rosSına kostova

unıversıty of velıko tarnovo

She completed her Ph.D. at Central European University in 2002; her research centers on Medieval Bulgarian Archaeology, Byzantine Archaeology, Monastic Archaeology, and Medieval archaeology of the Balkans. Since 2019 she has been directing the Department of Archaeology in St. Cyril and St. Methodius University in Veliko Tarnovo. Her projects focus on the Byzantine complexes of Balkans. She has been awarded several scholarships from institutions like the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung Foudation, Central European University, and the American Research Center. Her publications span a vast range of different topics from daily life of monks in Early Medieval Bulgarian Monasteries to tenth-century monastic graffiti.

The monastery of St John the Forerunner on the island of Sveti Ivan near Sozopol

(from the early Byzantine to the Medieval era)

The monastery of St John the Forerunner (Prodromos) is situated on the southern side of the island of Sveti Ivan approximately one mile northwest of Sozopol (ancient Apollonia and medieval Sozopolis). Its history as an imperial and patriarchal monastery is well documented in Byzantine and Greek sources for the period from the mid-13th to the 17th century. It also demonstrates a remarkable example of how written evidence matches an actual archaeological site. The main elements of the monastery excavated until now include two churches (an Early Byzantine basilica and a medieval triconch church), surrounding wall, dwellings and domestic buildings, refectory, kitchen, a large baking oven, and a deep cistern (hagiasma).

Dr. Kostova's talk will summarize the results of the recent archaeological campaigns started in 2008 including a small marble reliquary containing human bones and an inscribed tuff ossuary. The legible sections of the Greek inscription on the ossuary reveal that the bone remains in the marble reliquary may be attributed to John the Baptist. Scientific analysis (AMS radiocarbon dating, DNA testing) of the relics demonstrates a surprising correspondence to the Biblical story and personage of John the Baptist: The bones were all from the same male individual who lived in the early first century AD.

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