Pliska - 100 years of archaeological excavations
R. Rashev, Ya. Dimitrov
 

III. The legacy of Pliska

    12. Symbols
 

Geometric and runic-like symbols have been cut into the building blocks, especially those dating from the pagan period. [30] Some of the symbols had been incised at the quarries, when the blocks were hewn, or immediately before their placing into the walls, because there are symbols found in their hidden/inner surfaces. Others were put on the frontal surfaces. They are also found cut into the plates of the sarcophaguses at the Large Basilica, into clay vessels (prior or after their firing), on items of bone and metal. Most famous among them is the bronze seven-rayed rosetta from the reservoir. [31]
 

The bronze rosette with symbols from the Large reservoir. ZAladzhov, p. 26-27
 

ZAladzhov, p. 63
 
Rarely, two or three symbols occur together, but most common are the single symbols. The symbol IYI, which was popular during the Christian period at Preslav, is only one of the many symbols current during the pagan period at Pliska, although IYI predominates in some buildings (building 32). Their meaning and origin are not known with certainty. Most probably, they had magical-protective function. Amongst them there are signs similar to the tamgas of the nomadic steppe peoples and to the Sarmatian symbols of the northern Pontic area. Others can be connected with the Greek script. Still others resemble the Old Turkic runic signs, but it can hardly mean that they are remains of some ancient abandoned (and even less actively used) Proto-Bulgarian runic script.


Stone block with runic symbols from the village of Bjala, Varna district. VBeshevliev, p. 200


Proto-Bulgarian symbols found on stone elements of constructions. NTjuleshkov, p. 140
 

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30. The symbols know by 1975 were included in the collection of DONCHEVA-PETKOVA L. Znaci vurhu arheologicheski pametnici ot srednovekovna Bulgariya VII-X vek. S., 1980. For a systematisation of the symbols from the imposing buildings together with the newly found examples see: DIMITROV YA. Znaci ot zidovete na monumentalnite postroyki v Pliska. Pliska-Preslav 6, 1993, p. 69-78.

31. VAKLINOV S. Ein Denkmal runischen Schrittums Pliskas. Studia in honorem Vesselini Besevliev. Sofia 1978, p. 245-254.