An almost complete Mycenaean vessel, an alabastron used as a container for ointments, was found this summer in a Late Bronze Age (13th cent. BCE) settlement in Bresto, southwestern Bulgaria. Mycenaean pottery has rarely been found in Bulgaria.
The find sheds new light on the relations between the southern Bulgarian mountain regions and the urban centers in the Aegean at the time of the Mycenaean palaces.
The strongly fortified settlement of Bresto, on the territory of the modern village Banya, municipality of Razlog, is currently excavated by archaeologists from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich and the New Bulgarian University Sofia. Thanks to the Balkan Heritage Field School and the support of the Balkan Heritage Foundation, students from the USA, Great Britain and Australia take part in the research.
The fortified settlement of Bresto is located on a hill slope, surrounded by a river bend of a tributary of the Mesta/Nestos river. The Mycenaean vessel was found in a small passage next to a huge building with an apsidal ending.
The research at Bresto aims to better understand the wealth and far-distance relations of this strongly fortified settlement located between the mountains of Rila, Pirin and Rhodopi. These long-distance connections of Bresto are also indicated by a boar tusk plate, which was probably prepared for the production of an Aegean-type helmet.
The massive stone fortification wall in Bresto has no parallels in western Bulgaria and northern Greece so far. The closest resemblance of the offsets of the wall from Bresto can be found in the sixth settlement of Troy.
In the near future, the Bresto project will undertake organic residue analysis in order to clarify the contents of the Mycenaean vessel.
Project Directors: Ass.-Prof. Bogdan Athanassov (NBU Sofia), Prof. Dr. Philipp W. Stockhammer (LMU München)
Funding and logistic support: New Bulgarian University, Heidelberg University, LMU Munich, Balkan Heritage Foundation, Institute for Field Research, Bulgarian Ministry of Culture, Municipality of Razlog and Banya, Valeks Group 2 in Razlog, St. Paisii Hilendarski School in Banya.