Thracian treasures unearthed in Bulgaria

An ancient tomb near the central Bulgarian village of Dabene has yielded a new batch of treasure for archaeologists, one they say rivals the famous site of Troy discovered by Heinrich Schliemann in 1873. Archaeologists in Dabene, which is about 120 kilometers east of Sofia, discovered a grave containing some 15,000 tiny rings and other miniature gold ornaments which are between 4,100 and 4,200 years old, the Associated Press reported recently. The consultant on the excavations, Vasil Nikolov, says the site’s treasure is older than Troy and has more gold ornaments. Most of the artifacts are tiny gold rings boasting such exceptional craftsmanship that details such as where the ring was welded cannot be seen with an ordinary microscope, the AP said. Nikolov says the artisans who made the ornaments were «proto-Thracians» – likely the ancestors of Thracians who lived in what are now parts of Bulgaria, Romania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Greece and Turkey until the 8th century BC, when the invading Slavs took over. The man in the Dabene grave was cremated and covered with a mound of earth, which could mean he hailed from an elite social class, Nikolov told the AP. Bozhidar Dimitrov, director of Bulgaria’s History Museum, insists that this is the largest gold treasure found in Bulgaria apart from the one at the 6,000-year-old Varna necropolis near the Black Sea. The archaeologists say the digs at Dabene will continue in the hope of discovering more important archaeological artifacts. In the last five years, Bulgarian archaeologists have discovered several impressive sites in the central part of the country, now dubbed the «Valley of the Thracian Kings.» On August 19, some archaeologists said they had discovered another great find in Bulgaria – the first Thracian capital, which was located near Karlovo. And in Elhovo, a village in southeastern Bulgaria, archaeologists recently unearthed the grave of a king that yielded several gold and silver ornaments dating from 2400 BC. The tomb contains gold ornaments, including a ring, a laurel wreath and a crown, as well as other treasures such as silver kneecaps, sections of suits of armor, horse ornaments, and many gold, silver and bronze coins. Archaeologists suggested the dead king, who was buried with his two horses and dog, was Orpheus, the mythical hero of Thrace. (Kathimerini, AP)

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