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.
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.
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
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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