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The Panagyurishte Gold Treasure

text & photos by Ludmila Racheva

The Panagyurishte gold treasure is a Thracian beverage set made of 24-karat gold with a total weight of 6.164 kg. It is dated back to the end of the 4th and the beginning of the 3rd century BC. The golden treasure was excavated on 08 December 1949 near the Bulgarian town of Panagyurishte by three brothers – Pavel, Michail and Petko Deikovi.

The golden treasure consists of 9 ancient wine vessels that were used in religious ceremonies and feasts (with ritual function). The exquisite vessels are beautifully decorated with figures and scenes related to the Thracian mythology.

It is believed that the treasure collection was produced in the town of Lampsakos in Asia Minor. It is used to be the possession of an unknown Thracian ruler of the Odryssian tribe. However, no one knows how the treasure reached the Bulgarian lands and why it was buried.

The golden beverage set includes a phiale (a dish), an amphora and seven rhytons (cups) – three of them are with Amazon heads and the last four are shaped as animals’ heads or torsos – ram, goat, deer heads.

Phiale - a vessel for ritual libations. Gold, diam. 25 cm, wt. 844,7 g.

Phiale (a dish) is decorated with relief figures of black men’s heads and acorns, situated in concentric-circle forms.

Rhyton with a protome (front part) of a goat and a scene with Hera, Apollo, Artemis and Nike. Gold, h. 14 cm, wt. 439,05 g.

Rhyton in the shape of stag's head with a scene representing the judgment of Paris. Gold, h. 13,5 cm, wt. 674,6 g.

Rhyton with a head of a young ram and Dionysus scene. Gold, h.12,5 cm, wt. 505,05 g.

Gold Aries-shaped rhyton. The handle of the vessel ends in a lion figure. Relief figures of the sitting Dionysus and the bacchante Eriope and dancing bacchantes around them are depicted on the neck of the rhyton.

Jug-rhyton representing the head of the goddess Aphrodite. Gold, h. 21.5 cm, wt. 466,75 g.
Amazon-head-shaped gold rhyton. The handle of the rhyton ends in the figure of a flying sphinx.

Jug-rhyton representing the head of the goddess Hera. Gold, h. 21,5 cm, wt. 460,75 g.

Gold rhyton in the form of an Amazon head with a helmet on. The two sides of the helmet bear the relief figures of flying sphinxes.

Jug-rhyton representing the head of the goddess Athena. Gold, h. 20,5 cm, wt. 387,3 g.

Gold deer-shaped rhyton. Its handle ends with a lion figure. Two mythological scenes of fights are represented on the neck.

Amphora-rhyton. Gold, h. 29 cm, wt. 1695,25 g.

Amphora-rhyton with centaurs-formed handles. Three compositional scenes of warriors are depicted on the vessel.

The golden Thracian treasure from Panagyurisghte has been touring the world for years. It was exhibited in numerous towns and capitals – London, Rome, Paris, New York, Moscow, Budapest, Tokyo, Mexico, Montreal, Madrid, Boston, Detroit, New Delhi, Helsinki, Berlin, Prague ...

When not on a tour, the treasure is a part of the permanent exposition of the Thracian art collection of the National Museum of History in Sofia.



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