|21 August 2005
Thousands of golden ornaments unearthed in Bulgaria
Archeologists working a dig in central Bulgaria have unearthed some 15,000 miniature rings and other gold ornaments that date to the end of the third millennium BCE - a find they say matches the famous treasure of Troy, scholars announced. Digging started near the village of Dabene, 120 kilometres east of the capital, Sofia, a year ago after an archeologist saw a farmer's wife wearing a necklace of golden rings, assembled by her husband from pieces he had found on his farm. The 4,100- to 4,200-year-old golden ornaments have been gradually unearthed over the past year from an ancient tomb, according to Prof. Vasil Nikolov, the consultant on the excavations.
The treasure consists of 15,000 gold ornaments and miniature golden rings, some of them so finely crafted that the point where the ring is welded is invisible with an ordinary microscope. "We don't know who these people were, but we call them proto-Thracians," Nikolov said. "The buried man was cremated, and then an earth mound was piled over his ashes and his riches, suggesting that he was part of these people's social elite," Nikolov said.
Prof. Bozhidar Dimitrov, director of Bulgaria's History Museum, said the site consisted of an ancient settlement and three mounds, and that excavations would continue. "This is the oldest golden treasure ever found in Bulgaria after the Varna necropolis," Dimitrov said. "In the whole of Europe and the Near East there is only one find that rivals these extremely well-crafted pieces: the golden treasures found in ancient Troy," he added.
With tomb raiders also making their presence felt in Bulgaria, local archaeologists are battling to reach the country's ancient burial sites first. Experts estimate there are some 15,000 tombs dotted across the Balkan state.
Sources: The Canadian Press, Canada.com, Yahoo! News (17 August 2005), The Guardian (18 August 2005)
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