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Stratum plus. 2013. №6

V. Yotov, A. Minchev (Varna, Bulgaria)

A Sacred Centre at Cape Sveti Atanas in the Western Pontic Region

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Pages: 59-77

Archaeological investigations in 2009—2013 at a Late Antique fortified town located on Cape Sveti Atanas yielded several sacral complexes, dated between 6th c. BC — early 7th c. AD.
In the South-Eastern part of the cape there have been unearthed tens of Thracian sacrificial clay altars and a temple (?) dated back to the 5th — 1st cc. BC. Close to this complexes, several marble sculptures and a votive relief representing the labours of Heracles have been also discovered. These finds are probably connected with a Roman sanctuary
of 2nd—3rd cc. AD dedicated to this ancient divine hero.
The most interesting discoveries belong to the Early Christian period of late 4th — early 7th cc. AD: a three-nave basilica with one apse and two baptisteries; a residential house of the priest and later a local bishop (chora-episcopus) as well as a storge-house for keeping the gifts donated to the church and a sacred well/spring next to the church building.
The Late Antique fortress on cape Sveti Atanas was erected most probably in late 4th century AD. Soon it became a local port town and Christian center of the region.
The fortification was renewed a couple of times after natural calamities and barbarian invasions. In 614 AD, after an attack of Avars and Slavs, the town was captured, burned to ashes and abandoned.

Keywords: Byala, cape Sveti Atanas, Thracian temple, Sanctuary of Heracles, Late Antique fortress, commercial harbor, Early Christian basilica, baptistery, bishop residence, sacred spring

Information about authors:

Valerij Yotov
(Varna, Bulgaria). Doctor of Archaeology. Archaeological museum, Varna. Maria Louisa Bul., 41,Varna, 9000, Bolgaria
E-mail: [email protected]
Alexandr Minchev (Varna, Bulgaria). Archaeological museum, Varna. Maria Louisa Bul., 41,Varna, 9000, Bolgaria
E-mail: [email protected]

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