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Culture & Identity

Strandja

The valuable Thracian monuments in Bulgaria are facing immediate dangers that typify the fate of many cultural institutions and monuments in post-communist Eastern Europe: severe economic difficulties and declining national budgets for the preservation of cultural heritage and scientific research make it difficult and sometimes virtually impossible for archaeologists to do their work.
At the same time, the situation is considerably aggravated by criminal organisations who use highly sophisticated technology such as scanners and satellite pictures, to detect, rob and destroy unique archaeological sites. Horizon assistance works toward preserving the unique treasures that tell the forgotten story of one of Europe most important civilisations in Antiquity.

* The projects sponsored by Horizon have given insights into many aspects of the Thracian civilization: monuments from the beginning of this civilisation (around 1100 BC) until the Late Roman Age have been excavated, examined and analyzed by the teams of Dr Daniela Agre and Dr Georgi Kitov.

The initial partner for the archaeological projects in Bulgaria was Prof Dr Bojidar Dimitrov, experienced archaeologist, historian, and director of the National Historic Museum in Sofia. He, and through him Dr Agre and Dr Kitov, both members of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in Sofia, were introduced to Horizon in 1999. Horizon since then has provided substantial support for the archaeological projects in Bulgaria.

The Strandja Mountains are a unique geographic, historical and ethno-cultural region in the Southeastern Balkan Peninsula. Several millennia ago the region comprised Thrace, a kingdom of one of the oldest and culturally most original world civilizations. Thrace maintained continuous contact with the Hellenistic world and left a legacy of Thracian antiquity preserved in rich folklore, belief systems, and rituals among the current residents of the region. The systematic archaeological excavations in Strandja were initiated in 1999 by Dr Daniela Agre from the National Archaeological Institute and Museum of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, who headed the team of doctoral students from the New Bulgarian and Sofia Universities.

These excavations resulted in a proposal for a ten-year research project for the intensive archaeological investigation of Strandja, with as its main objective:

– Research on the ethno-genesis of Thracians and their role in the formation and development of culture in the territory of contemporary Bulgaria and the neighbouring regions from the Bronze till the Late Roman Age based on the archaeological investigations of Strandja.

Horizon has been funding the project from 2003 onward. Over the years some great discoveries have been made, which have broadened not only our knowledge of the history of this region of Thrace, but even changed our view on some fundamental aspects of the Thracian civilization as a whole.

* Main results achieved by the archaeological expeditions in Strandja headed by Dr Daniela Agre during the period of 2003 to 2007:

Megalithic Monuments (12th – 7th century BC)

Thracian Dolmens near the village of Belevren (9th – 7th century BC)

The Earliest Tomb of a Thracian King (9th – 8th century BC)

A decorated wall between the dromos and the burial chamber



Thracian Burial Mounds (6th – 3rd century BC)

The golden wreath in situ

The Burial of a Thracian Priestess in a Mound near the Village of Sinemoretz

The golden earring in situ

The Archaeological Expeditions in Strandja