Archaeologists Discovered Rare Ancient Sculpture Aug 18, 2009 17:42:54 GMT -5
Post by Bozur on Aug 18, 2009 17:42:54 GMT -5
Bulgaria: Archaeologists Discovered Rare Ancient Sculpture at Nicopolis ad Istrum Site
18 August 2009 | A limestone sculpture depicting a man’s head, which used to be part of an ancient pillar, was discovered by archaeologists during excavations of the Nicopolis ad Istrum site, located near the town of Veliko Tarnovo in central Bulgaria.
The head is almost life-size, national media reported today, and half of the face and hair have been preserved.
The way it was made give archaeologists reason to believe that the head was part of a herma – a type of terracota, stone or bronze sculpture that originated in Ancient Greece, which constituted of a head placed atop a plain, usually squared lower section (as in the above picture).
Hermai, some of which also featured male genitals carved at the appropriate height in the pillar, were placed at crossings, country borders and boundaries as markers and for protection. The name of Hermes, who was a phallic god, associated with fertility, luck, roads and borders before his role as protector of merchants and travellers, comes from the word herma. In Athens, such sculptures were placed outside houses for good luck.
The herma is an interesting and a find that is seen with exceptional rarity on Bulgarian lands, head of the archaeologists’ team, Pavlina Vladkova, told national media.
As BalkanTravellers.com wrote in July, archaeologists began excavations at Nicopolis ad Istrum with the aim of unearthing the oldest architectural remains of the ancient town, including public buildings which date to the time of its founding – the beginning of the second century AD.
Nicopolis ad Istrum was founded by Emperor Trajan around 101–106 AD, at the junction of the Yantra River with the Danube, in memory of his victory over the Dacians. The town reached its apogee during the reigns of Trajan, Hadrian (117 - 138 AD), the Antonines (138 - 180 AD) and the Severan dynasty (193 – 235 AD).
The ancient settlement is one of the fourteenth sites on the Tentative List submitted by Bulgaria to UNESCO, which contains sites – seen as cultural or natural heritage of outstanding universal value, that the country intends to consider for nomination to be inscribed on the organization’s World Heritage List.
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