Bulgarian Govt Exacerbates Conflict with Archaeologists over Highways

Archaeology | February 16, 2012, Thursday // 15:55|  views

Bulgaria's Regional Devt Minister Pavlova (middle) in Shumen, Thursday. Photo by BGNES

The construction of an 8 km section of Bulgaria's northern highway Hemus could be frozen as a result of new funding demands by archaeologists working on the ground, Bulgarian Regional Development Minister Lilyana Pavlova has announced.

Bulgaria's Borisov Cabinet, especially Pavlova and Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, have been in disputes with archaeologists in the past few months over conflicts between highway construction schedule and what is needed to preserve the archaeology-rich sites along the respective routes.

In January 2012, the archaeologists from the northeastern city of Shumen working on the 8 km section of the highway between Shumen and the village of Belokopitovo requested from Prime Minister Boyko Borisov BGN 350 000 in order to be able to speed up and complete the work on the archaeological sites discovered in the fall of 2011.

Regional Development Minister Pavlova, however, announced on Thursday that the archaeologists have filed a new funding request beefing up the sum to BGN 423 000.

"That is a lot of money for the surveying of such a small terrain," Pavlova said, reminding that the construction of the 8-km section was started in the summer of 2011, with the government funding it with BGN 38 M from the state budget.

She said her institution has invited the archaeologists working on the highway section for a meeting to discuss the situation, and that if they need to carry out all-out excavations instead of just surveying the highway route, this will likely cause the road building to be frozen.

Bulgaria's southwestern highway project, "Struma", has also seen a conflict with archaeological excavations since three archaeological sites turned out to be located on its route. It is still unclear how much money the archaeologists will request from the government in order to be able to complete their work faster.

Both highway-archaeology conflicts have led Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov to utter unpleasant remarks directed at the archaeologists, reacting angrily over the possibility that Bulgaria might fail to comply with the respective EU funding deadlines for construction because of the discovery of archaeological sites.

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Tags: archeologist, archaeologists, archaeology, archaeological, Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, Struma Highway, radomir, excavation, excavations, Ancient Thrace, Thracian, Aneta Bakamska, Lilyana Pavlova, Regional Development Minister, Bozhidar Dimitrov, construction, Hemus Highway, Shumen, Belokopitovo


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