Archeologists, Police Hit Headlines over Gold Treasure

Novinite Insider » EDITORIAL | October 5, 2004, Tuesday // 00:00

By Ivelina Puhaleva

Just a month after Bulgarian land left the world perplexed at the unique gold-lump mask from Shipka, the expedition of Dr Georgi Kitov revealed another ancient wonder believed to be the oldest and largest Thracian tomb discovered so far.

The three-chamber edifice has made the team of Kitov's expedition dumbfound not only with its intact construction, but also with the invaluable treasure found inside.

A total of 74 artifacts, including 20 Thracian-made of pure gold, saw broad daylight nearly 2,500 years after being earthed for the convenience of an obviously wealthy and powerful man.

Archeologists said that the gold wreath of the Golyamata Kosmatka mound tomb depicting oak leaves and acorn nuts is one of the kind known to scientists from Thracian times.

An exquisite gold vessel designed for drinking wine appeared to be decorated with domestically modified ornaments otherwise typical for the art of the day. It is only the third to complete the collection of merely another couple of similar artifacts unearthed earlier this year in excavations near Vratsa, north-west Bulgaria, and the Shipka-nearby mound of Svetitsata (The Saint).

Besides the golden wreath, golden horse trappings and sword decorations were among the most impressive objects of the treasure. There were also silver and bronze jewels as well as crafted ceramics, including three big wine amphoras, many of which had posed sensation to modern researchers of Thracian history.

The tomb has been unearthed from beneath the Golyama Kosmatka mound, in the outskirts of the Shipka Peak.

The archeological team's head Georgi Kitov, called also Bulgaria's "Indiana Jones" explained that the excavations have revealed a 13-metre long passage and two halls walled up with stones behind the faзade.

The tomb has amazed archeologists with its first-of-the-kind doors made of marble and decorated with human figures, iron nail imitations and blue-end-red sculptural ornaments.

Further on, the first chamber showed up in a rectangular and vaulted form where a horse skeleton was found.

The gold-hiding chamber is made of one single monolite stone lump and archeologists are wondering how ancient Thracians have managed to move this 60-tones piece to the site of tomb.

Hitting yet for another time the headlines, the work of Kitov's team stirred media attention with unexpected and unprecedented clash between archeologists and special police forces sent to the excavations site after personal order by the country's top policeman, General Lieutenant Boyko Borisov.

Taking into account earlier incidents with robbers' assaults on sites already proved to hide ancient treasures, Georgi Kitov called on police to provide for the security of the excavations and the findings. However, the archeologists themselves occurred to be the first suspected in smuggling artifacts.

Was it for the security of treasure of national historic importance, or for an ostentatious media-attracting action that the police sealed the handful of archeologists inside the tomb in pitch-dark night and search them even stricter than criminals?

No doubt, the security of such findings demands for utmost measures, but it would not cost much to pay those brave and selfless people devoted to Bulgaria and its history the minimum of respect and decent attitude by official institutions.

Otherwise, it is worth praising the official efforts to save Bulgarian history's treasures from secretive attempts of smugglers and consciousness-striped treasure hunters and collectors.

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