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Bulgarian PM shows the way to treat archaeology
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.

Messages In This Thread
Bulgarian PM shows the way to treat archaeology - by BAJR - 21st January 2012, 09:41 AM

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