Golden Mask of a Thracian king
Archeologists have discovered a 2,400-year-old
golden mask that was likely made for a Thracian monarch's funeral. The mask depicts a full face with moustache and beard. The rare artifact is made of
600 grams of solid gold and "is
without paragon in archeology," according to Georgi Kitov and his team
that unearthed the find in the summer of 2004 near the
village of Shipka, in the so-called Valley of Thracian Kings. The
mask may belong to King Seutus III, the Thracian king who ruled in
the fifth century BC. Besides the mask, archeologists also found a golden ring showing
a rower, and many bronze and silver vessels. No remains have been
found but archeologists continue to excavate the tomb.
While digging for clay for brick-making near the town of Panagyurishte in
Sredna Gora mountain of central Bulgaria, a team of workmen came upon what
was obviously an important
When finally unearthed, it was found to consist of a phial
and eight rhytons, one shaped like an amphora and the others like heads of
women or animals. Dated to the turn of the fourth and third century BC,
the find was sensational, not only for its weight in gold - over 6 kg, but
also for the originality of its forms.
The Rogozen treasure, called the find of the century, was also discovered by chance.
In this case the finder was a tractor driver, who in the autumn of 1985 was digging a trench in his
garden when he discovered a collection of sixty-five silver receptacles.
On January 6,
1986, in a second trench near the first one, a hundred more receptacles
were found by the archaeologists of the local museum. The treasure consists of hundred and eight phials,
fifty-four jugs and three goblets. All the objects are silver and some
with a golden gilt. Their total weight is twenty kilograms.
The ornamentation, embossed in relief, is different in every case. This
variety of motifs and decorative elements makes the Rogozen Treasure an
invaluable source of information for the fifth and fourth centuries,
BC.Several of these pieces seem to had been imported, but most were made
The treasure was discovered by accident on 18 December 1924 by two brothers who were deep-ploughing
their field four kilometers from the village of Vulchitran, Pleven district. The
stumbled across 13 gold objects at a depth of about 40-cm.
It consists of 13 vessels - a large, deep vessel with two
handles, one big and three small cups with one handle
each, two big and five smaller discs. All items are made
of solid gold, the total weight is 12.425 kg. The vessels
were used in cult ceremonies. This treasure is the most
remarkable example of the art of the Later Bronze Age in Thracia (XIII-XII c. BC).
Varna Chalcolithic Necropolis
The Varna Chalcolithic Necropolis which experts qualify as
"the world's oldest gold" and a trace of "Europe's most ancient civilization" was a
sensational discovery. It is situated about 500m to the north of
Lake Varna and about 4 km to the west of the downtown.
In 294 graves were discovered more than 3000 golden objects dating back 6000 years.
In Hall 6 of Varna Museum of History is exhibited the whole inventory from some of
the most significant graves. On both sides of the entrance are represented the
graves with masks of human faces shaped out on spot and appliquéd with gold
plates. The rich variety of funeral utensils going along with the dead is best
illustrated by two of the symbolic graves / No 4 and No 36/. In grave No 4 have
been found two unique vessels where the typical for the time decoration of
strongly stylized geometrical symbols is fulfilled in golden paint.
At the end of December 1974 another treasure, dated from the first
half of the fourth century BC, came to light at Borovo. It
consists of luxurious five-vessel drinking set. Three of them are
rhytons ending in the protomes of a horse, a bull, and a sphinx.
The fourth is a large two-handled bowl in the center of which a deer
attacked by a griffin is depicted in relief. The fifth is a richly
ornamented silver jugglet, with two bands in relief depicting
scenes connected with the cult of Dionysus. On the upper frieze
the god is tearing animals to pieces, and chasing satyrs or being
chased by them. We can see Dionysus with Ariadne, standing out in
a poetic dream. On the lower part the god marries Ariadne, who
unbinds her belt The treasure bears an inscription in Greek
letters with the name of the Thracian King Kotys I who reigned the
Odryssaean Kingdom from 383 to 359 BC and that of the craftsman Etbeos.
The treasure of Loukovit must have been buried in the period of the Macedonian
rule in Thrace, perhaps during the reign of Alexander the Great, when he was crossing the lands of the Tribally.
It was dated to the second half of the fourth century BC.
The treasure consists of three small pitchers, nine phials and a large number of silver appliqués,
decorated with animal motifs and figures of horsemen.
On two of them a lion with gilded mane attacks a stag whose legs are
folded under the body. The artifacts are the work of different craftsmen which
shows that it was brought together gradually and also proves the rich artistic
life in the northern Thracian lands in the fourth century BC.
Vratsa Treasure from Mogilanska Mound
The treasure of Vratsa from
the Mogilanska mound comprised three tombs which were yielded , during 1965-66
excavations in the heart of the city. Two were plundered back in antiquity,
and the third contained a funeral of a man and a woman, one of the richest to
be discovered in Thrace. There are several striking
artifacts among the multitude of gold and silver objects intended to serve the deceased
in the next life. A silver cone-shaped pitcher suggests that the dead were
initiated into the Dionysian cult, since the cone was a symbol of Dionysus.
The gold laurel wreath and earrings show remarkable sophistication and craftsmanship. The
gold pitcher is interesting with its handle fashioned like a Herculean knot
which is right over the plume-ornamented bodies of the two chariots drawn by
four horses each. Since the chariot is always a symbol of the sun god, many
scholars believe that the chariot driver is Apollo - the principle god of the
Tribally. Here a unique knee-piece with a female head figure was found. Knee-pieces
were part of ancient warriors' protective armor and were intended to
protect legs. A perfectly symmetrical, framed by an intricate coiffure and
crowned with a gilded ivy wreath human face covers the kneecap. There are
bird-shaped earrings, with two serpents outlining the face in the background.
In the lower part, their bodies blend into those of roaring lions, whose heads
lock right under the chin. Another two serpents on the knee-piece have
promotes that blend into griffin lions.
Letnitsa treasure dates
back to 400 - 350
BC. It was found in a bronze vessel and like many treasures was an accidental
discovery. It consists of a bit, a headstall and small pierced silver plaques,
part of harness. Each appliqués has a ring on its back, through which the
strap fastening is passed.
What is new about this treasure are the twenty-four square or
rectangular scenes of mythology or of everyday life. For the first time
in these appliqués a human figure is used for a horse trappings
adornment. According to the depicted subject the appliqués may be
divided into two groups: appliqués representing a fight between animals
and others with mythological scenes.