The Round Stone Ground and the Chronology of Pliska

The research of Pliska, one of the largest earlymedieval urban centers in Europe, began in 1889. After 130 years of excavation, the first Bulgarian capital still has many surprises. One of them is the site called the Round Stone Place, discovered in 2005. This monument occupies an area of one hectare in the Palace center of the city. The so-called Arena has an elliptical shape; it is dug at a depth of one meter from the medieval level and is surrounded by a wooden fence. The whole area is covered with 4448 stone slabs. There are traces of a monumental tribune along the northern periphery. The pavement was laid out in the middle of the 9th century and has been used throughout the 10th century. At the end of the 10th century, the stone pavement was cautiously covered up with a 30-cm layer of black soil, carefully leveled, it then ceased to be used. There have been some rituals on this place, as the traces of the broken pottery and animals bones suggest, which is one of the proofs of the cult character of the newly discovered monument. The architectural features of the site – dug and fenced – provoke yet another explanation for its function – it could had been also used as a gaming facility that should exist in a big town like Pliska. Excavations of this site include some of the most interesting finds discovered in Pliska.