While it’s questionable to use the word “giant” until its actual height is verified, archeologists in Bulgaria are making no bones about saying that a 4th century skeleton found during an excavation in downtown Varna is “huge.”
The current Black Sea city of Varna was once the ancient Greek and Roman city of Odessos, which dates back to the 7th century BCE. The so-called Varna culture predates the city, with a necropolis found in 1972 containing graves, pottery and jewelry from around 4100 BCE. Odessos later became a Roman city and contains the fourth-largest known Roman baths in Europe.
The archeologists were digging near St. Nikolay Church, near where a 5th century earthen jar was found in January 2015. They had recently uncovered a previously unknown part of the Odessos fortress wall and that’s where they found the huge skeleton, according to Valeri Yotov, a member of the excavation team.
As we started to uncover the ancient fortress wall, we started asking ourselves a lot of questions, and, of course, we had to keep digging to reach the wall’s foundations. That’s how we stumbled upon the skeleton.
Yotov described the size of the skeleton as “impressive” and believed this was “a very tall man.”
Why was this huge man buried at the fortress wall? Yotov speculates that he may have been working on the construction of the wall – a good job for someone who apparently didn’t need a ladder or a lever – and was possibly injured or killed in a work accident or during a ceremony. Because he was found with his hands laid on his waist and head pointing east, it is believed the large worker was buried purposefully rather than just dumped in a construction pit and covered with dirt.
A huge man is found buried alone in a ceremonial manner at the wall of a 4th century fortress. Were the people of Odessos thanking him for his work? Were they hoping he would protect the city from beyond? Or was this odd giant of a man something more? We may learn the answer as the excavation continues.