Monday, July 28, 2008

Byzantine archaeological discoveries

25 July 2008
ANSA - English Media Service

An extremely rare and very well preserved Byzantine baptismal font has been found on an island off the western Sicilian coast near Trapani. The font was discovered in a newly unearthed Byzantine church and baptistery on the island, already a tourist attraction because of a Roman fort and Norman church. "The finds provide exceptional evidence of the vitality of the island of Marettimo in the Byzantine era," archaeologists said.

The font is covered in decorated plaster and shaped like a cross to conform with Byzantine baptismal rites. "As you peer further down its shape shifts first into an octagon, then a circle and finally a rectagon, highlighting the high level of craftsmanship that went into its working," cultural heritage officials said.

These geometrical figures had religious and symbolic meaning in the early Church, they said. The only other Byzantine font in Sicily was found last year at the ancient site of Selinunte (Selinos in Greek) on the south coast of the island.

Rare Imperial Seal of Andronikos II Palaiologos Found Near Kurdjali
22 July 2008
Bulgarian News Agency

Kurdjali, Southern Bulgaria, July 22 (BTA) - A rare seal of the Byzantine emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos, dating from the 13th-14th century, was unearthed in a big aristocratic mansion 2 km east of the stone palace of Perperikon, archaeologist Nikolai Ovcharov said on Tuesday. On one side it bears an image of the emperor, and on the other, an image of Jesus Christ in a blessing posture.

According to Ovcharov, there are ten such seals in the world, and this is the second one found in Bulgaria. It will be included in the exposition of the Regional Museum of History in Kurdjali.

Experts also found a silver sign dating from the 11th-12th century. It carries the image of a female figure crowning another one. Another rare find is a conical distillation vessel of the 9th-15th century. Such vessels have been discovered in Western and Eastern Europe, and this is the second one in the Rhodope Mountains, Ovcharov said.