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Archaeologists Unearth Bulgarian Madonna

Standartnews daily, Tsvetelina Terzieva

Archaeologists have discovered the Bulgarian copy of the Virgin Mary at the excavations of the unique necropolis discovered by the village of Nissovo near Rousse on the Danube. The expedition is led by the archaeologist Templar, Prof. Nikolay Ovcharov. The sensational finding is the medieval burial of a mother and a child. The bodies were laid to resemble those of the Virgin Mary and Infant as usually depicted on icons. Archaeologists and historians say this has been the first such discovery in Bulgaria. The woman's right hand holds the front of the child's body and her left hand is placed under the infant's buttocks. The child's hand was positioned in Jesus Christ's typical blessing gesture. The mother was 25 or 30 year old and the child was 2 and most probably a girl as the body was richly decorated with bracelets. Judging from their dress and jewelry, they must have been affluent.

The archaeologists unearthed dozens of medieval coins that evidence to the age of the necropolis, it dates back to the least explored period in Bulgarian history - between the end of the 16th century and the end of the 18th century. The adjacent village housed between 500 and 1000 people. It is till unknown how these people came to live there and how they disappeared in the 17th century. According to the standards of the time the population was quite affluent. The residents of the village were buried with silver coins and Catholic-like unique crosses as tombstones.

One of the hypothesis for the origin of the village is that it was inhibited by the descendants of the Bulgarian aristocracy that fled Veliko Tarnovo, the capital of the Second Bulgarian kingdom at the invasion of the Ottoman Turks in the 14th century. The expedition to Nissovo was carried out thanks to the exclusive financial support of the Priory of Knights Templars in Bulgaria

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