A HUGE 16th century looting tunnel has been discovered underneath a tower tomb hidden within an ancient burial mound in Bulgaria.
The Maltepe Burial Mound was slowly being investigating by archaeologists who were not initially expecting to find a 3rd century tower tomb or to dig further and find out it had already been broken into.
According to an Archaeology in Bulgaria report, the 3rdcentury AD Middle Eastern-style tower tomb was found underneath Bulgaria’s largest Thracian burial mound.
The archaeologists had excavated 20 metres of the tower when they found what they suspect is a looting tunnel, big enough to fir large animals inside that could have been loaded with the loot.
Because of its Middle Eastern design, they think the mound might contain the remains of ancient Roman Emperor Philip I the Arab who died around 249 AD.
Alternatively, it could be the resting place of an ancient Thracian dignitary who ruled the Roman province of Thracia in the 3rd century AD.
Who were the Thracians?
Here’s what you need to know about these ancient people…
- The Thracians were a group of Indo-European tribes who lived over a large area in Eastern and Southeastern Europe
- They had their own Thracian language and are known for their multi-corded pottery
- They lived through lots of conflicts in the Bronze Age and Iron Age and the Roman period
- The ancient Greeks and Romans though that Thracians were barbarians because they were said to be warlike, ferocious, and bloodthirsty
- They were no good at building cities but were often ruled over by people from large cities like the Persians and the Romans
Whoever resides in the tomb is likely to have been buried surrounded by lots of treasures.
The researchers don’t want to open the massive tower tomb themselves until they have exposed it fully so that means more digging though the mound must occur for now.
Archaeological sites all over Bulgaria and are often targeted by modern day looters.
What is interesting about the Maltepe Burial Mound is that the tower within it was looted during the reign of Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent who ruled from 1521 – 1566.
The looting tunnel is 40 metres long and had been resealed.
The archaeologists have dated it back to 16th Century Ottoman Empire looters because they found Ottoman coins that had been left behind in the tunnel.
Burn marks on the tunnel ceiling suggest that the looters used torches made of burning animal fat whilst they stole their treasure.
The researchers hope to have uncovered all of the southern side of the tower by the end of August this year.
What was the Ottoman Empire?
Here’s what you need to know…
- The Ottoman Empire, known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire was a state that controlled a lot of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries
- The height of its power was during the 16th and 17th centuries
- It was a multnational and multilingual empire
- It was found at the end of the 13th century by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I
- The empire allied with Germany in WWI and lost lots of its land in the aftermath
- During this time, genocide was committed by the Ottoman government against the Armenians, Assyrians and Pontic Greeks
- The Turkish War of Independence resulted in the Republic of Turkey
What do you make of this looting discovery? Let us know in the comments…
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