Bulgaria uncovers largest ancient Thracian temple

SOFIA, Aug 12, 2000 -- (Reuters) A team of Bulgarian archaeologists has unearthed a Thracian sanctuary, believed to be the largest yet found in the area of the Balkan peninsula inhabited by ancient Thracians, state news agency BTA said on Saturday.

The find, dated back to the fifth century BC, is located near the village of Starosel in the Plovdiv region in central Bulgaria.

"The ancient sanctuary is the most impressive monument of Thracian cult architecture found so far," BTA quoted head of the archeological team Borislav Kitov as saying.

The mound is some 20 meters (66 feet) high and has a diameter of 90 meters (295 feet). It is surrounded by a 240-meter (785 feet)-long stone wall.

According to Kitov at least one powerful Thracian king may be buried there.

The team has so far uncovered a stone staircase and a 15 m (50 feet)-long corridor leading to an impressive facade decorated with relief ornaments. The team also found earthenware, coins, arrowheads and cult objects.

The temple has two rooms, one rectangular and one round. Excavations continue and archaeologists have yet to explore them. The ancient Thracians, ruled by a powerful warrior aristocracy rich in gold treasures, inhabited an area extending over most of modern Bulgaria, northern Greece and the European part of Turkey. They are regarded as one of the bedrock peoples of the Balkans whose ethnic stock, though much diluted, has endured to present-day.

Bulgaria is rich in archaeological ruins dating back to classical times.

Original article