The Thracian tomb in the "Golyamata Kosmatka" mound

Web-page of TEMP 2004, the excavators of the site..
 Archaeology: Exotic Life of Ancient Thrace ( from 17.11.2004)

The mound "Golyamata Kosmatka" is situated in the vicinity of the Shipka pass in the Balkan mountains, in the district of the town of Kazanluk (central Bulgaria). It is more than 20 metre high and more than ten times wider. [Near Kazanluk was also situated the Hellenistic Thracian town of Seuthopolis, nowadays submerged by the water reservoir of "Koprinka".]

The facade and the entrance to the tomb (IV c. BC) were discovered on 24.09 some 5 metres from the spot where a bronze head was uncovered several days earlier. The stone facade is 7 metre wide, with a corridor in the centre. The latter was originally lined with wooden planks and there are signs of a large fire which had caused structural damage - parts of the wooden planks are found on the floor and the high temperature has also damaged the stones of the facade. The stones are not linked by iron braces.
Some of the images are clickable

Fragments from the entrance

A team of ex-miners has dug and reinforced a 13-metre long passage into the collapsed corridor. Four IV c. BC bronze coins with the start of Vergina were found there. At the end there was a marble door with ornamentation including the head of a woman, probably a deity. "The tomb has amazed archaeologists with its first-of-the-kind doors made of marble and decorated with human figures, iron nail imitations and blue-and-red sculptural ornaments."


The antique doors of the tomb of Seuthus III are being readied for restoration. The two wings are decorated with female heads.


In the three-chamber tomb, two of the chambers were walled up with stones. The first one contained the skeleton of a horse.
A ritually sacrificed horse was found in the first chamber. The archaeologists clean the channels where blood flowed in. 

The second chamber has a cupola and is about 5 metre high. It was empty, there were no murals.

The first chamber The second chamber

The third chamber contained a burial bed/sarcophagus, hewn out of a single ~60-tonne granite boulder. No human remains, apart from 3 teeth were found. The third chamber also contained more than 70 burial items, 20 of them - made of gold. Among them were a golden wreath, golden horse trappings and sword decorations, silver and bronze jewels as well as crafted ceramics, including three big wine amphorae, one of them - sealed. Golden coins of Seuthus III were also found in the tomb. There were also a silver jug, a silver phial, a bronze helmet depicting the goddess of victory, Nike, two knee-guards, more metalwork depicting an elegant head of a stag, a head of an African man, a double-handled ritual vessel for wine drinking (cylix).

Inscriptions on two of the silver vessels read: "This belongs to Seuthus". They also list the weight of the vessels in Thracian units. This confirms that the tomb belonged to the king Seuthus III.

"Archaeologists said that the gold wreath of the "Golyamata Kosmatka" mound tomb depicting oak leaves and acorn nuts is one of the kind known to scientists from Thracian times":

Helmet and greaves

"An exquisite gold vessel designed for drinking of wine appeared to be decorated with domestically modified ornaments otherwise typical for the art of the day. It is only the third to complete the collection of merely another couple of similar artefacts unearthed earlier this year in excavations near Vratsa, north-west Bulgaria, and the Shipka-nearby mound of Svetitsata." The golden cylix was discovered next to the granite block.

Some of the 23-carat gold items:

An African man's head ornamentation.


Golden ritual vessels

Silver handle of a jug with an inscription

A silver vessel in the form of a shell

Thracian power had declined by the time of king Seuthus III who had hard time struggling against the successors of Alexander the Great, especially Lysimachus.


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