• Name: Paul McLerran
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Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Vratsata Project: Uncovering a Major Early Thracian Settlement

The ancient Thracians first enter the known historical record through Homer's Illiad, where they are described as allies of the Trojans. More recently, they have become known in popular accounts as the creators of strikingly beautiful and elaborately crafted gold and silver artifacts that have come to light through a number of excavations in the Balkans. The Thracians are important for far more than ancient treasures, however. Dr. Nartis Torbov of the Vratsa Historical Museum is leading an investigation of a site that may, according to his thesis, reveal much more about these ancient peoples and may, indeed, prove to be an important Thracian capital city with a settlement history going back 2,800 years. Known as Vratsata, he believes the site could yield evidence for the capital of the Tribali tribe, where generations of Thracian rulers lived. Research thus far has uncovered a citadel with a pentagonal layout. Materials found here have traced out four historical periods:

  • Thracians (5th - 1st century BC)
  • Roman period (1st - 3rd century AD)
  • Late Antique (4th - 6th century AD)
  • Medieval period (12th - 13th century AD)

>The Field School

Dr. Torbov is inviting volunteers and students from all over the world to join him and his team in this exciting, ground-breaking expedition of discovery. In association with the Vratsa Historical Museum, he is offering a formal field school that will teach, through practical hands-on activities, the methodology of systematic archaeological excavation and recording. The Field School will include a variety of related lectures and field trips to interesting historical and cultural points of interest in Bulgaria, including a stay in Sofia, the capital city.

The Field School begins June 1st and ends on June 28th. Participants may attend one or both 15-day sessions that make up the total field season. Accommodations are provided in a three star hotel in the town of Vratsa in shared double rooms with bathrooms, hot and cold running water, and TV. Meals include early morning breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the hotel. The food will be traditional Bulgarian. The project will supply all basic equipment needed.

For more information about this opportunity, go to the website at www.vratsata.archbg.net. The website includes information about how to apply. The application deadline is May 31, 2009.


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