The Regional Museum of History in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria, recently showcased valuable discoveries from Roman tombs excavated last December near the village of Nová Vrbóvka in the Strázhishe region to the media.

The funerary objects – jewelry, coins, and vessels – found date back to the first half of the 3rd century AD. They originate from two stone tombs, likely belonging to the same family, unearthed by a local farmer in late November while plowing his fields for autumn, when his tractor struck a large limestone slab.

The tombs walls are covered with fine porcelain plaster, and one of them is shaped like a peculiar brick pillow on the floor. Above one of the tombs, there is a ritualistic ceramic amphora with wine.

In one tomb, the remains of a child between 1 and 2 years old were found, while in the other, two adults were laid to rest – a woman around 45-49 years old and a man between 50 and 60 years old.

Next to the woman’s feet, a heavily decomposed leather shoe corresponding to modern sizes 39-41 was discovered. On the man’s chest, there was a silver coin (denarius) minted in the city of Laodicea.

It is believed that the deceased were wealthy landowners with properties in the territory administered by the ancient city of Nicopolis ad Istrum. After notifying the mayor of the village, Todor Iliev, the police were alerted, and emergency archaeological excavations began in December.

Among the recovered funerary objects are a pair of gold earrings and glass beads for the child. Precious gold and silver bracelets and brooches were found in the tomb of the adult couple.

However, the most valuable find is a bronze medallion of Emperor Caracalla minted in Pergamon, dating back to the year 214 AD, depicting the emperor’s visit in search of healing.

The rich grave goods indicate the high social status of the deceased. They likely had a rustic villa in the area and were part of the elite who spent their summers on their properties and winters in Nicopolis ad Istrum, as studies on this city show. The discoveries have shed new light on funerary practices and Roman society in the region.


Sources

Museum Veliko Tarnovo | BulFoto Agency


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