Early History of Bulgarian Speleology (1878- 1958)

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<ul><li><p>7/29/2019 Early History of Bulgarian Speleology (1878- 1958)</p><p> 1/4</p><p>EARLY HISTORY OF BULGARIAN SPELEOLOGY(1878-1958)</p><p>LE DEBUT DE LA SPLlOLOGIE BULGARE</p><p>(1878-1958)Alexey ZHALOV</p><p>BFSp - Speleo Club Helictite, 75, V.Levski Blvd., 1000 Sofia, Bulgaria,alex@speleo-bg.com</p><p>Abstrac tThe interest in the country caves began after Bulgarians liberation from Ottoman domination in 1878.They begin with the first biospeleological, archaeological and paleontological explorations made byforeign and Bulgarian scientists. In 1887 the first cave was mapped by K.Shkorpil .The first BulgarianSpeleological Society was founded on March 18,1929 as a result of necessity to set up a publicorganization which would begin the systematic cave exploration. At 1935 the Society had 120 membersorganized in 4 clubs in Sofia, Drianovo, Rakitovo and Lovetch. Organized expeditions and studies were</p><p>carried out in certain caves and Karst regions in Bulgaria. All results obtained by the members of Societywere published in the Bulletin of the Bulgarian Speleological Society" .After 1949 the Society di scontinued its act iv ity for a br ief per iod. On Ju ly 14, 1958 the CentralCommission of Speleology was set up . On 1972, the Commission was transformed into BulgarianFederation for caving and in 1993 to Bulgarian Federation of Speleology, which has continued operatingever since.Key words: caves, karst, speleology, history, Bulgaria,</p><p>RsumLintrt pour les grottes commence aprs la libration de Bulgarie de la domination ottomane en 1878.Des scientifiques bulgares et trangers entreprendent les premires explorations biosplologiques,archologiques et palontologiques. En 1887 est cartographie la premire grotte bulgare par K. korpil.La premire Socit Splolog ique Bulgare ft fonde le 18 Mars 1929, tant le rsultat de la necssi tde crer une organisation publique pour ltude systmatique des grottes. En 1935 la Socit comptait120 membres, organiss en 4 clubes (Sofia, Drianovo, Rakitovo et Lovetch). Des expditions organiseset des tudes scientifiques ont lieu dans certaines grottes et rgions karstiques de Bulgarie. Lesrsultats obtenus par les membres de la Socit ont t publis dans le Bulletin de la SocitSplologique Bulgare.Aprs 1949 la Socit in terrompe ses act iv ites pour une pr iode succ incte. Le 14 Ju il let 1958 uneCommission Centrale de Splologie a t fonde. En 1972 cette Commission a t transforme enFdration bulgare dexploration des grottes et en 1993 en Fdration bulgare de Splologie, activejusqu prsent.Mots-cls: g rottes, karst, speleologie, historie, Bulgarie</p><p>Many caves in the Bulgarian lands are objects forreligious, cognitive or exploration interest for compatriotsand foreigners from the distant past. The studies show, thatthe first written data about the caves in Bulgaria date back</p><p>to 12 c. and can be found in the Nameless passional of St.Ivan of Rila. Up to 1878 in the country and abroad arepublished different reports about the presence of caves inBulgaria and fragmentary descriptions about theirmorphology. Till this moment are still not found data aboutthe undertaking of any special and purposeful cave studies.The only exception is the French traveller G. Lejean, whovisited Bulgaria in 1867 and penetrated in the caveKaylashkata near Pleven. In his book Lejean informs, thaton the wall of the cave Kaylashka he saw hanged uphundreds of birds (i.e. - bats). This is the first knownwritten information about the fauna of the Bulgarian caves.In 1878 the Hungarian zoologist E. Merkl entered in thecaves below the peaks Stoletov and Korudga and collects</p><p>the first two Bulgarian troglobites BURESH (1936). This isthe beginning of the purposeful explorations of the</p><p>Bulgarian caves in general. But the first known explorationof a cave by Bulgarians, undertake the teachers from thetown of Sliven, Central Bulgaria. They organised twospecial expeditions for surveying of the cave "Zmeevi</p><p>doupki", described in details in the local newspaperSuvetnik /N. 17, 1882 BALABANOV (1981). Based on thissource a conclusion could be reach that Zmeevi doupki isthe first Bulgarian cave, situated and located with itsgeographical coordinates.</p><p>The same year Bulgarian scientists for the first timeexplore caves in the country. The pioneer is the founder ofthe modern Bulgarian geology Georgy Zlatarski, who madepalaeontological excavations in Temnata doupka Cave nearKarloukovo vill., Lovetch district in 1882-1883 andreported later ZLATARSKI (1884,1886) about fossil findsfrom a horse and an ox, found in the cave.</p><p>The most important event of the early history ofBulgarian speleology is the exploration of the Emenskata</p><p>Cave near Emen vill.Turnovo district (Fig. 1 ) The cavewas visited and mapped in 1887 by the Check Karel</p>mailto:alex@speleo-bg.commailto:alex@speleo-bg.com</li><li><p>7/29/2019 Early History of Bulgarian Speleology (1878- 1958)</p><p> 2/4</p><p>Shkorpil who was a teacher in Plovdiv, South Bulgaria. Thisis the first known map of the Bulgarian cave found up todate SHKORPIL (1887).