Alexander Peev was born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, on May 4th, 1986, and was executed by the fascist Bulgarian Authorities in Sofia, on November 22nd, 1943. He was a renowned revolutionary resistance leader, and an amateur archaeologist (who pioneered research into the Sitovo inscriptions). Bulgaria was one of a number of Eastern European countries that openly collaborated with Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany, and avidly participated in the application of Nazi racial and sexual purity laws. This meant that Hitler was able to apply the holocaust’s ‘Final Solution’ to Bulgaria’s Jewish, Romany, Homosexual, Disabled and Socialist populations with little official resistance. Alexander Peev was arrested on suspicion of being a Soviet spy – because he actively ‘resisted’ his government’s cooperation with Nazi Germany, he was sentenced to death. However, the circumstances surrounding his execution are a little odd.
In May, 1928, lumber-jacks working near the village of Sitovo (situated near the city of Plovdiv), stumbled upon an unknown script etched onto a cave wall. These labourers thought that there might be treasure in the area, and started digging randomly in the ground. As word spread, the area become inundated for a time with treasure-seekers, but the unknown script attracted the attention of Alexander Peev – an amateur archaeologist. People thought that perhaps valuables had been hidden when Bulgaria was invaded by the Romans, and later the Turks. As this was an important historical find, the Secretary of the Archaeological Society – Alexander Peev – immediately sent an expedition into the mountains. If Thracian (or even Celtic), the inscription could be thousands of years old (perhaps dating to 3,000 BCE or any-time after), suggesting that it could be one of the oldest known scripts ever discovered in Europe.
Alexander Peev described the inscription in the following manner:
‘After a careful examination of the southern walls of the cave (which are almost sheer rock), we found that about two meters from the floor was carved a smooth polished rectangular area with a width measuring 23 to 30 cm, and a length of 260 cm. Upon this prepared surface was carved some mysterious signs. Without a doubt, the inscription is made by the hand of man. The signs resemble the so-called runes used by the old Germanic peoples before you fall under the cultural influence of Rome … The eastern wall of the cave is a huge block of stone. Here we also found the inscription 23 cm height and 80 cm in length.’
For years, Alexander Peev was the only academic working on trying to identify and decipher these unusual letters. Despite his best efforts, he could not ascertain whether the symbols were ancient Celtic, Thracian, Phrygian or Slavic in origination – as they certainly did not appear to be Roman. He also considered that the marks might be random and have no meaning at all. However, despite involving the Bulgarian academic community in the investigation of this find, Alexander Peev also worked against the Bulgarian fascist authorities, collecting intelligence about Bulgarian fascist activities and conveying this information to the Soviet Union. However, his undoing appears directly linked to the Sitovo Script, as he was arrested after sending an example of this text to Soviet archaeologists, in the hope that they could decipher its meaning. The Bulgarian fascist authorities mistakenly thought that the Sitovo Script was a ‘secret’ code used to communicate with the USSR – and summarily sentenced Alexander Peev to death by firing squad in 1943. After the war, when Bulgaria was ‘liberated’, Alexander Peev’s work on the Sitovo Script was finally published, and for his service against fascism, he was post-humorously awarded the Order of Lenin, and the Order of Georgi Dimitrov.
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