Supreme Court: Bulgaria's Priceless Gold Treasure Is State Property

Society » ARCHAEOLOGY | January 30, 2014, Thursday // 17:24
Supreme Court: Bulgaria's Priceless Gold Treasure Is State Property: Supreme Court: Bulgaria's Priceless Gold Treasure Is State Property The Panagyurishte Golden Thracian Treasure is a major part of Bulgaria's cultural heritage. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's prized Thracian Panagyurishte Gold Treasure is state property, according to a final Supreme Court rule.

The case was tried by a panel of 7 judges on the claim of Stefka Angelova, granddaughter of the eldest of the three brothers who found the antique vessels.

Angelova asked for the treasure to be declared private property.

One of her evidences was a letter issued by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), dated September 24, 2013, asserting that by the time the discovery was made – December 8, 1949 – the land where it was found had not yet been nationalized and was private property.

Angelova has also challenged the listing of the treasure in the inventory book of the Plovdiv museum, saying it was illegal, because in 1949, the then director of the museum has only agreed to safe-keep it temporarily and later seized it.

She also says that the Communist regime never issued an order making the Thracian gold national treasure; moreover the Cultural Heritage Act does not postulate that a national treasure cannot be private property.

According to the magistrates, there is not enough evidence that at the time of the discovery the land was private property. The lower instance has established that at that time a factory that was built on the land has been nationalized and the gold was found by workers who were digging the ground in the brick-manufacturing shop of the nationalized facility.

They reject the BSP letter on grounds it did no add any new circumstances to the case.

The Panagyurishte Gold Treasure was found on December 8, 1949, by three brothers – Pavel, Petko and Michail Deikovi, who worked together at the region of Merul brick and tile factory near the town of Panagyurishte, Bulgaria.

It consists of a phial, an amphora and seven rhytons with total weight of 6.164 kg of 23-karat gold. All of the objects are richly and skilfully decorated with scenes from Thracian mythology, customs and life.

It is dated to the 4th-3rd centuries BC, and is thought to have been used as a royal ceremonial set by the Thracian king Seuthes III.

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Tags: Panagyurishte, gold, Thracian, treasure, Bulgaria, cultural heritage, Supreme Administrative Court, VAS, state, private, property, Discovery, BSP, nationalized
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