Bulgarian archaeologist Nikolai Ovcharov said on June 13 that the summer digs at the Perperikon site would go as scheduled after his team received government funding. In March, after the resignation of the Boiko Borissov cabinet, Ovcharov warned that the political upheaval could delay the start of work.
Of the 250 000 leva promised by the Borissov government, Ovcharov said his team received only 150 000 leva, made available by the caretaker cabinet of Marin Raykov.
The digs will be carried out until mid-September, but should the state subsidy increase at any point during the summer, the tempo of work would increase accordingly, he said.
Perperikon, in Bulgaria’s eastern Rhodopes region, about 15km from the town of Kurdjali, has been the site of various forms of religious activity from about 7000 years ago, having first been used by the Thracians. The site is a popular tourist attraction and long-term archaeological work continues to unveil new discoveries.
Ovcharov, a professor of archaeology and one of the country’s most prominent archaeologists, has overseen the annual digs at the site for more than a decade and said that he hoped to finish work on the Perperikon acropolis this season.
“Those several hundred square metres of the acropolis left to survey may be hiding some of the biggest secrets, we believe,” Ovcharov told Nova Televisia’s breakfast TV show. That particular area of the acropolis held a large altar dating back to the first millennium BCE, a late antiquity Roman temple, as well as the medieval bishop’s palace (13th-14th century), he said.
(Perperikon photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)