Upper Voden Fortress (Bulgarie): Archaeologists find ancient Pithoi, medieval byzantine seals

Source - http://archaeologyinbulgaria.com/2015/03/19/bulgarian-archaeologists-find-ancient-pithoi-medieval-byzantine-seals-at-upper-voden-fortress/

Upper voden

View of excavations near the Upper Voden Fortress. Photo by dcnews.bg

Several ancient pithoi (large clay vessels for food and drinks) as well as medieval lead seals belonging to Byzantine dignitaries have been discovered by Bulgarian archaeologists in the excavations of theUpper Voden Fortress, also known as Voden or Votina, near the southern town of Asenovgrad.

While the Upper Voden Fortress itself rose to prominence in the High Middle Ages, the artifacts found there by the team of archaeologist Rositsa Moreva also include items from the Charcolithic or Cooper Age (also known as Eneolithic Age) and the Antiquity, Ivan Dukov, director of the Asenovgrad Museum of History, has told the Bulgarian National Radio.

The most impressive finds from different time periods discovered over the past year at the Upper Voden Fortress are to be presented to the public next week but Dukov has revealed some of them in advance. In the same interview, he has also revealed some of the finds discovered at the nearby Asen’s Fortress.

It is very important that this year we found several lead seals that shed light on the residents of the fortress and theircorrespondence,” Dukov says, adding that one of the seals belonged to Gregory Kurkua who was theByzantine Duke of Plovdiv in the 11th century, after the Byzantine Empire defeated the First Bulgarian Empire (680-1018 AD) in 1018 AD, and conquered most of the Bulgarian lands.

In his words, the Byzantine Duke of Plovdiv Gregory Kurkua probably had correspondence withGregory Pakourianos (Gregorius Pacurianus), a powerful 11th century Byzantine politician of Georgian origin who is known as the founder of the Monastery of the Mother of God Petritzonitissa in Bachkovo, one of the most revered monasteries in today’s Bulgaria also located near the town ofAsenovgrad.

[The Byzantine Duke of Plovdiv] was probably exchange letters with Gregory Pakourianos, and probably lived and died at roughly the same time as him,” Dukov notes, adding that the archaeologists have found two otherByzantine seals – one anonymous, and another one that belonged to a man called Constantine Xenothynos.

These seals are interesting from the point of view of sigillography. This diplomatic correspondence is important to us because it can enrich our historical knowledge of this period,” says the director of the Asenovgrad Museum of History.

He has also announced that the archaeologists excavating the medieval Upper Voden Fortress have discovered several ancient pithoi (pithos is the Ancient Greek word for a large clay vessel for storing grain, wine, and other food) as well as a tandir, a medieval oven based on these vessels.

“Tandir is a specific type of oven which resembles a pithos but has more vertical walls. Fire is lit inside the tandir, and foods are baked in there. This technique is still used today in some parts of Asia. Some parts of the Rhodope Mountains [in Bulgaria] also use this method for roasting meat,” Dukov explains.

Back in November 2014, the archaeologists excavating the Upper Voden Fortress announced the discovery of a rare 4th century BC coin minted by Alexander the Great.