Pensées et observations à l'occasion des fouilles archéologiques recentes à la grande laure aux pieds de Tzarevetz à Veliko Tirnovo. Tours rondes et passages souterrains aux fortifications médiévales

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N. C. Moutsopoulos


This study concerns certain observations and comparisons made by the
author in the course of a recent visit to the excavations at Veliko Tärnovo
and his discussion and exchange of views with Professor Athanas Popov,
who is in charge of the excavations. The wall which protects the monastery complex on the side facing the nearby River Jantra is fortified at intervals by semicircular towers, which reveal many common features with similar towers in Ohrid and Kastoria and with another semicircular tower recently excavated by the writer at Ředina. In the context of this examination of semicircular fortifying towers, the author also ventures a typological classification (fig. 10) and comparative dating. A staircase ends at one of the square towers in the fortification system of the Great Laura at Veliko Tärnovo. The staircase was evidently roofed at one time with a (barrel?) vault and was used for pumping water out of the interior of the tower (fig. 3), which, in this instance, also functioned as a filter system for the river water. The author recently excavated a similar, but more intricate and complex system in the fortified Byzantine settlement at Ředina, 75 kms north-east of Thessaloniki (near the mouth of the River Strymon) (fig. 7-9). The author also takes this opportunity to mention the underground passages which frequently accompanied city fortifications from the Mycenaean period onwards and which until a short time ago were known only through the legends which are frequently attached to the ruins of medieval fortifications.

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