Archaeology: Glass vessels found in Bulgaria’s Chengene Skele Bay

A total of 112 whole and fragmented glass vessels, likely dating back centuries, were found in June 2024 during underwater archaeological work in Chengene Skele Bay in Bulgaria’s Bourgas district, the Regional Historical Museum Bourgas said on July 9.

The archaeological work was done by a team from the National History Museum led by Professor Ivan Hristov, and involved dives in five areas in different parts of the bay.

The discoveries in June this year follow the finding of dozens of fragments of glass objects in the bay in 2020 and 2021.

It has been suggested that the glass may have been a cargo spilled from a boat or ship during a storm and high swell.

The probability that the wreckage of the vessel carrying the glass vessels is near the location of the discovery of the glass fragments is very high, the Regional Historical Museum Bourgas said.

The basis for this hypothesis is provided by several fragments of iron anchor chains and highly fragmented ceramic vessels found underwater, bearing traces of ceramic production characteristics of the Late Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

The success of the diving team is in locating the area with the greatest concentration of glass finds.

The Regional Historical Museum Bourgas said that the new finds are an important source of information on the understudied topic of glass use, trade and production in the Balkans during the Late Ottoman period.

Until now, the hypothesis has been proposed that the vessels were most likely produced in a workshop on the island of Murano, Venice, in the second half of the 16th century or the beginning of the 17th century.


The question of the precise dating of the glass objects and the possible shipwreck remains open, given that the area around the reef has not been further explored.

(Photos: Regional Historical Museum Bourgas)

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The Sofia Globe staff

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