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

III. The legacy of Pliska

    8. Devtashlars and mounds
 

In the immediate surroundings of Pliska there still exist groups of large crude stones, erected in rows or without any order, known under the name of devtashlars. A local legend from the end of the XIX c. attributes their erection to giants and links them to the construction of the old town. The stones set up in rows are always an odd number and the rows are oriented along the principal directions. Isolated stones showing the direction of the sunrise has been found at the eastern side of two groups. Probably, the devtashlars were connected with beliefs and cults of the heavens and the heavenly bodies. Small items and animal bones have been found near some stones. The available data allow to characterise these monuments as commemorative constructions of Proto-Bulgarian notables. Besides Pliska, they have been erected at various places along the way leading to the neighbouring earthen rampart, today at the horse-breeding station Kabijuk.
 
 

Devtashlars from the village of Zlatna niva, Shumen district
SVaklinov, p. 80
Devtashlars to the south of Pliska
 
Devtashlars near Pliska
ZAladzhov, p. 69
 
 ------> External reference: Ziezi's review of devtashlars (in Bulgarian)
 
Three mounds to the north and the west of the stone fortress also belong to this group of monuments. The function of mound XXXII is still not clear. Probably it has not been investigated completely. Mound XXXIII with its thick ash layer and the more than 20 complete clay vessels on its top can be regarded as a commemorative construction. Its additional investigation at various levels found signs of ritual fires. The complete skeleton of a horse, found nearby, is probably connected with the mound. Mound XXXIV, partially studied by K. Skorpil, has been re-investigated in the last years. Its regular, isolated by layers of reeds, beds in its lower half also betray the commemorative character of the monument. The dates and the function of a nunber of large and small mounds along the western side of the earthen rampart remained unclear until recently. The new exacavations showed that the small mounds belong to the Bronze Age. Some of them were re-used in the building of commemorative constructions. Most intriguing, one of its kind, so far, is the 12-metre deep vertical shaft in mound XXII, which at different depths contained two horses and two dogs. At the very top the shaft was “sealed” by a commemorative ritual, containing fragments of clay vessels and bones of various animals. The circular cultic structure at Zlatna niva, situated on the road between Pliska and the camp at Kabijuk, was also linked with similar beliefs and rites.
 
 
Mound No XXXIV Mound No XXXI. Pottery from the burial
SVaklinov, p. 139