under the northern part of the narthex of a three-naved basilica. The oldest church seem to date back to the 6th century AD, though there are other phases of construction in the 7th and 10th centuries, and some use of the building until the 17th century.
The northern part of the narthex overlies an archaeological context dating back to the 6th century BC, so a very early phase of the history of ancient Apollonia (modern Sozopol on the Black Sea). One of the burials was of a young woman, whose grave goods consisted of vessel for perfume. Another was of a small child, perhaps three years old, according to the excavators. The child was buried in an amphora from Samos – a common method of burial for infants – and the amphora provides a date of the beginning of the third quarter of the 6th century BC.
This date is similar to that given to some fragments of a vase painted with erotic scenes also found at the site. The scenes consist of male and female figures indulging in various sexual activities, and the quality of the painting is very fine. This is the first time that a vase with such scenes has been found in Bulgaria. The quality of this vase, and the imported amphora from Samos, both dating to the early period of the city, shows the wealth of the city even in its initial phase and are testament to the richness of Greek colony sites.
|Picture: Огнян Лулев|