Roman legion fort in Bulgaria reveals new finds

Polish archaeologists excavating the Roman legion fort Novae near Svishtov, Bulgaria, made numerous finds this season. The discoveries include a trove of coins, a Slavic kiln and numerous architectural features.

Excavations in Novae (by Martin Lemke)
Excavations in Novae (by Martin Lemke)

Archaeologists of the Antiquity of Southeastern Europe Research Centre of University of Warsaw continued their research within the remains of wooden barracks belonging to the Roman legionaries of the 1st cohort of the legio VII Augusta. Inside them the archaeologists unearthed a flooring constructed of hydraulic mortar. It covered the whole are within one of the larger rooms. The experts suspect it served as a bath for the soldiers. So far throughout the whole area of the Roman empire only two such rooms in wooden buildings were found, but never before in legionary barracks. The Romans paid much attention to sanitary conditions. Numerous elements of water supply network, such as lead and clay pipes, discovered throughout the whole fort, attest to that.

Flooring in one of the barracks (by Martin Lemke)
Flooring in one of the barracks (by Martin Lemke)

An archaeological feature that was unexpectedly discovered was a well preserved small kiln. The type of the kiln is characteristic for Slavic colonisation of the present area of Bulgaria. This would be the first permanent trace of their settlement in this place. The kiln is dated to the 6th century AD.

Slavic kiln (by Janusz Recław)
Slavic kiln (by Janusz Recław)

Another unique discovery this year was a trove 48 coins. It contains provincial coins dating to between 2nd century and half of 3rd century AD. This is the largest trove of such coins discovered in Bulgaria so far. It is possible that the coins were hidden in half of the 3rd century, due to invasion of the Goths.

Trove of coins discovered in 2016 (by Janusz Recław)
Trove of coins discovered in 2016 (by Janusz Recław)

(by Nauka w Polsce, Janusz Recław & Martin Lemke)

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