Category Archives: Archaeology

Excavations in Arbanas, Radomir

Until the moment of   excavations at Arbanas quarter of Radomir town, nothing was known about the antiquity of this place in the scientific literature. The surrounding population has, indeed, in the course of their work, brought out some ,,pins, clasps, etc.’’ ,treasure-hunters have also dug around, but archaeologists came to know only in the process of the field work. While on the beat around the vicinity, they could gather some data for ancient settlement remains and a tumulus nearby, towards the lowland flowing river of Struma.

The archaeological site at Arbanas quarter is many-stratified, and several historical periods are represented in stratigraphical respect. In the beginning a metallurgic point emerged, near which a small sanctuary was organized.

The finds discovered during the excavations and especially the adornments, represent a rich source of information of typological, stylistic and technological character. They throw light on different aspects of the ancient culture in the western Thracian lands and especially in the region of the uppermost stream of Struma.

Of special interest is one rarely met adornment. The adornment is mode of silver and represents a precisely shaped hoop with six pendants stringed up on stitches.

Closest parallels to this adornment are the silver bracelets , which date from the 80’s of the 1st century. Especially similar is a detail of the bracelet represents a massive open tetrahedral ring, the ends of which are made thinner and pass one another forming volutes.

Comparing the adornment from Arbanas to the bracelets from Serbia we see that it is considerably smaller than the main constructions and this suggests that it  was a part of a bigger bracelet or some other kind of adornment. In spite of the similarities between some details it is evident that the adornment was made by a different craftsman under different circumstances. However, taking into consideration the decoration, even the choice of material, we consider that they are products of one and the same epoch and are dating from as early as the second half of the 1st century.

From the excavations come also two iron pruning-knives, which are most likely cult or votive ones.

At the site of  archaeological excavations in Arbanas was found an iron axe, whose shape is amazingly similar to that of the corresponding pendant, which perhaps explains the choice of the model.

The spiral constructions in adornment from Arbanas make an impression at first sight. These elements successfully play the part of decoration ornaments in the relatively simplified decoration scheme. Considering its decorative and technical peculiarities we can enlarge the circle of different kinds of objects, mainly adornments, from our archaeological site as well as from many others, isolating a stylistic group.

The varieties of the decorative spiral were used also on bracelets and rings. It strengthens the impression of a serial mastered production in the region of the sanctuary.

Subtypes of   golden bracelets are represented by the twisted silver bracelet without volutes and by a bronze bracelet, consisting of double, parallel, twisted rings. A silver bracelet from Bazaurt is a more exact parallel to the first one, while the second one must be of type  D-4 .

From Dacia is known a ring compared with the similarly decorated bracelet from the Late La Tene. The two massive silver rings decorated with two volutes from Arbanas, also have a direct analogy in the golden bracelet from Ratiaria, ect.

Proceeding from the specified analogies and from the stylistic-typological peculiarities, the archaeologists consider, that the rings are dated from the mind 1st to the mind 3rd century.

Due to the regularly organized fairs, market, etc., the sanctuary at Arbanas  was turned into a cross-road point, providing opportunities for connections in different directions. Having in mind the finds, including other sorts and types of adornments, whose greater  part was made of other materials can clam with certainty, that at or round that sanctuary there was a centre of arts and crafts unfamiliar till now.

The local works of arts, crafts and adornments in particular are included in the process of formation of provincial Roman styles with its local peculiarity, synthesizing various preliminary currents. This is actually the great importance of the discovery at Arbanas and contribution to studying the problem which foundation has been laid. Thus the archaeological results of the excavations and rapprochement of the Balkan cultures, which has begun since earlier times, and for archeologists the present preliminary research is a starting point in the complete interpretation of the site.


Ancient Industrial Hub and Fortress in Arbanas Neighbourhood near Radomir

Archaeological excavations in 1983-84 testify to the existence of a significant industrial and commercial centre until the mid-3rd c. The southern wall and the gate of the fortress have been explored, as well as a massive building in its centre. The building is constructed of stone and white mortar. In its east and, in an almost square room of stone, an apse is set. A number of interesting finds have been unearthed in a late antique layer southwest of the buildings: bone needles, medical tools, lead mirrors, bronze button-bells, jewellery and coins.

After the mid-3rd c., a fortress had been erected over the well-functioning industrial and trade hub.

For the time being, just a few hand-made ceramics testify to the pre-Roman period of this curious archaeological site. Individual finds have been excavated, typical of metal-working: a hammer, pair of compasses, items of bronze and lead, remains of kilns and pits for keeping raw stuff, as well as two fragments of votive tablets, featuring Zeus.

In 1987, during the exploration of the late antique fortress at Arbanas, two churches were discovered, constructively connected with the east wall of the enclosure. It suggests the existence of a big early Christian centre, most probably a fortified monastery. In the early Byzantine period the east church was reconstructed into a dwelling. For the purpose, its western side was made with a hearth of bricks.

Such a rebuilding of an early Christian church into a dwelling has a sole logical explanation: the inhabitants of the fortress were replaced, most probably, by the tribes invading the empire from the north.


Posted by on May 3, 2011 in Archaeology, History


Land of Ancient Civilization

The territory of Radomir is abundant in archaeological sites. Through the artifacts surviving to this day , made of long-lasting  materials , mostly stone , ceramics and bone , it is easy to trace the diver-city of artistic skills , aesthetic  flair and views of the people who settled in the upper reaches of the Struma River at the dawn of human civilization. This is evident from the common everyday utensils, as well as the works of plastic arts, cult and idol making, with their impressive forms, both exquisite and expedient.

As early as the late 19th century and early 20th century scientists were informed of particular cases of prehistoric finds from the region of Radomir, suggesting that it keeps in its bowels historical artifacts of this earliest era.  Several prehistoric settlements of the early and late Neolithic, Chalcolithic and the early Bronze Age have been found.

PRIBOI village – early-Neolithic settlement (5th millennium BC); DREN village early Chalcolithic

NEGOVANTSI village: Klenovska mound-early Neolithic; RADOMIR town – late Neolithic – early Bronze age;

GERENA locality-late Chalcolithic and Early Bronze A

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Posted by on April 20, 2011 in Archaeology, History