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Shumen Fortified Walls

7,000-year-old defensive walls in Bulgaria

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Shumen is a city in Bulgaria that has existed since the Iron Age. The name is thought to have come from the Bulgarian word ‘shuma’, which means forest. The first fortified stone wall surrounding the city was known to be made in 1200 BC and had a thickness of about two meters.

However, in the last two months archaeological excavations have discovered the remains of a 7,000-year-old defensive wall in a nearby village which is five meters tall and made of clay holding the rocks together. This is the oldest fortified wall that has been found in Europe.

The village that the fortified wall protected had been inhabited for several centuries and the village seems to have been the target of many attacks which justifies the defence system built around it. It was probably the stronghold of many warlords that lived in the surrounding area. Multiple artefacts were found at the site including decorative items and jewellery made of marble and jade, as well as military equipment.

In some parts the wall has collapsed probably as a result of an earthquake damaging nearby homes.

It is not the first time that ancient fortification walls have been found in Bulgaria. Last year, in a town near Provadia, stone fortification walls dating back to 4,700 and 4,200 BC were discovered, claiming to be Europe’s oldest town. However the walls discovered recently date further back in time, making them the oldest fortifications to have every been found in Europe.

By John Black

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