New evidence of ancient seafaring along the Bulgarian
Black Sea Coast
the Balkan Heritage Foundation (BHF) contributed to the recovery of an invaluable
artifact. A large stone “stock” – part of an ancient anchor – was documented in situ and retrieved by underwater
archaeologists in the Bay of Burgas, Bulgaria. The find dates back to the
period between the 7th and 5th century BC, presenting a
valuable trace of Ancient Greek seafaring along the Western Black Sea Coast in
the Archaic Period.
past few months, the Bulgarian Centre for Underwater Archaeology (CUA) in Sozopol has
been conducting maritime surveys in the northern parts of the Burgas Bay. The
research area encompasses the southern aquatory of the small coastal town
Pomorie (ancient Anchialos), where the construction of new fishing harbor has
recently been initiated.
often happens, the archaeological research raised a lot of interest in the
local community. As a result to that, a week ago, marine archaeologists Dr.
Nayden Prahov and Dr. Dragomir Garbov from the CUA Sozopol and Balkan Heritage Field School instructors, were approached by
local snail divers (rapandzhii), who shared information on an ancient
anchor-stock they had discovered and wanted to hand over to the local museum. With
the financial support of the Balkan Heritage Foundation, the archaeologists visited
the find spot and, to their amazement, documented in situ and then retrieved one of the oldest and largest Archaic
Greek anchor stocks along the southern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast.
was discovered at a current depth of 4.5 meters, half buried in the seabed,
approximately 1000 m off the eastern coast of Pomorie. Its orientation is
North-to-South which suggests that the anchor it held was lying on the bottom,
oriented West-to-East – possibly retaining the ancient ship against an easterly
wind when it was lost. After thorough photo- and videographic documentation the
find was extracted from the seabed and brought to the Archaeological Museum of
Pomorie for further study. A lazer-scan 3D model is on the way of being
produced and further petrographic analysis will be conducted with the aim to
determine the origin of the anchor and possibly – of the ancient ship which it
Anchialos was founded in the 5th c. BC by Milesian Greeks as a trading station
(emporion) of Apollonia Pontica (a Balkan Heritage Field School site) and quickly became an important local
economic centre. In the 2nd century BC its riches became the “cause de guerre” in the conflicts
between Apollonia Pontica and Messambria. During the Roman period Ulpia Anchialus became the leading
regional centre of the Burgas Bay area – a status the town retained until the
1920ies. With its early date (7th – 5th c. BC), the
anchor stock, recovered with the help of the Balkan Heritage Foundation, marks out
the initial period in ancient Anchialo’s glorious history and draws a new
insight in Archaic Greek seafaring along the Western Pontus.