The gold in the pot from Kaliakra is the spoil of robbers

The initial hypotheses links the findings with the Tartars of Aktav or the Genoese Bartholomeo di Grimaldi

Medieval treasure of 957 objects in a ceramic pot, found under the floor covering of a premise from 14th c., caused strong emotions among the archaeologists from the team of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bonny Petrunova, director of National History Museum and head of excavations in Kaliakra. The findings of August 17th have been excavated for 5 hours by the specialists with tweezers and gloves, learned Archaeologia Bulgarica.

Among these 957 items there are 873 silver and 28 gold coins, 11 appliqués and buckles, 28 silver and bronze decorative buttons, 11 gold earrings (five of them are pairs), two rings (one gold) and 4 beads of precious stones and gold. There is still a lot of work to be done on cleaning and analysis, but the decorations are visibly well preserved, masterfully crafted with different techniques. Clearly distinguishable are the Venetian matapans and Byzantine hyperpyrons. “The largest quantity of coins dates back to the time of Sultan Bayezid I, who ruled in 1389 – 1402 – comments for Archaeologia Bulgarica Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bonny Petrunova. – However, we have first to finish the analyses, and then will be sure of the exact date of the treasure. But at this stage there is no doubt that it is a harvest of robbery. There is even a pouch with some of the coins in it. Someone has robbed the money and jewels. ”

What was he like?

The versions depend on a variety of factors, including information on the building, under which pavement the pot was found. The team of Bonny Petrunova has been studying it for 4 years, there are more coins and other valuable items found. According to Assoc. Prof. Petrunova, the building is not a typical vault, but is “cluttered in a hurry”, the stones in the walls are reused, and this leads to the hypothesis, that it is possible the looters to be among the Tatars of Aktav, who plundered on the territory of today’s northern Bulgaria at the very end of the 14th century. So far, the version that Kaliakra had a permanent Turkish garrison before 1417 is excluded. It is known that Mircea the Elder, Voivode of Wallachia, who sometimes recognizes himself as a Turkish vassal, sometimes fought against the Empire, occupied the fortress in 1404. And if it turns out that this is exactly the event that caused the burial of the treasure and the escape of the previous inhabitants, another hypothesis arises.

There are reports that during 1402- 1404, when internecine wars were running because of the legacy of Sultan Bayezid I (he was captured and killed after the battle with the Mongols of Tamerlane), the commander of the fortress was the Genoese Bartholomeo di Grimaldi. He is described as rough, quarrelsome, a drunkard and a rakehell, said Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bonny Petrunova. He confiscated traders’  goods but there is no such evidence after 1404. However, some historians do not exclude Genoese-Wallachian co-management at Kaliakra – the last word of the archaeologists is awaited. And that makes the gold and silver in the pot even more valuable.

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