Children’s Book Presents Thracian Women’s Beauty Based on Exhibit of Bulgaria’s National Institute and Museum of Archaeology

The cover of the children's book on the beauty of Thracian women features a scene from the murals of the world-famous Kazanlak Tomb. Photo: National Institute and Museum of Archaeology

The cover of the children’s book on the beauty of Thracian women features a scene from the murals of the world-famous Kazanlak Tomb. Photo: National Institute and Museum of Archaeology

Bulgaria’s National Institute and Museum of Archaeology in Sofia has published a children’s book presenting the beauty of the women of Ancient Thrace based on one of its latest exhibits.

The children’s book is entitled “A Mirror of Time: the Beauty of the Thracian Woman over the Centuries", and is based and dedicated to the exhibition “A Mirror of Time: Female Beauty over the Centuries".

The exhibit was opened at the end of May 2016, and will be on display at the Museum’s main building in downtown Sofia until September 2016.

It features a total of 170 archaeological artifacts from all major historical periods since the 8th century BC, including both female adornments, and depictions of women on various kinds of vessels. One of the most interesting items on display is a 2,500-year-old Ancient Thracian toiletries box consisting of a gold-coated silver shell.

The children’s book on female beauty in Ancient Thrace is designed to acquaint children in an intriguing and comprehensible way with the clothing and adornments worn by the Thracian women in the Antiquity.

“With the aid of archaeology, which is supposed to recreate as precisely as possible the picture of life in times past, children are provided with information about the different types of clothing, adornments, and tattoos of Thracian women, about the Ancient Greek female clothing, the ancient beauty accessories, etc.," says the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology.

In order to generate greater interest in the archaeological topics, the book also features several interactive games.

The book “A Mirror of Time: the Beauty of the Thracian Woman over the Centuries" is authored by Assist. Prof. Krasimira Karadimitrova from the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology.

The drawings in the book were created by Slava Vasileva (also a member of the Museum staff) and Alexander Georgiev.

The photos were taken by Krasimir Georgiev (another Museum staff member), Gianpaolo Luglio, Nikolay Genov, and Radostin Dimitrov. The book was designed by Galya Gerasimova.

The book cover features a scene from the murals of the Kazanlak Tomb (also known as the Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak), a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the town of Kazanlak in Central Bulgaria.

Learn more about the Ancient Thracians and the Kazanlak Tomb in the Background Infonotes below!

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The scene from the murals of the Kazanlak Tomb of the Thracian king with his queen which is featured on the children's book cover. Photo: Psy, Wikipedia

The scene from the murals of the Kazanlak Tomb of the Thracian king with his queen which is featured on the children’s book cover. Photo: Psy, Wikipedia

The murals of the Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Central Bulgaria. Photo: Kmrakmra, Wikipedia

The murals of the Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Central Bulgaria. Photo: Kmrakmra, Wikipedia

Background Infonotes:

The Ancient 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.

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The Odrysian Kingdom, a union of Thracian tribes dominated by the tribe of the Odrysians (also known as Odrysea or Odrysai bearing the name of a mythical ruler, Odryses or Odrisis, (ca. 715 – ca. 650 AD)), was one of the two most powerful states 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.

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The Valley of Odrysian Thracian Kings is a term used to describe the numerous Ancient Thracian tumuli (burial mounds) containing tombs and graves in the valley of the Central Bulgarian town of Kazanlak, which was coined by late Bulgarian archaeologist Georgi Kitov, a tracologist (an archaeologist specializing in Ancient Thrace). It is believed that over 1,500 Ancient Thracian burial mounds exist in the Valley of Odrysian Thracian Kings alone, of which some 300 have been excavated by archaeologists. Not unlike the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, the Valley of the Odrysian Thracian Kings is where the Thracian rulers and high aristocrats were buried.

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The world-famous Kazanlak Tomb was discovered in 1944 (it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979). Between 1948 and 1954, Bulgarian archaeologists had the chance to explore one of the capitals of the Ancient Thracians, the ancient city of Seuthopolis.

Unfortunately, those were only rescue excavations since the then communist dictatorship in Bulgaria thought it would be a good idea to submerge Seuthopolis on the bottom of the then constructed Koprinka Water Reservoir (present day initiatives for creating an underwater island to exhibit Seuthopolis for tourists have failed to be realized). The Thracian tombs in Maglizh and Kran were discovered in 1965.

Thracian tombs from the Roman period (i.e. after Ancient Thrace south of the Danube was conquered by the Roman Empire in 46 AD) were excavated near the towns of Tulovo and Dabovo in the 1960s. In the 1970s, the team of Dr. M. Domaradski explored a Thracian settlement and a necropolis near the town of Tazha.

Between 1992 and 2006, late Bulgarian archaeologist Georgi Kitov led his special archaeological expedition TEMP (Tracology Expedition for Mound Research) which explored over 200 Thracian burial mounds during the Iron Age and the Roman Age in the Kazanlak Valley. The expedition’s finds include over 15 tombs, 3 brick masonry graves, and a number of rich funerals.

New discoveries after 2007 of funerals of Thracian aristocrats at Drumeva Mogila Mound near the town of Staro Selo, and Yakimova Mogila Mound near Krushare have extended the Valley of Odrysian Thracian Kings’ eastward along the Tundzha Valley to the city of Sliven. The traces of civilized life indicate that the Thracians continued many of the traditions of the prehistoric people who inhabited the region in today’s Central Bulgaria. This is evidenced by the Buzovgrad Megalith dating back to 1,800-1,600 BC, and the city of Seuthopolis, which was built on top of a previously existing settlement. More Thracian tumuili have been studied recently near Buzovgrad and Dolno Izvorovo.

Of all the Ancient Thracian burial mounds with their tombs and graves in the Valley of the Odrysian Thracians Kings, only the Kazanlak Tomb has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (since 1979). However, in 2012, Kazanlak Municipality started preparing its application for seeking UNESCO World Heritage Status for several more of the most major Thracian tombs in the Valley of Odrysian Thracian Kings’ – the Golyama Kosmatka Tomb, the Ostrusha Tomb, the Shushmanets Tomb, the Helvetia Tomb, and the Griffins’ Tomb.

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