</p><p>Fig.1 First known map of Bulgarian cave EmenskataCave- 1887</p><p>The most important speleological event for Bulgaria inthe beginning of 1890s is the carrying out the first</p><p>archaelogical excavations in a cave and relative complexresearches. These studies are undertaken in 1891 by theCroatian S. Yurinich in the cave Polichki near Dryanovomonastery St. Archangel Michail and their results arepublished the same year YURINRCH (1891).</p><p>Till 1895 the famous Bulgarian historian, ethnographerand geographer Vasil Kanchov published more than 10articles with rich and extremely interesting informationabout karst terrains, caves, sinkholes and springs. Forinstance, in ANCHOV (1891) the author describes thesinkholes of the water in the Big Prespas lake and points ofthe presumed underground connection between the lake andthe karst spring near the monastery St. Naum, Ochridregion.</p><p>The same year ( 1895) in Prague, H. and K. Shkorpil</p><p>report for the first time about the karst phenomena inBulgaria SHKORPIL (1895).</p><p>More profound and detailed research is the next book ofthe same authors, published in France "Sources et pertes deseaux en Bulgarie (Springs and sinkholes in Bulgaria)SKORPIL,H.&amp;K. (1898). Here as a result of specific terrainexplorations, in details are described over 100 karstphenomena (uvalas, caves, springs). The edition includesalso 21 figures, which clearly illustrate the hydrogeologicalconnections in the explored karst regions. In the end of1890s the caves attract the attention of the geologist G.Bonchev, whose notebooks contains remarks about hisscience trips (f75, .u. 214), drawings and geologicaldescriptions of the caves Yalovitza, G. Zeliazna and</p><p>Krumovi porti near Shumen, North-East Bulgaria. At thesame time in 1899, Bonchev undertakes the first detailedresearches and archaeological excavations in the caveToplia, G, Zeliazna. The results from the researches arepublished the next year BONCHEV (1900).</p><p>The last year of 19 c in Plovdiv is published theconsecutive book of H. and K. Shkorpil "razhki yavlenia"(Underground rivers, caves and springs) SHKORPIL, H. &amp;K.(1900), which summarises the results of their terrainspeleological researches in Bulgaria of many years. Besidesthe numerous data about the phenomena of the superficialkarst, the caves and karst springs, the work has a theoreticalpart, which includes the characteristics and mechanisms ofthe karst phenomena. The work is illustrated with 30</p><p>drawings, maps and photos. Later the information from thiswork, as well as the published earlier works, become astarting point in the conducting of the following more</p><p>profound researches of the karst and the caves in Bulgaria.The above mentioned materials show that in the end of</p><p>19 Century has already begun the period of premeditated,purposeful cave research in Bulgaria.</p><p>The beginning of 20 c. marks rising interest of theBulgarian scientists in the research of the karst and the</p><p>caves. Priority has their archaeological research and the firstexplorer is R. Popov (1876-1940). Fig. 2</p><p>Fig. Rafail Popov one of the greatest figures of youngBulgarian speleology.</p><p>It is not accidentally because he undertook excavationsin the caves Duhlata, and Malkata near Tarnovo in 1899 and1900. The acquired knowledge and experience R. Popovuses during the next 18 years, when he is the only scientist(excluding I. Stoyanov, Y. Dinov and V.Mikov), whoundertakes excavations and researches in the caves. In thisway is established the beginning of the systematicarchaeological research of the Bulgarian caves, respectively,the beginning of the prehistoric science in the countryPOPOV (1904, 1911a, 1911b, 1913). We must underline that</p><p>Popov is the first explorer, who carries out cave surveys anduse them as a basis of their further excavations. 22 maps ofthe cave explored by him ( dating from 1907-1938)officially published later, were found in the ScientificArchive of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.</p><p>When we mention I. Stoyanov and V.Mikov , it isnecessary to pay attention to his complex researches of thecaves. The first one explore Toplia Cave, near village G.Zeliazna, Lovetch region in 1900. He made in ithydrogeological, archaeological, palaeonthological andmicroclimatic researches as well measurements of the karstspring below the cave. Actually, the results present the firstin the history of the Bulgarian speleology monographicwork about a cave of 68 printed pages, richly illustrated</p><p>(Stoyanov, 1904). Here one can see the first published cavemap in Bulgaria.Vassil Mikov was Popovs student and continued the</p><p>archaeological exploration of Bulgarian caves. In the periodbefore and after founding of Bulgarian SpeleologicalSociety he made excavations in more than 20 caves andpublished all obtained data. ZHALOV&amp;STAMENOVA ( 2004).