Discovery of a massive iron anchor

An underwater archaeological expedition of the National History Museum reveals the secrets of Port Baglar ("Bay of the Vineyards") off Sozopol. The underwater and geophysical surveys in the bay near Cape Christos and the town of Kavatsi south of the town of Sozopol have been completed.

New archaeological discoveries in the Black Sea

The underwater and geophysical surveys in the bay near Cape Christos and the town of Kavatsi south of the town of Sozopol have been completed. The studies were conducted in two stages: the first in June and the second in September 2022 with the financial support of the National History Museum and the Ministry of Culture. The head of the research is the deputy director of the museum Prof. Dr. Ivan Hristov, and divers from the Municipal Diving Center of the city of Sozopol, led by Tencho Tenev and the cartographer Eng. Totyo Angelov participated in the expedition. The surveys included two types of non-destructive surveys: geophysical and underwater surveys. The geophysical survey was conducted by engineer Kiril Velkovski with the assistance of the Center for Underwater Archeology in Sozopol.    

Cape Christ is the most south-eastern rocky cape of the Boujaka peninsula next to the town of Sozopol. South of the cape is a large bay mentioned as a large port next to the sea city by Evliya Celebi, count. P. Tolstoy and V. von Bronyar. Present with the designation Portus Baglar on maps throughout the 40th century. Over the past XNUMX years, hundreds of valuable objects related to shipping along the Western Pontus (amphorae, stone anchors, sticks) have been found in this bay, which is a prerequisite for assuming that in the leeward side of the large Bujaka peninsula, in the area of ​​today's Dalian, Chaika was an ancient and medieval port area was located, serving an ancient settlement, medieval churches and a monastery in the town of Kavatsi.

The set goals of these special studies within the framework of an underwater expedition of the NIM were related to: measuring and making a detailed bathymetric map of the study area with a multibeam echo sounder; scanning the area with high-frequency side-scanning sonar; construction of a detailed terrain model in the target area - the water area of ​​the target area for research; creation of raster images - mosaics with the texture of the bottom from side-scanning sonar data; identifying prospective bottom targets for the entire survey area that would have the potential to be ship artefacts or shipwrecks.

During the two phases of the underwater search, a variety of items related to shipping and loading and unloading activities in the bay were found. The number of ceramic vessel fragments is also relatively large. The earliest finds are two stone anchors with two holes. In the literature, it is accepted that stone anchors are the oldest ship elements, used both in the Mediterranean and in the Black Sea as early as the Bronze Age. They are a roughly worked solid stone with a different number of holes that serve to tie the anchor rope and integrate additional wooden pointed stakes, the purpose of which is to hold the anchor on the bottom. The general dating of stone anchors from the Bulgarian Black Sea coast is III–II millennium BC, but they were also used at the beginning of the XNUMXst millennium BC. Some scientists call them "Thracian", considering their distribution mainly in the southern part of the Western Pontus, and predominantly in the water area of ​​the city of Sozopol. So far, the only stock discovered during the research is from the Roman era, made of lead and belongs to the group of so-called movable stocks with one hole. Chronologically, it follows the discovery, next to Talian Chaika, of a well-preserved late antique iron "T"-shaped anchor. During the underwater search, four iron anchors were found. This type of anchor dates back to the XNUMXth-XNUMXth centuries. Iron three-horned and four-horned anchors succeed massive two-armed iron anchors (Byzantine type). The next stage in the development of the iron anchor began at the end of the XNUMXth century and the beginning of the XNUMXth century when new models were created - for example, the British Admiralty anchors.    

Fragmented ceramic vessels and amphorae from different historical periods (VI century BC - XVIII AD) were found during underwater research. They are collected in working polygons at a depth of 6 to 10 meters, which cover the entire northern periphery of the bay south of the areas of Christos, Palamaria, Sulinaria.

The earliest ceramic material is from the Archaic era. Parts of the so-called gray monochrome ceramic amphora were discovered. The use of the bay during the Late Hellenistic era is attested by fragments of amphora handles produced on the island of Kos and dated to the XNUMXnd-XNUMXst centuries BC. There are fragments of red-lacquered panicles produced in the Asia Minor provinces of Byzantium. They date the presence of vessels in the bay to Cape Christ to the XNUMXth-XNUMXth century period and are synchronous in use with the Late Antique amphora fragments. A large number of fragments of medieval amphorae were found during underwater inspections.

It is impressive to find ceramics from the Ottoman period XVI - XVII centuries. Whole and fragmented sanitary vessels, the so-called Ibritsi, were discovered. These vessels resemble the shape of jugs, but have an additional spout attached to the shoulders. They were widespread in all the dominions of the Ottoman Empire in the period XVI - XIX centuries. They were used for ritual washing of Muslims before prayer. They encroach massively into the lives of the Christian population as well. These fragments and almost whole vessels, the mentioned iron anchors as a dating correspond with the information of the Austrian Wenzel von Bronyar about the area south of Sozopol.

After the completion of the underwater surveys and the overall inspection of the coastline, it is possible to state the hypothesis that the bay, in addition to being a "refuge" during strong sea storms, was also used for loading and unloading activities related to the developed residential, economic and religious infrastructure. Two were the sites where primitive harbor facilities known in later ages as wharves were probably built. The first site was located at the foot of a medieval monastery next to Talian Chaika and the current concrete pier south of Cape Christ. The second site, where a cliff and jetties probably also existed, was located at the beginning of Kavatsi Beach on the coast of Sulinaria Bay. There, until the beginning of the XNUMXth century, there was an iron pier entering the sea. Here, one of the important reasons to look for a marina is the availability of abundant fresh water.

Exploration in the hinterland of the bay to Cape Christ will continue until the end of the year.

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