Ancient Thracian Warrior’s Grave Containing Gold Plated Beads Found near Bulgaria’s Black Sea Town Primorsko

The 4th-3rd century BC grave of an Ancient Thracian warrior who was buried by cremation has been found a burial mound in Silihlyar, an area near Bulgaria’s Black Sea town of Primorsko. Photo: Primorsko Museum of History

A grave of an Ancient Thracian warrior from the 4th-3rd century BC whose funeral inventory contains gold plated ceramic beads has been discovered by archaeologists in a burial mound in Silihlyar, an area near Bulgaria’s Black Sea resort of Primorsko.

The grave of the supposedly young Thracian warrior has been discovered as a result of burial mound excavations which started in June. Its finding has been announced just now by Daniel Pantov, Director of the Primorsko Museum of History.

Bulgaria’s Primorsko and the area known as Silihlyar near the Black Sea coast made headlines in 2016 with the discovery of an Ancient Thracian gold treasure.

The Primorsko Gold Treasure was formally shown to the public at the end of October 2016. The local authorities even built a special safety vault for it.

It consists of a total of 37 gold appliques which decorated the harness of the horse of an Ancient Thracian dynast (i.e. ruler) during parades and formal religious ceremonies.

It was discovered in a tomb during the rescue excavations of an Ancient Thracian burial mound located in an area known as Silihlyar, about 7 km away from the town of Primorsko, near the Black Sea coast.

The gold appliques are dated to the end of the 4th – beginning of the 3rd century BC, more precisely, to ca. 320 – 280 BC.

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The Ancient Thracian Primorsko Gold Treasure was discovered in Silihlyar, an area with several Thracian burial mounds, in 2016. Photo: Primorsko Museum of History

The Ancient Thracian warrior whose grave has now been discovered in a burial mound in Silihlyar near Bulgaria’s Primorsko was cremated.

“The warrior[‘s body] was burned on a stake together with his arms which included a makhaira sword, a spear – the standard afterlife gifts for a warrior," archaeologist Daniel Pantov has told Radio Focus – Burgas.

In addition to the makhaira and the other arms, the archaeologists found in the Ancient Thracian grave ceramic vessels from the Early Hellenistic period.

According to the researchers, the funeral inventory indicates that the buried warrior was a young man who was connected with the place and its residents at the time.

Pantov points out that one of the most interesting finds in the Ancient Thracian grave are ceramic beads, some of which were even gold plated.

After they completed the excavations of the burial mound where the warrior’s grave was discovered, the archaeological team began digs at another Ancient Thracian mound in Silihlyar, which have now been put on hold for the winter season.

The Primorsko Gold Treasure is the most recently discovered of Bulgaria’s major Ancient Thracian treasures. Photo: Primorsko Museum of History

However, the Director of the Primorsko Museum of History points out that the archaeological discoveries in the area from the past couple of years have pushed back the dates of the earliest permanent settlements there – from the Iron Age to the Bronze Age.

“Things have changed chronologically. It turned out to be a much earlier period, the Bronze Age," Pantov says.

“This means that the populating of these territories dates to the Bronze Age, not to the Iron Age, as we presumed. This was the information that we had about the settlements on the [“Black Sea"] coast, around the mouth of the Ropotamo River, which have been submerged. Now Silihlyar [has turned out to be] one of those settlements," he elaborates.

The Black Sea MAP underwater archaeology project, which has discovered some 60 well-preserved ships from the past 2,500 year on the bottom of the Black Sea, has also found and explored an Early Bronze Age settlement off Bulgaria’s coast near the mouth of the Ropotamo River, whose ruins lie underneath the present-day seabed submerged as a result of environmental change.

Pantov reveals that the finds from the 2017 digs at the Thracian burial mounds in Silihlyar are undergoing restoration, and will be exhibited by the Primorsko Museum of History in 2018. The excavations have been carried out with funding from Primorsko Municipality.

An entire previously unknown Ancient Thracian fortress, the Pharmakida Fortress, which was the fortified residence of a dynast in the 2nd-1st century BC was discovered near Bulgaria’s Primorsko in 2015. Primorsko Municipality is also famous for the Beglik Tash Thracian rock shrine.

Fortified homes of aristocrats from the Ancient Thracian tribe Asti have also recently been discovered and/or excavated near the towns of Brodilovo and Sinemorets in Tsarevo Municipality on the Black Sea, right to the south of Primorsko Municipality.

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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