Scientific conference on Thracian settlement archeology in Strelcha
The thematics of the conference was “Thracian settlement archeology II-I millennium BC in the area of Strelcha – rulers, precious metals, interactions”. Initiators of the event were Strelcha municipal administration and Historical museum and the impetus was given by this summer’s recent excavation works in the area when ceramic and metal artifacts dated IV-III century BC were found close to the existing megalithic rock formations. Among the speakers were Prof. Gotsev from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, who headed the excavation works, and scientists and researchers from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia University and Blagoevgrad university. Detailed analyses were presented of Strelcha rock formation sanctuaries and interconnections were drawn between them and neighbouring burial mounds (Frog Mound), ruins of the Thracian emporium (Hisar) and settlements. Various hypotheses were presented about the Thracian use of these megalithic structures with emphasis on pagan ritual practices and ritual gold production activities. The Thracian backgrounds of many local area names were traced in support of the hypothesis of the existence of a major concentration of Thracian settlements in the region of Strelcha. Also, the interconnection between rock formation sanctuaries of the megalithic dolmen type was followed between Strelcha and sites in neighbouring municipalities and a hypothesis of a visual connection between all such cultic sites was put forward. The conference was a major event on the cultural agenda of Strelcha and Pazardzhik region in general. The Mayor of Strelcha, Mr. Evstatiev, informed about the application made to include Strelcha Thracian cult complex - Heroon (Frog Mound) in the UNESCO list of cultural heritage and about the plans of the municipality to open an archeology class in the local high school. Next summer archeological work will continue with possible funding to be provided by Strelcha municipality.