Archaeologists Find Ancient Medieval Settlements On An Island In The Black Sea

Medieval Ruins
forden / Shutterstock

In June of this year, Professor Ivan Hristov from Bulgaria’s National Museum of History in Sofia, along with a team of archaeological researchers, began the first ever discoveries on a tiny Bulgarian island in the Black Sea. Archaeology In Bulgaria reports that this island, St. Thomas Island, aka Snake Island, has the remains of an Ancient Thracian settlement from the Early Iron Age, Ancient Thracian ritual pits, and an Early Byzantine settlement from what is believed to be the 5th through the 6th century CE, and a small monastery from the Middle Ages of about the 12th through the 14th century.

Most recently, Archaeology In Bulgaria also reports that Hristov and his team have began to carry out underwater archaeology expeditions as of August, 2018. This underwater research is being carried out in the Bay of Arkutino, and is funded by Bulgaria’s Ministry of Culture.

During the underwater phase of their expedition, researchers have now discovered a sunken fortress from Ancient Thrace between the Bulgarian mainland, or what used to be an istmus, and Snake Island. Geographic research shows that the island used to be a peninsula until the Middle Ages.

Tencho Tenev is a diver in charge of the diving expedition, according to Bulgaria on Air TV, cites Archaeology In Bulgaria. He spoke with reporters, explaining how the island had been previously photographed, which gave hints of the soon to be discovered monastery.

“About a century ago, the island was photographed from an airplane, and photos showed the outlines of the small monastery.”

These archaeological explorations on the island has been carried out under stringent and strict requirements from the Bulgaria’s Ministry of Environment and Waters. The reasoning for this strict requirement is due to St. Thomas Island being part of the Ropotamo Natural Preserve.

Island
Snake Island near El Nido Palawan. Ikpro / Shutterstock

According to a hypothesis from Bulgaria’s National Museum of History in Sofia, it is believed that archaeologists will find more Ancient Thracian ritual pits on Snake Island, just off the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria’s Primorsko. If this is true, such pits would be beyond the two which have already been discovered.

The museum has referred to what was once a small Black Sea peninsula.

“The exposed finds indicate that a large sea route shrine was located on the St. Thomas Island.”

This and of course other archaeological finds, is likely what researchers such as Tencho Tenev are diving for. A spokesperson for the museum also told journalists about why this site was chosen for expeditions.

“The place was chosen for a reason since it was right off the ancient road from Sozopol (Apollonia Pontica, Sozopolis) to Constantinople (at the time the Ancient Greek colony of Byzantium or Byzantion).”