Pliska - 100 years of archaeological excavations
R. Rashev, Ya. Dimitrov

III. The legacy of Pliska

    15. Materials from the antiquity

Beside the alredy mentioned antique columns and capitals, Pliska contains other, more ancient materials. Most common amongst them are the bricks. A small part of them are Roman, from the II-III c., sealed by the seals of the state or private persons. Predominate the bricks from the V-VII c. sealed by private persons, among whom the name ‘Dules’ being most frequent. These bricks were used in the earliest buildings in Pliska – the vaulted arches in the Throne Palace, the brick addition to the wall around the Small Palace, the floors of the secret underground passages. In the latter case all bricks have preserved remains of red mortar and, clearly, they originate from earlier solid brick buildings. It is usually assumed they come from the nearby fortress at Voyvoda, some 6 km to the north of Pliska, although the bricks there form only a small part of the volume of the fortress walls, and the buildings inside the fortress were built by stones, not bricks. The early Roman bricks indicate that their source was some other fortress, most probably – the abandoned at the beginning of the VII c. large Roman town of Marcianopolis.

The monolithic arch found near the western gate of the Citadel was brought from the Roman town of Nicopolis ad Istrum. The fragments of marble plates, reilefs and some columns probably also come from these Roman towns. The head of one such statue was used as a stone to be embedded into the southern fortress wall. With the transfer and the re-use of such antique building materials must be linked the antique coins from the II to the VI c. found in Pliska, as well as other easily moved antique materials which cannot not contribute to the dating of any of Pliska’s buildings. The thesis about the antique age of some buildings, based on the basis of such mobile materials alone, is undefendable. It can be discussed only if there existed the corresponding cultural layer, formed in the same way as in all other Roman-Byzantine towns. Such a layer is absent in Pliska. Its absence can only mean that no antique town existed there in the first place.