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Ancient Thrace: Silver-gilt pectoral from tomb (340-330 BC)

A spectacular collection of gold and silver items has been recovered from tombs in Bulgaria, the ancient region of Thracia. About 15,000 such massive ground barrows are still visible today in the hills and flatlands of the Balkan Range, anciently called Haemus. Thracian rulers and members of the nobility were buried in monumental stone tombs, known as heroons.

Most Thracian gold and silver items in these tombs were manufactured between the 5th and 3rd century BC, when craftsmen from Thrace and northern Greece used refined repousee or hammered metal-working techniques to produce mythological and other traditional designs. Thrace was also well known for its silver and gold mines, including the Pangeion gold mines near the Strymon delta, captured by Philip II in 348 BC.

[Fig.1: Silver-gilt pectoral from a Thracian tomb (photo: Georgiev).]

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