© Region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace
On an elevation near the modern settlement of Kirki, an open-air prehistoric Thracian sanctuary was found with a retaining wall, while several megalithic worship monuments of the Menhir type were traced in the wider forest area. A rock with engraved motifs is exhibited in the Komotini Archaeological Museum.
In the wider area northeast of the village of Kirki, a necropolis of the ancient Thracian tribe of the Ciconians was also found dating from the 11th to the 6th centuries BC. The necropolis contains 20 graves/niches carved on rocks as well as cavities over and around the graves, used for depositing offerings to the dead. Some of these carved graves/niches are very spacious and maybe they were destined to serve for massive burials, while the graves on the western side of the necropolis have different shapes and it is possible that other members of the same family were buried there. The smaller graves were probably used for the interment of children. No bones, pottery sherds or items of any kind were found in the graves because they were plundered in the antiquity or destroyed by animals. As a consequence, scholars assumed that these monuments date from the 11th to the 6th centuries, bearing in mind not only the bibliographical research but also the uncovering of similar grave types in Bulgaria. It is also possible that these burial customs persisted in later times. The discovery of these rock-cut graves, apart from the already known cist graves of Mesembria and Maroneia, apparently changed the archaeological knowledge on the burial customs in the region of Thrace during the Early Iron Age.
The most important find from the necropolis is the anthropomorphic carving of a grave/niche that lies rather far from the rest of the necropolis’ graves. On the top and at the centre of the rock, between the two niches, there is a small cavity for liquid offerings as well as a third one on the right side of the right niche for depositing solid offerings to the buried dead. The grave might have belonged to an important person, perhaps to a dead Thracian “hero” of the Ciconian tribe. The representation of the grave recalls the chthonic deity of the rock, the Mother goddess, who receives the dead hero into her bowels. Close to the grave was found an “altar rock” carved in the shape of a table with a flat surface that served for the performance of rituals.
The necropolis is very important to the investigation of the culture, the burial rituals and the religion of the Thracian Ciconians.