Archaeologists in Bulgaria’s Black Sea coastal town of Sozopol have found an ancient Greek vase depicting an erotic group sex scene, according to Bozhidar Dimitrov, director of the National History Museum in Sofia.

The painted vase was found during excavations which started in October 2011 at the fortified wall of Sozopol and St Nicholas the Wonderworker Church in the old town, news agency Focus quoted Dimitrov as saying.

The find was made in the lowest layers, remnants of Sozopol’s history at the end of the seventh and the middle of the sixth centuries BCE.

“There is a strong erotic scene on the vase, which unfortunately was discovered in several fragments. There are several naked young boys and girls, having sex in some unconventional way. Such a scene is found for the first time on the territory of our country,” Dimitrov was quoted saying.

“The scene is a rarity, we have thousands of vases found here, but this is the first one with such a scene on it. We have seen similar items in Greece. The Ancient Greeks used to consider sex a free gift from the gods; it was the Christian Church that was the first to start labelling what is right and what is wrong in sex.

Archaeologist Dimitar Nedev told Focus that there were such erotic scenes in finds from ancient Greece, but none so large, expressive and done by such a good artist.

According to a preliminary analysis of the style, the painting was made by one of the prominent artists in Apollonia – the Artist of the Running Satyr.

The painting is comprised of seven figures; the scene is erotic, with good style, expressive and very “spicy”, Nedev was quoted as saying.

He said that the find would widen the knowledge of the region, its trade contacts, and the aesthetic and artistic criteria of ancient Hellenes and Thracians who used to live in this region.

Bulgaria’s National History Museum did not release official photos of the new find near Sozopol on Sunday.