Archaeologists working at the Lyutitsa fortress near Ivailovgrad in southern Bulgaria have found a fragment of a cauldron dating from the 11th century that was used for making rakiya, Bulgaria’s traditional brandy spirit, and a ceramic spout, part of the equipment for distilling alcohol.
The find is rare, only three similar such finds having been made, according to a July 31 report by public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television.
The fragment was found by archaeologist Philip Petrunov among a layer containing objects from the 12th to the 13th century. The spout is the component from which the vaporised liquid would run out.
It was part of a round vessel that was placed over a fire for the distillation process, a technique and equipment largely unchanged in today’s Bulgaria, where home-making of rakiya remains commonplace in villages and towns.
Petrunov said that the technology was simple but functional “and we all know that the effects are serious and should be consumed responsibly”.
Historians dispute just when the production of rakiya began in Bulgaria. The fragments of vessels for the distillation of alcohol found so far date from the 11th century, but Petrunov said that it was possible that it had begun much earlier, around the ninth century CE.
“From the east, not only warlike barbarians invaded, but so did a number of innovations, improvements, including, I presume, the distillation of rakiya,” Petrunov said.
At the nearby village of Svirachi, men responded proudly to the news of the find, saying that rakiya had been produced in the area for centuries, “and this is why the rakiya of Ivailovgrad is the best in Bulgaria”.
(Screenshot via BNT)