Everyday life in the area of the Roman city of Abritus

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Everyday life in the area of the Roman city of Abritus

The earliest data of human presence in Hisarlaka Area to the east of modern-day Razgrad dates back to the Old Stone (Paleolithic) Age – 18 000 – 15 000 years B.C. This is how old are the flint implements discovered during archeological excavations which prove the existence of a temporary camp of prehistoric hunters. The Hisarlak dwelling tumulus near the bed of the Beli Lom river dates back to the late Chalcolithic (Copper) Age (the second half of the 5th millennium B.C.). At the northern bank of the river valley stand the remains of a Thracian settlement from the 4th – 3rd century B.C. In late 1st – early 2nd century at that very place originated the early Roman settlement of Abritus. The tumulus necropoles of the settlement were located at its periphery: in the eastern direction along the right bank of the Beli Lom river in the area of Mladezhki Park at the eastern outskirts of the modern-day town.

In the early 4th century at the height to the bend of the left bank of the Beli Lom river was erected a fortress – facing the early settlement. It was inhabited by barbarians – Foederati. The Late Antiquity city was burnt down and destroyed repeatedly: in 376 – 378 by the Goths and in 447 during the massive invasion of the Huns in the lands of Moesia Secunda in the 480s and probably during the riot of the Goths – Foederati of Theoderic against emperor Zeno.

Serious construction activities took place in Abritus during the reign of Emperor Justinian I (527 – 565) In 5th – 6th century Abritus was among the largest cities of the province and a bishop’s seat. Its necropoles were located to the north, to the south and to the southwest of its fortress walls.

In 586 the city was finally destroyed during the Avar invasion. In late 9th – early 10th century a Bulgarian fortress was erected on its ruins which was later destroyed in the period 968 – 971 by the armies of prince Sviatoslav I of Kiev (945 – 972) or by the armies of the Byzantine emperor John I Tzimiskes (969 – 976). An unfortified settlement existed along with the Bulgarian fortress. It was located at the opposite bank of the Beli Lom river over the ruins of the early Roman settlement.

After 971 in an attempt to restore the Late Antiquity town the Byzantines constructed a representative Episcopal complex in its eastern part. The early medieval settlement was destroyed in 1030s – 1040s during the invasions of the Pechenegs.

The unfortified settlement of the 13th – 14th century was located at the height of the left bank of the Beli Lom river in Boaza Area. This was the last settlement in the area. Over the following centuries the ruins in Hisarlaka Area were used for obtaining ready construction material for buildings in modern-day Razgrad.