Archaeologists in Bulgaria have unearthed the smallest ancient Thracian brick tomb in the country, near the town of Rozovo. The site is in central Bulgaria and the tomb dates to the first half of the 3rd century BC.
The tomb is the second known beehive tomb or tholos (a dome tomb) found in Bulgaria after the 4th-century Kazanlak Tomb which is a Unesco World Heritage site. Both tombs, the Kazanlak Tomb as well as the newly found Rozovo tombs are special because their beehive interior is preserved intact. Such tombs, of ancient Thracian nobles and elite were usually hidden underneath burial mounds and were made of stone and brick.
The Rozovo tomb is located about two miles away from the Kazanlak Tomb, but unlike the latter, in which elaborate murals representing a funeral feast are preserved, this one has been severely looted and no murals or frescoes have been found in its interior. It has a burial chamber and a small antechamber and is clearly from the Hellenistic Era. In front of the two chambers there was a shed, probably a wooden structure covered with Laconian-type roof tiles. Also, this is the smallest tomb of this kind discovered in the country so far. The dome consists of 23 rows of bricks and is covered with a stone slab. The bricks vary in size and shape and were probably baked on the spot to match the needs of the construction.
Associate Professor Georgi Nehrizoc, from the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology in Sofia, and Meglena Parvin, from the Kazanlak Museum of History “Iskra”, stated that the tomb raiders have retrieved all mobile items from the site, and caused some irrational damages on the chamber walls and dome. The only thing left for archaeologists were some scattered bones and a skull.
The size of the tomb is also quite unique, indicating that it was perhaps constructed in haste. This could be confirmed by the fact that the soldering was achieved with clay rather than mortar which was the commonly used material at the time.
Excavations to rescue and provide first aid to the tiny ancient Thracian tomb near Rozovo were completed on September 21, 2018. The fate of the tomb is to be decided by a commission from Bulgaria’s Ministry of Culture.