Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Thracian gold mask unearthed

Reuters.com: "Georgi Kitov's hands trembled as he cradled the glittering visage of an ancient king unearthed from a tomb in southern Bulgaria.

'This is the face of an evil ruler!' cried the archeologist, marveling at the cruel gaze from the mask of solid gold, the size of a dinner plate.

The mask dates back to the 5th century BC -- the golden age of the little-known Thracians -- and has been hailed as an unrivaled find in the study of classical antiquity.

"We've excavated seven tombs this year and their design, along with decorated ceramics, bronze, gold and silver jewels, shows we are dealing with a developed civilization," Kitov said.

Living on the edge of Asia, the Thracians came into contact with great civilizations who passed through their homelands: the Persians, Scythians, Greeks, Celts, Romans and even the Egyptian empire.

"Bulgaria indeed is one of the cradles of culture on the old continent. The first well-developed human civilization dwelled here 6,000 years ago," Bozhidar Dimitrov, curator at the Bulgarian History Museum, said."