Emiliya Velinova, Director of the Regional Museum of History in Pernik, talks with Focus News Agency about the archaeological excavation works along Lot 1 of Struma Motorway.
Focus: Ms Velinova, will the archaeologists finish their work on the excavation sites along Struma Motorway in the term, determined for inauguration of the motorway?
Emiliya Velinova: We have a committee for reception of the object, which will publish a protocol on July 2, after making an inspection. This is an inter-ministerial committee, summoned upon the request of the Bulgarian Minister of Culture. The archaeologists will have freed the main structures by then, and after that there will be only two structures left, which we hope we will be able to complete by July 15. The problem was that we had a lot of rainy days, when our colleagues could not work on the excavation sites. I hope that we will receive these 15 days, after July 2, so that our colleagues would be able to finish what they have started.
Focus: Did the heavy rains affect in any way the excavation sites?
Emiliya Velinova: The very findings – no, but rains slowed down our work, as after heavy rains the structures needed to be drained and cleaned, which took time. Archaeology is a very fine work, as we must not miss even the smallest part found on site.
Focus: What are the findings you have come upon along Lot 1 of the motorway?
Emiliya Velinova: We uncovered a necropolis, which last year was dated to 6th -7th century B.C., and now it was dated even further back – 9th century B.C., i.e. this necropolis had been used for several centuries. The sedimentations are one on top of another. We have uncovered a lot of movable archaeological objects, during the excavation works. Some of them were given for restoration, while others, like 10 extremely valuable urns were placed in the museum.
Focus: Is the necropolis the most interesting finding you have uncovered?
Emiliya Velinova: The archaeologists from the Regional Museum of History in Pernik are working on the object where the necropolis is situated. The necropolis is an ancient burial ground, where burying rituals have taken place, which is why we have uncovered urns. Many different habits were made there, for which we will still learn more details and publish interesting scientific facts.
Focus: Do you plan any other excavation works in the region?
Emiliya Velinova: We will not have the opportunity to dig in Pernik this summer. There are a lot of many interesting objects in Pernik, but almost all of the archaeologists are engaged with the excavation works along Lot 1 of Struma Motorway.
Focus: What will happen, if you fail to finish your excavation works along Lot 1 on time?
Emiliya Velinova: We have signed contracts with the Road Infrastructure Agency, where there are specific clauses for such cases, but I believe we will manage to meet the deadlines.
Focus: You mentioned that the excavation works should end by July 15, right?
Emiliya Velinova: Yes, this is the new deadline, as the days lost because of rain have been added. The very structure of the soil is such that it needs to be drained and does not drain itself, which has led to the delays.
Focus: Do you manage to retain the findings after their restoration? Do you have sufficient financing for that?
Emiliya Velinova: The financial resources we have are insufficient for restoration. We have planned on-field conservation for the sites along Struma Motorway. The restoration and conservation of the findings is a very lengthy period, which will last between three and five years, at least. The on-field conservation is digging out the archaeological findings and then conserving them in their entirety, after which they are transported to laboratories for cleaning and restoration.
Focus: Did the recent earthquake affect the excavation works in any way?
Emiliya Velinova: No, it did not. But it affected the museum itself. We have very serious damages of our buildings.
Focus: Will you receive any funds for repair works of the damages?
Emiliya Velinova: We already received financing for repairing the working rooms, where rehabilitation had already started. As far as I understood from our mayor, we will also receive funds for repair works of our buildings. We also tried to recover our exposition – to recollect the exhibits and to make a detailed list with the damages, caused by the earthquake. Now we are preparing to make a new archaeological exposition, too.