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Bulgarian PM shows the way to treat archaeology - Printable Version

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Bulgarian PM shows the way to treat archaeology - BAJR - 21st January 2012

From the Sofia Echo


If in generations to come, archaeologists excavate the highways that Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov is so keen to build and find fascinating relics beneath, they will have both Borissov and their 21st century colleagues to thank.

Borissov?s tetchiness about what he sees as the tardiness of archaeologists working on sites at the Hemus and Strouma motorways dates back some time, and has been shared by Regional Development Minister Liliana Pavlova, Culture Minister Vezhdi Rashidov and Finance Minister Simeon Dyankov.

The Government leaders shared their gripes at a Cabinet meeting in December, accusing the archaeologists of sabotage and blackmail ? and with Dyankov expressing bemusement that funding for archaeology had been stepped up, but the pace of work had not.

At the end of December, archaeologists held a news conference, underlining that they had taken offence at Pavlova?s use of the word "sabotage".

Borissov, who makes something of a pastime of in-person inspections of progress on motorways, headed off to see for himself in early January, and his bulldozer approach made headlines.

At the Strouma site, archaeologists dug in their heels, telling Borissov that it was too cold for work to proceed.

Emilia Velinova of Pernik History Museum sought to explain that exposing the remains of the sixth century CE tomb at the Dolna Dikanya ? Doupnitsa site to cold could damage it. "It?s a tomb, not a barn," she said.

But the reservations of archaeologists got short shrift from a visibly irritated Borissov. He told them to get heaters and put on quilted jackets, put up tents and work in the cold "like all other workers do".

If necessary, Borissov said, "Lilly Pavlova will come and hold an umbrella".

Pavlova, while making no specific commitment regarding the umbrella-holding aspect of her regional development and public works portfolio, backed up her boss in criticising the unsatisfactory pace of work. The archaeologists should work in parallel with the construction process, not to hold up work, she said.

Borissov said that unless the project ran to schedule, with completion of the stretch by the end of June, EU funds could be lost.

Bulgarian PM shows the way to treat archaeology - deadlylampshade - 21st January 2012

You've missed the bit off where the archaeologists have been given the extra money they needed to get on with it...:face-thinks:

"Results at an inspection of the Hemus highway were better, from Borissov?s point of view.

Arriving on January 15, accompanied by Pavlova, Transport Minister Ivailo Moskovski and National History Museum director Bozhidar Dimitrov, Borissov told archaeologists at the site that unless work speeded up, European Unions funds could be forfeit.

At the site, in an area near the town of Shoumen, Borissov asked for a date when the archaeologists could finish what they were doing.

"We'll give you whatever money you need for your studies, only work faster, so we can finish the highway," Borissov said, quoted by Bulgarian National Radio.

Provided that the archaeologists did not hold up the works with their studies, the new stretch of motorway would be completed by September 2012, he said. The archaeologists told him that their preliminary studies could be completed within a month without stopping the building of the motorway.

Borissov promised them additional money ? a sum of 350 000 leva, as they asked, equipment and workers to make sure the deadline was met.

The plan for the preliminary archaeological research at the Hemus sites would be sent to the Road Infrastructure Agency within the following week, Bulgarian National Radio said on January 15.

Archaeological work is being done at about seven sites on a 2.5km stretch. The new section has a total length of 7.8km. "