Panagyurishte Thracian Treasury

The Panagyurishte treasure is by far the richest and most brilliant gold hoard yet discovered which was unearthed by accident by three brothers – Pavel, Petko and Michael Deykovs in 1949, during clay digging near the town of Panagyurishte. Town of Panagyrishte is located 90 km east of Sofia, 80 km northwest of Plovdiv and only 35 km distant from the Temple of Thracian cult in Starosel village. The Panagyurishte gold has been dated to the 4th century BC. The Panagyurishte find consists of nine solid gold vessels of highest and most sophisticated perfection in craftsmanship, decorated with different zoomorphic and anthropomorphic figures, including seven rhyta, a rare amphora-rhyton and a phiale. The amphora-rhyton, the four rhyta shaped like animal heads/fore-parts and decorated with mythological scenes of the Scynthian-Sarmatian cultures, the three jug rhyta shaped like women’s heads, and the phiale decorated with representations of warrior men’s heads and acorns are all pieces of a ceremonial tableware drinking set for feasts that belonged to a Thracian king (presumably Seuthes III), from the end of the 4th and the beginning of the 3rd centuries BC. The inscriptions on the phiale and on two of the vessels refer to the town of Lampsak on the Dardanelles as the place where they had been made. The origin of the Panagyurishte treasure and the interpretations of the scenes on the vessels, however, still remain disputable among researchers.

The Panagyurishte treasure is unique not only for its weight in gold – a total of 6.1 kg, but also for the originality of its shapes and ornamentation, as well as for its exquisite craftsmanship. The Panagyurishte treasure combines the artistic tastes of the Greek world and the Orient, blending Eastern forms with imagery of Greek origin. The archaeological finding indicates the emergence of the Hellenistic style in the scenes of Aphrodite, Athena, and Hera before the judgment of Paris and demonstrates the significant role played by the Thracians. The Panagyurishe golden artifacts reveal the virtuosity of the ancient goldsmiths, who have reached the pinnacle of arts. The Panagyuristhe treasure is a witness to a particularly brilliant civilization and impress with their decorative richness. The Panagyurishte Treasure confirms the stories of ancient Greek writers and historians that the Thracians, besides the horses and wine, loved gold ornaments and jewelry most of all. The golden Thracian treasure from Panagyurishte has been touring the world for years, making the civilization of the Ancient Thrace famous all around the globe. 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. Permanent place of display of the Panagyurishte Thracian gold is the National History Museum on Sofia. The perfect original copy of the Panagyuristhe Thracian gold is exhibited in the History Museum in Panagyurishte.