History from the Closet

Do you searched your closet soon? There are many covered with dust books, antiques, scrolls. Let's open them. Let's see what we can find.

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Location: Balkans, New Europe

Friday, February 18, 2005

The Gold Wreath Mystery

Year 2004 was a busy one for Bulgarian archaeologists. I'll share with you some events that caught my attention in the late Summer and Autumn of 2004. The archaeological expedition TEMP dug into some mounds in the so called Valley of the (Thracian) Kings. As far as what I intend to write will be as some kind of log it will split probably in several separate articles.

Well, after a short report in a mid of July that a new tomb with the bones of a Thracian leader has been uncovered, a new August discovery became a news sensation:

Bulgarian archaeologists have unearthed a 2,500-year-old gold mask believed to image the face of an ancient Thracian king.

The gold mask is believed to depict King Seutus III, a 5th century BC leader of the Thracians, the dispersed tribes who once lived in parts of what is now modern-day Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia, Turkey and Greece.

According to Georgi Kitov the mask "has no comparison in the world" and it can prove even more significant discovery than the mask of King Agamemnon, the Greek hero described by Homer in the Iliad. It's one of the most famous images of Greek antiquity, and the centerpiece of the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.

The Mask of Agamemnon, a centerpiece exhibit in the National Archeological Museum in Athens, was made of gold foil and weighs only 60 grams, while the Thracian royal mask weighs 690 grams and is of solid gold.


Beautiful, isn't it? It seemed that the good news finished at this very point. Let me quote from the second article:

It was sheer chance of luck that the mask was unearthed by Kitov's team as local treasure hunters have proved to be real competitors to the archaeologists, digging and plundering mounds and suspected treasure forays in hunt of ancient artifacts.

Just a night after the news of the mask's discovery rocked the world, the site of the excavations was savagely attacked and many of the equipment were ruined. It came once again to alarm about the threat of drainage of Bulgaria's ancient treasures abroad because of the scarce finances and poor security guard over historic sites waiting to be excavated and researched.

But this is another story, worth for a site like Balkan Signs, as many other alternative news sites, which every day try to see the reality we live in, as it is...

Anyway, the Summer of 2004 already passed, when other discoveries entered the picture. But they will be told about next time. Stay tuned!

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