Broken 2nd Century AD Krater Featuring Dionysus ‘Donated’ to History Museum in Bulgaria’s Dobrich

An krater (in fragments) and a better preserved ancient funeral vessel have been brought to the History Museum in Dobrich, Northeast Bulgaria. Photo: Top Novini Dobrich

An krater (in fragments) and a better preserved ancient funeral vessel have been brought to the History Museum in Dobrich, Northeast Bulgaria. Photo: Top Novini Dobrich

A rare ancient krater, a special vessel for mixing wine and water, from the 2nd century AD, which features scenes with Ancient Thracian and Greek deity Dionysus, has been “donated” to the Regional Museum of History in the city of Dobrich in Northeast Bulgaria.

The krater has been brought to the museum broken into pieces, and is to be restored, and added to the collection of the Dobrich Museum, its Director Kostadin Kostadinov has announced, as cited by the Monitor daily.

Together with the broken krater, a second, smaller ancient vessel used for funerals, which is almost intact, has also been brought to the museum, reports local news site Top Novini Dobrich.

“About 70% of the krater have been preserved. The rest will be rebuilt and painted in order to restore the missing scenes,” Kostadinov has said.

He has not revealed details as to who brought the krater to the museum, saying only that it was “donated by citizens” who at first tried to glue the ancient vessel back together themselves.

Kostadinov has been outspoken about Bulgaria’s treasure hunting plight which destroys the country’s rich historical, archaeological, and cultural heritage on a daily basis but no treasure hunting suspicions have been mentioned with respect to the krater.

He has noted, however, than only about 10-15 Ancient Greek kraters have been preserved in Bulgaria’s museums, and the vessel in question is a rare find and valuable artifact for the collection of any museum.

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The fragments of the ancient krater appear to feature scenes with god Dionysus. Photo: Monitor daily

The fragments of the ancient krater appear to feature scenes with god Dionysus. Photo: Monitor daily

The krater, which was made using slip-painting and niello, is to be put back together with a month-and-a-half by Mariana Pehlivanova, an expert restorer and artist, and exhibited at the Dobrich Regional Museum of History.

“The vessel donated to the museum is assumed to be from the Late Hellenistic Period but the dating may be changed after its examination and restoration,” Kostadinov has told Radio Focus Varna.

“Unfortunately, we have no way of finding out where it was found but we are going to restore it and enrich our museum’s collection because we don’t have anything like that. The Varna Museum of Archaeology, which is the second richest in Bulgaria, owns 2-3 such vessels in a much better condition. Our krater is fragmented but even this way it is an extremely rare and precious find for us,” he elaborates.

It is noted that the last time an ancient krater was discovered in Bulgaria in archaeological excavations was in the Black Sea town of Sozopol back in 2014. However, in 2015, the Bulgarian police arrested a treasure hunter with a 5th century BC Ancient Greek krater from the Golden Age of Pericles in Athens.

Some Bulgarian museums (such as the National Museum of History in Sofia) occasionally announce that rare archaeological artifacts have been “donated” to them without specifying the precise mechanism and/or origin of the “donations”.

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