Unique Thracian Symbol of Royalty Discovered in Bulgaria

Society | June 11, 2007, Monday // 00:00

Archaeologists have discovered the most ancient ruler's symbol on Bulgarian territory, what was once the kingdom of the Thracian tribes.

The Bulgarian archaeologists Daniela Agre and Deyan Dichev, who are leading the Strandzha expedition, made the announcement for the exceptional finding on the Bulgarian National Radio on Monday.

The artifact was unearthed near the village of Golyam Dervent. Dichev and Agre were researching a dolmen (dolmens were the first Thracian tombs) when they noticed a frieze of intertwined zoomorphic and geometrical elements carved on the entrance of the tomb. The most interesting part of the discovery is the double-axe (labris) - a symbol of power in the Thracian society - placed inside a circle. The labris has lots of additional ornamentation on it, Dichev said. The frieze includes the images of snakes, which were the symbol of the king in the Thracian religious beliefs.

This is the first time when such an artifact is found on the territory, where Thracian tribes have lived in the 9-8th BC.

The ladris had later become the symbol of the king dynasty of the of the Odris tribes, which is the most powerful state organization in the second half of the firs millennium before Christ.
The appearance of this symbol three centuries earlier shows that organizing a state has started on this territory first.

Two years ago archaeologists found similar symbol of royalty on the entrance of a neighboring dolmen. There is no doubt that these two dolmens were the tombs of a mighty clan of rulers and priests, who lived around the end of the 9th to the end of 8th century BC.

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