The Karanovo Settlement Mound is situated at the foot of the last branches of Sarnena Gora, in the northwestern part of the village of Karanovo, about 10 km from the town of Nova Zagora. It covers an area of 24 decares. The mound was discovered during excavations in the 1950s and is one of the oldest in Europe.
The mound is of the so-called. village mounds that abound in Bulgaria. Karanovo is one of the largest in Bulgaria. It is 13 meters high, 250 meters long and 150 meters wide. The mound, although excavated only partially (about 1700 square meters), represents much of its archaeological treasure. Thanks to the study of the 12,40-meter cultural layers, the stratigraphic profile of the prehistoric settlement (the sequence in the formation of the layers) were studied, the culture of the individual strata was periodized and the Karanovo chronological system was created. Here are all the prehistoric epochs – from the New Stone to the Bronze including. All exhibits found in it are displayed in museums in Sofia and Nova Zagora.
The mound has been inhabited for about 3000 years.
Archaeological excavations have been held here since 1936, and since 1984 they have been with international participation, together with Salzburg University, Austria. Here is a circular seal, which, according to archaeologists, contains the first phases of writing in general. The print has a diameter of 6 cm and is 2 cm thick. It is engraved in ancient European style and is therefore supposed to have been a sign of prestige, given for special merits and probably used in religious ceremonies.
1.3 km to the northeast of the village there is a fortified village, a public building – a basilica and a mound necropolis, consisting of 16 mounds (Long, East, Birnikova, etc.). Excavations of this archaeological site continued from 1976 to 1998 with some interruptions.
In 2008, a team of archaeologists conducted a study of the Eastern Mound from the necropolis. The mound has an elliptical shape with a diameter of 63-77 m and is oriented on its long axis north-south. The height of the mound is 11 m in the northern part and 14 m in the south. In 2009, the archaeologists find here one of the most interesting and important finds in the region – a vaulted tomb with a burial chamber (dimensions 3 x 4 m). The funeral is quite rich – two silver cups with images of Eros god, unique glass vessels, martial arts, coins, silver fiberglasses and gold rings were found. It is believed that a rich Thracian aristocrat was buried in the tomb, and the funeral took place in the 1st century AD.
There is also a four-wheeled chariot, with a team of two horses and a dog. It features a large wheel size of 1.20 m in diameter and is made of leather, wood and bronze. Impressive is the decoration of bronze appliqués on the basket of the car. The yoke and harnesses of the horses are even more richly decorated. Visitors to the Eastern Mound can see the original Thracian chariot and an exact copy of the bronze appliqués that are located at the site of the discovery.
In the Eastern Mound are also found silver cups with gilt and clay stumps, as well as other objects representing the provincial Roman art.