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Ottoman-Era Tunnel Found in Ancient Tomb

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

PLOVDIV, BULGARIA—According to an Archaeology in Bulgaria report, a 130-foot-long tunnel large enough for draft animals to pass through has been discovered in a third-century A.D. tomb by a team of researchers led by Kostadin Kisyov of the Plovdiv Museum of Archaeology. The tunnel is thought to have been dug in the sixteenth century A.D. in order to loot the ancient tower tomb, which was hidden within Bulgaria’s Maltepe Burial Mound. Once inside the structure, the Ottoman-era looters dug a pit about eight feet deep, which they then refilled, Kisyov said. They then attempted to dig upward into the tower, he added. The diggers left behind a coin minted during the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (r. 1520–1566), two earlier coins, a metal bridle bit, and draft-animal droppings. Burn marks on the tunnel’s ceiling indicate the diggers carried torches or lamps. Scholars speculate the tomb may contain the remains of the Roman emperor Philip I the Arab, who ruled from A.D. 244 to 249. “However, I don’t rule out the possibility that an Odrysian aristocrat might be buried in it, such as Teres, who was a proxy for the emperor, and governed the entire Roman province of Thracia,” Kisyov said. For more on archaeology in Bulgaria, go to “Iconic Discovery.”

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