Landslide Threatens Tomb of Ancient Thracian King Seuthes III, Bulgarian Archaeologists Alarm
The tomb of Seuthes III, King of the Ancient Thracian Odryssian Kingdom, located near the towns of Kazanlak and Shipka in Central Bulgaria is threatened by a landslide, the director of the Kazanlak Museum of History, Dr. Momchil Marinov, has alarmed.
The impressive tomb of Ancient Thracian King Seuthes III, which was discovered in 2004 on the Golyama Kosmatka Mount near the king’s capital Seuthopolis by late Bulgarian archaeologist Georgi Kitov, has now been closed for visitors.
Its 13-meter corridor leading up to the main space of the tomb has been threatened by a landslide probably triggered by the recent torrential rains, Marinov says, as cited by Darik Radio – Stara Zagora.
The report cites experts and participants in the excavations of Seuthes III’s tomb at the Golyama Kosmatka Mound claiming that back in 2004 archaeologist Diana Dimitrova (wife of late archaeologist Georgi Kitov) urged a different setup of the protective structure above the tomb precisely because of the risk of landslides.
The protective structure above Seuthes III’s tomb was built with funding from the Bulgarian government in 2005.
A 2-meter subsidence of the soil above the tomb’s main corridor that might create a serious threat to the ancient artifacts kept there.
The landslide started to emerge at the beginning of 2015 leading the museum authority to close the tomb for visitors; it was opened only on Bulgaria’s national holiday, March 3, when it was visited by about 300 tourists but has been closed once again ever since.
The director of the Kazanlak Museum of History is quoted as saying that he has taken the respective measures. The tomb has been monitored and the artifacts are safe; the only potential danger is for any visitors.
“That is exactly why we have closed down the tomb for tourists,” Marinov says, adding that it will not be reopened until the visitors’ safety is 100% guaranteed.
Bulgaria’s Ministry of Culture has been notified about the issue, and is expected to send experts who are going to decide on the emergency on how to strengthen the protective structure above Seuthes III’s tomb.
Update as of March 21, 2015: The tomb has been inspected by experts from Bulgaria’s Culture Ministry who have said they will ask the government for emergency funding for its rehabilitation.
The Thracians were an ethno-cultural group of Indo-European tribes inhabiting much of Southeast Europe from about the middle of the second millennium BC to about the 6th century AD on the territory of modern-day Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Greece, Turkey, Macedonia, Serbia.
The Odrysian Kingdom is a union of Thracian tribes dominated by the tribe of the Odrysians (also known as Odrysea or Odrusai bearing the name of a mythical ruler, Odryses or Odrisis, (ca. 715 – ca. 650 AD), was the most powerful state of the Ancient Thracians. It existed from the unification of many Thracian tribes by a single ruler, King Teres, in the 5th century BC till its conquest by the Romans in 46 AD on the territory of most of modern-day Bulgaria, Northern Greece, Southeastern Romania, and Northwestern Turkey.
Seuthes III was a king of the Odrysian kingdom of Thrace from ca. 331 BC to ca. 300 BC, at first tributary to Alexander the Great of Macedon. In 2004, as part an expedition dubbed TEMP, late Bulgarian archaeologist Georgi Kitov discovered Seuthes III’s tomb on the Golyama Kosmatka Mound near his capital Seuthopolis (close to today’s towns of Kazanlak and Shipka), part of the Valley of Thracian Kings. The impressive finds included the famous lifelike bronze head of Seuthes III, his golden laurel wreath, golden kylix (ancient drinking cup), among others. Some of these finds (except for the ruler’s bronze head) are to be shown in the upcoming exhibit of Bulgaria’s Ancient Thracian treasures in the Louvre Museum in Paris, France, “Ancient Thrace. The Odrysian Kingdom”, between April 15 and July 20, 2015.