</p><p>Rafail Popov has significant contribution also to thedevelopment of speleo-paleontology, which has made itsfirst steps at the end of 19 C. During the excavations hediscovered and described in details some species and genusof mamals which was published in his basic work "Fossiland subfosil remains in the explored caves in Bulgaria up tonow" from 1936. There are presented data about 22 speciesmammals from the Pleistocene, discovered in 12 caves and22 species Holocene mammals from 11 caves. At the sametime are discovered also bone remains of the prehistoric</p></li><li><p>7/29/2019 Early History of Bulgarian Speleology (1878- 1958)</p><p> 3/4</p><p>Homo sapiens.Parallel with the archaeologists, in the speleological</p><p>researches took part also the geologists, petrographers andgeographers.</p><p>For the scientists from the first two trends, the karst andthe caves are not objects of special interest, but the specific</p><p>of their work requires full and exact localisation, spreading,description and geochronological dating of the rocks,including those which are liable to karst processes. In thecourse of terrain researches were described also the variousphenomena of the surface and underground karst - uvalas,ponors (sinkholes), caves and karst springs.</p><p>The most productive karst explorers for the period arethe geologists Prof. G. Bonchev, Prof. G. Zlatarski and Prof.An. Ishirkov. Without doubt the most significantcontribution on the research of the karst in the given periodhas Prof. Z. Radev. Within 4 years (1911-1914) heresearches in details the West Stara Planina (The BalkanRange Mountain) and later he puts together the results in hisresearch work for academic degree qualification "rstshapes in West Stara Planina", which is published as amonography RADEV (1915). his classic work containsprofound morphological analysis of the karst regions in themountain, maps and descriptions of 12 caves. It can bestated for sure that the work of Z. Radev is current todayand has its important place in the Bulgarian karstologicalliterature. The careful reading of the published authorsmaterials shows that they consist numerous descriptions ofsurface karst shapes, a list of names for many caves andkarst springs, detailed descriptions about the spreading ofkarstificated sediments and metamorphic rocks, whichpresent a solid basis for more profound researches of theunderground karst.</p><p>In small number are the known researches in otherspheres, connected to the speleology. Some of them, like the</p><p>morphology studies of the cave calcite crystals in theregions of Lovetch, Teteven and Troyan BONCHEV (1923)and the work of the botanist Iv. Stranski (1917) and theProf. St.Petkov ( the first president of BulgarianSpeleological Society) PETKOV (1943) put the beginning ofspeleomineralogy and speleobotanics in our country.</p><p>As we already noted, the biospeleological reseraches inBulgaria begin in 1878. Only in 1909, Bulgaria was visitedfrom foreign specialists of Coleopterology - F. Rambousekand Fr. Netolitzky, who explore two other Bulgarian caves.</p><p>In 1922 acad. Dr. Ivan Buresh the Director of theRoyal Natural Research Institutes puts the beginning of thesystematic biospeleological studies in the country. Till 1929he and his team of enthusiastic collaborators carry out 117</p><p>documented penetrations in 78 caves in total, apart from thenumerous visited smaller sites, where was not found anyfauna. In this period they manage to find in Bulgaria anddescribe independently or with the cooperation of manyEuropean scientists, 40 species of animals in total, amongthem 31 troglobite cave animals. In this way, the collectedmaterials in the Royal Natural History Museum in Sofiaput the beginning of a special collection, named CaveFauna - Fauna cavernicola". At the same time this group ofscientists put the beginning of a register of the visited caves,which location is put on geographic map of Bulgaria in ascale 1:600 000. Parallel to the biospeleological study of thecave, this enthusiastic team works contributes also to thegeneral exploration of our underground karst.</p><p>In 1924 the archaeologist V. Mikov is accompanied by</p><p>the Chech speleologist K. Novak, which penetrates in theabyss Bezdannia Pchelin ( near Yablanitza, West</p><p>Bulgaria) till the depth - 69 m and makes a map of this partof the pothole. V. Mikov writes in this occasion: Up tothis depth the descending was possible, but because theshort ladder we have (70 m), the reaching of the bottom,which was 23 m below, was unthinkable. In fact, this is thefirst documented descending in a pit till such depth.</p><p>Eng. P. Petrov and co-workers undertake theexploration of the numerous river caves in Lovetch andSofia regions using specially constructed by him woodenboats. (Fig.2) In this way, in 1924, after many efforts isfinally studied and mapped the Devetaki cave, and in 1926 the cave Temnata dupka near railway station Lakatnik in theriver Iskar defile in West Bulgaria. (Fig.3)</p><p>The first Bulgarian Speleological Society is founded onMarch 18, 1929 as a result of the necessity to set up a publicorganization which, under the conditions prevailing at thattime, would carry out systematic investigation of the caves,protecting them from destruction and setting the beginningsof cave tourism. The founders of the Society are eminentBulgarian sci...</p></li></ul>