Archaeological finds from Bulgaria’s Struma Motorway construction go on display

Archaeological finds discovered during the construction of Struma Motorway near Bulgaria’s village of Pokrovnik are among the items on display at the Bulgarian Archaeology 2018 exhibition at the National Archaeological Museum in Sofia, on from February 14 to April 14 2019.

The Struma Motorway project uncovered finds from the Roman and late antiquity eras.

Bulgaria’s Road Infrastructure Agency said that more than 2700 items had been found, including 1400 coins, ceramic vessels and metal objects.

From 2016 onwards, more than three million leva had been provided for archaeological research in the Struma Motorway section between Blagoevgra and Krupnik, the Road Infrastructure Agency said.

In 2019 there will be relocation and field conservation of archaeological items found near the village of Pokrovnik, the agency said.

A Roman tomb and the Early Christian Church will be relocated and parts of the Roman villa and bath will be preserved on the site, which is away from the Struma Motorway, the Road Infrastructure Agency said.

The prepared project was sent on February 8 to the National Institute for Real Estate Heritage, as required by the Cultural Heritage Act, the statement said.

There was considerable controversy about the Pokrovnik site in 2018, with protests demanding a change to the route of the motorway to prevent the site being covered over and the finds destroyed.

In 2018, archaeological research began on sections of the route of the Hemus Motorway, on the Kalotina-Sofia road and the Vidin – Dimovo – Rujintsi – Montana road, with a total allocation of about 935 000 leva, the agency said.

In the coming months, archaeological research will be carried out on the bypass of Gabrovo, on the road Vidin – Dimovo – Rujintsi – Montana, Mezdra – Botevgrad and on the bypass of Pomorie. The agency said that it was providing funding of about eight million leva for archaeological activities in 2019.

In its own statement on the exhibition, the National Archaeological Museum said that 19 historical and archaeological museums were co-organisers of the 2019 event, the 12th of its kind.

The museums involved are the National Museum of History, the Plovdiv Regional Archaeological Museum, the regional historical museums in Blagoevgrad, Veliko Turnovo, Vidin, Dobrich, Pazardzhik, Pleven, Razgrad, Stara Zagora, Haskovo and Yambol, the Archaeological Museum “Ancient Nessebar” and the historical museums in Belogradchik, Dryanovo, Panagyurishte, Petrich and Sevlievo.

Among the finds are those from ongoing studies of the Kozarnika and Bacho Kiro caves, the prehistoric village mounds of Yunatsite, Durankulak and Kozareva Mogila, the late Bronze necropolis at Balei, the ancient cities Apollonia, Heracleia Sintica, Serdica, Philippopolis and Ulpia Eskus, the medieval Bulgarian capitals Preslav and Turnovo, among others.

Some of the most impressive finds are a bone tattooing needle from the Durankulak settlement mound, ornately decorated vessels from the Balei necropolis, a well preserved glass amphora from Pokrovnik, the head of a marble statue from Heracleia Sintica and the head of a statue of Emperor Aurelian from Ulpia Eskus, a bronze statuette of Venus with a golden decoration from ancient Philippopolis, glass vessels and ornaments from the necropolis of Augusta Trayana, Stara Zagora, and a golden reliquary cross from the Trapezitsa site in Turnovo.

One of the thousands of finds from the Pokrovnik site.


(Photos: Road Infrastructure Agency, Bulgaria)



The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage.