Archeologists discover a well-preserved Roman statue in an ancient sewer in Bulgaria


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Archeologists have discovered a well-preserved statue in an ancient sewer in Bulgaria, and it is believed to date back to the 2nd century A.D. The team, lead by Dr. Lyudmil Vagalinski, says the statue likely depicts the ancient Greek god Hermes and is the first of its kind found in Bulgaria.

The statue was discovered during the team’s third day of excavations in Heraclea Sintica, an ancient city on the slope of the volcanic hill Kozhuh near Petrich, according to a post on the group’s Facebook page. 

Vagalinski and the Petrich Historical Museum have been leading excavations of this area since 2007 and found the urban city was modern for its time and built with great elegance, according to the official tourism site for the area. 

Bulgarian archaeologists find marble god in ancient Roman sewers
An archaeologist stands next to a marble statue, uncovered at the site of the remains of the ancient city of Heraclea Sintica, near the village of Rupite, Bulgaria, July 5, 2024.

Spasiyana Sergieva/REUTERS


The newly discovered statue stands taller than 6’5”, Vagalinski said in a social media post. The archaeologists say the statue matches others that depict Hermes, but very few similar statues are preserved in the world and many are missing their heads. 

During the Roman Empire, Christianity became the official religion and pagan symbols like these deities were banned. The archeologists believe people buried statues like this one, which is a Roman copy of a Greek statue, to preserve them, according to Reuters. 

Vagalinski said on social media the town’s former inhabitants may have put the statue in dirt after an earthquake hit the area.

Bulgarian archaeologists find marble god in ancient Roman sewers
An archaeologist sits next to a marble statue, uncovered at the site of the remains of the ancient city of Heraclea Sintica, near the village of Rupite, Bulgaria, July 5, 2024.

Spasiyana Sergieva/REUTERS


The team posted several images from different intervals of their dig. They believe the statue was carved from an entire marble block by a master sculptor. A plan was in place to lift the ancient artifact with a crane and transport it to the Petrich Museum and display it after it is restored. 

CBS News has reached out to Vagalinski for more information.



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