Gold and bronze coins date the newly discovered building in Chrysosotira
Prof. Dr. Ivan Hristov comments the discoveries especially for Archaeologia Bulgarica
Unknown section of the Chrysosotira fortress wall is localized and studied by the team of Prof. Dr. Ivan Hristov (National History Museum) learns Archaeologia Bulgarica. On the fifth year of the excavations on the same named peninsula near the city of Sozopol (ancient Apollonia Pontica) the archaeological expedition has revealed a part of a curtain wall. It has a thickness of 1.60 m, and is made of broken stones, bounded with white mortar, mixed with crushed ceramics. The wall is covered by a layer full with artifacts dated back from the Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. This wall brings up the matter whether the protected area of of Chrysosotira was really about 73 decares, as it has been supposed to be up to now, or it is actually about 100 decares, which means a small Early Byzantine town, which existed from the second half of the 5th century until the middle of the 7th century.
During the excavations in October, 2018 the team has also encountered an extremely interesting building near the newly discovered part of the south wall of the fortress. It occupies an area of 83 sq. m, sealed under its collapsed burnt roof. Dozens of intact and fragmented ceramic vessels have been found there as well as roof tiles, tools, a massive bronze lamp and an anthropomorphic weight for a scale. It is supposed to be a farm building belonged to a larger complex.
Three collective finds containing nearly 100 bronze and 10 gold coins (7 solidi and 3 tremises) help the dating. Coins of the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius I (610-641) and his son Constantine Heraclius (also called Heracleonas), who ruled only a few months after his father ̶ from February to September AD 641, prevail.
“We assume that the building, and hence the whole fortified settlement, were burnt down during the great Avar and Slav invasions against Constantinople” – comments Prof. Dr. Ivan Hristov for the media platform Archaeologia Bulgarica. “In AD 613-615, as Isidore of Seville reported, the south Slavs took away Greece form the Byzantine Empire, i.e. the European possessions of it. According to George of Pisidia, southern Slavs had already crossed the Aegean Sea. It is also known that in AD 619 they penetrated till the Long (Anastasian) wall, devastating many settlements in Thrace on their return”.
In AD 626, at the end of the longest and hardest Byzantine-Persian war, Constantinople was besieged by Avars, Slavs, Proto-Bulgarians and Persians. Although the attack ended in failure, it was so powerful that, as John of Antioch writes, the khagan of the Avars “turned the sea into land by pirate ships.”
“During the 70s of the 7th century, Byzantine Empire ruled again the entire Black Sea coast. But for the time being, there is no evidence that the Chrysosotira fortress was used after the Slav-Avar invasions “, Prof. Dr. Hristov added. In 2018 his team funded by the Ministry of Culture and supported (with a permission of access) by the Ministry of Defense (General Directorate “Defense Infrastructure”), has revealed the plan of a large barracks next to a turret of the western fortress wall.
Archaeologia Bulgarica will continue to watch next archaeological surveys at Chrysosotira fortress.