Plundering the Past - SBS ONE



David O'Shea travels to Bulgaria, and discovers that the country's rich archaeological history is severely under threat. Ratsiaria was one of the richest and most important centres in the Roman empire, but has now been turned into a wasteland by illegal treasure hunters who devastate the landscape digging for priceless artefacts. The buried Roman settlement in the north-western Vidin province could have been a tourist attraction to rival those in Italy and Greece, but David finds there's not a tourist in sight where holes scar the countryside. The looters, often backed by powerful mafia, are fuelling a black market trade, where artefacts are sold to museums and private collections for huge sums. But most of the treasure hunters have been unemployed since the fall of communism in 1989, and many claim that digging for artefacts is their only option.