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A Thracian treasure from over 2,200 years ago will be exhibited at the National History Museum

At the National History Museum, on Calea Victoriei in Bucharest, an exhibition will open on Friday in which a treasure trove of gold pieces created by the Thracians south of the Danube, more than 2,200 years ago, will be presented. The treasure from Sveștari (Bulgaria) was discovered in November 2012 and contains, among other things, diadems, bracelets, rings, but also ornaments that were put on the horses of the nobles of the time.

The treasure from SvestariPhoto: MNIR

The exhibition will be open until June 25, 2023 and can be visited from Wednesday to Sunday, within the Historical Treasury of the National History Museum of Romania.

Sveștari – An important place for the Thracians over 22 centuries ago

In the north-east of Bulgaria, at approx. 40 km south of the Danube, in the region (oblast) of Razgrad, near the town of Isperih and in the surroundings of the village of Sveștari, there is a land very rich in archaeological remains from various historical periods.

The treasure from Sveștari was discovered in this area in November 2012, during systematic archaeological excavations led by the National Institute of Archeology in Sofia in the tumulus necropolis of a fortified city built in the 4th century BC. on the banks of the Krapinet river. It comes from the largest burial mound in the area, over 15 meters high and 60 meters in diameter.

The mound was built in two stages, first over a stone vault with a semi-cylindrical vault and later it was extended to cover an old oak tree near the construction, the treasure being placed in a small wooden chest among the branches of the tree, four meters above the ground.

What does the treasure contain?

Most likely deposited in the second quarter of the 3rd century BC, the hoard consists only of gold artefacts, ornaments specific to women’s wear and harness accessories for a riding horse, all wrapped, it seems, in brocade , a richly ornamented textile from which several gold threads have been preserved.

The spectacular discoveries at Sborianovo belong to the most important Thracian political and religious center north of the Balkans from the 4th-3rd centuries BC, considered by some researchers to be the residence of the Geth king Dromichaites.

All these vestiges highlight a space that was not only occupied by basileis and warriors, but also by ladies, refined aristocrats or priestesses, personalities lavishly honored within the royal dynasties. The authority of this kingdom very likely also extended to the northern banks of the Danube and the historical echoes of its assertion could be found even in the ancient sources, in the conflicts between Dromichaites and the Macedonian king of Thrace, Lysimachos, explains the National History Museum of Romania.

The construction of tumuli and tombs with elaborate architecture at Sborianovo are proof of the existence of a powerful local aristocracy very well interconnected and integrated into the relational conglomerate of the Hellenistic world. The influx of gold and wealth poured over the Greek world and Europe as a result of Alexander the Macedon’s Asian expedition can also be seen in the impressive opulence of the Thracian world, the treasure from Sveștari, dated to the first half of the 3rd century BC. fitting perfectly into this cultural space.

The set of ornaments in the Sveștari chest is composed of a very elaborate diadem, ornamented with felines and centaurs, two pairs of bracelets, a ring with the representation of Eros and over 550 pearls, rings or pendants, elements probably originally assembled in several necklaces or sewn onto a rich garment woven with gold threads, explain the MNIR.

Various forms of ornament were deposited among the accessories of the richly decorated gold harness: a forehead with a horse protome, two discs with the portrait of the goddess Athena, another disc with a female figure, probably a maenad, two smaller rosettes, four elements with vegetable decoration, two quadrilobate pieces, a link, 44 appliques on which a female bust is represented and another 121 smaller, hemispherical appliques.

Along with all these artifacts, a lot of gold threads were also discovered. Made of highly refined gold, assembled from a multitude of small elements or skillfully cast using the lost wax method, the ornaments in the Sveștari Treasure were crafted by experienced craftsmen who mastered very well all the technological approaches that characterized the goldsmithing of the Hellenistic period .

The community of more than 2,300 years ago was highly hierarchical and had the ability to mobilize huge forces to glorify its chosen ones and erect monumental constructions. It was a world that honored its ancestors and gods, sometimes bringing them rich offerings of gold.



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