Ancient Thracian Ivanski Gold Treasure – Ivanski, Bulgaria

The Ivanski Gold Treasure is an Ancient Thracian treasure discovered in a burial mound (tumulus) near the town of Ivanski, Shumen District, in Northeast Bulgaria. It consists of a total of 42 elaborate golden decorations for the rein of a horse that belonged to an Ancient Thracian dynast (aristocrat).

During the period of Ancient Thrace, the territory of today’s Shumen District was inhabited by the Krobyzoi tribe which was part of the tribal union of the Getae (or Gets).

More than 600 Thracian burial mounds (tumuli) have been detected in the region; the largest concentration of those includes about 150 burial mounds situated along the valley of the Kamchiya River, near the towns of Smyadovo, Ivanski, and Yankovo.

The archaeological excavations of an Ancient Thracian burial mound near the town of Ivanvski revealed a total of two tombs of Thracian aristocrats dating back to the 4th century BC.

The first tomb was found well preserved. It was built of large limestone blocks, and consists of two rooms – an antechamber and a burial chamber. In the antechamber the archaeologists found the remains of the Thracian aristocrat’s horse, with the sophisticated gold rein decorations.

The 42 gold pieces are made of 23-carrat gold, and were the work of a local jeweler. The forehead decoration features the image of a ram with twisted horns, while most of the rest of the items feature the images of a winged lion.

The Ivanski Gold Treasure is among the few full sets of ancient horse rein ammunition (decoration) found in Bulgaria.

Together with the golden treasure inside the antechamber of the first Ivanski tomb, the archaeologists found 40 bronze arrow tips, and numerous fragments from amphorae which originated on the Greek islands of Thasos and Rhodes.

In the tomb’s burial chamber, the archaeologists discovered a stone bed with decoration where the urn containing the Thracian aristocrat’s ashes was placed together with other afterlife gifts. The urn itself was not found; the stone bed was probably also used for sacrifices and other religious rituals.

The second tomb in the burial mound near Bulgaria’s Ivanski was found to have been built later, in the last quarter of the 4th century BC. It was built of large rectangular blocks (quadrae). The tomb was broken into back in the Antiquity, and many of the artifacts that it supposedly contained were taken away.

The Ancient Thracian burial mound near Ivanski with its two tombs are open for visitors by appointment with the Shumen Regional Museum of History.

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