Bulgarian archaeologists Ilian Petrakiev and Maya Ivanova have found a gravesite of a child that dates back more than 3000 years during excavations at the Ryahovets fortress site near Gorna Oryahovitsa in the northern part of the country, reports on August 14 2018 said.
The grave is estimated to date back to the early Iron Age, about 1200 BCE and is near the outskirts of the fortress wall.
The child’s remains are preserved in an embryonic posture. The body was orientated north-south.
Petrakiev, who heads the archaeological team, said that this was the second season that the team was examining homes outside the fortress, and were encountering burial places.
The team concluded from this that the hill was entirely populated, and continued to be so throughout the Iron Age.
Nearby, the dig team found a second grave, but dating from the Middle Ages. It was the burial place of an adult, buried east-west, according to Christian custom.
The archaeologists said that they were hoping to find a way to fund an examination abroad of the remains.
“Through radiocarbon dating and DNA analysis, we will be able to accurately determine the date, as well as the age and gender of the individuals in the graves,” Petrakiev said.
In 2017, bone material from the first grave discovered on the outskirts of the fortress were sent to the Genetics Institute at Harvard University in the United States. The sample was taken from the vertebrae of a man buried in the immediate vicinity of a home.
Archaeological excavations of Ryakovets were restored in 2015 after a 25-year break.
The fourth season of research has already come to an end, with a budget of 38 000 leva (about 19 400 euro). For a further year, Gorna Oryahovitsa Municipality has supported archaeologists with 20 000 leva from the municipal budget. The rest of the funds are provided by the Ministry of Culture, which has allocated 13 000 leva, and by the National Museum of History, which has contributed 5000 leva.
(Main archive photo, from the Ryahovets fortress site: Powerfox, via Wikimedia)