The golden treasure from Panagyurishte was found in 1949 two kilometers to the south of Panagyurishte. It is dated back to the end of the 4th and the beginning of the 3rd century BC . The treasure consists of an extremely beautiful set with rich decorations and ornaments. It was used in feasts or in libations and rituals related to the Thracian mythology. It consists of 9 vessels made of pure gold, weighing over 6 kg (13.2 lb).
Four of the rhyta are shaped as animals’ heads or torsos – ram, goat, and two of them have fallow deer heads. The upper part of the rhyta is decorated with scenes and heroes from the Greek mythology. On one of the rhyta are depicted god Dionysus with Ariadne (a Cretan princess) on the feast on the occasion of their wedding. Three of the vessels are jugs with Amazon heads. Their handles are formed as mythological creatures with animal figures and human heads.
A skilfully made shallow bowl, called phiale, is also found. There are four concentric circles on it, with 24 relief ornaments in each circle, which become smaller from the rim to the centre of the phiale. The biggest and the next two circles are arranged with Negro heads, and the last, most internal, circle consists of a row of acorns. Between the rows of elements the phiale is decorated with floral ornaments.
Most interesting regarding its form and decoration is the big amphora. Its handles are formed as fighting centaurs, and the two openings for pouring the wine, located at the bottom end of the vessel, represent Negro heads. Between the Negro heads is the figure of the child Heracles, fighting the snake. The amphora is richly decorated with realistic scenes from the Greek mythology.
The items of the Panagyurishte Treasure form a rich and expensive gold set with a great artistic value and a ritual function. The treasure has an enormous significance regarding the study of the Thracians, their way of life, relations with Hellenic culture and their similar believes.
After the vessels were examinated, the archaeologists arrived at several hypotheses concerning the origin of the vessels. The most popular are two of them: the first is that the items are made in the settlement, called Lampsak, a Hellenic colony, located on the southern Black Sea coast, contemporary Turkey. And the second hypothesis, which predominates after the recent archaeological excavations and having in mind the high quality craftsmanship of the found items, is that the set is made in a local goldsmith’s workshop, located in the Panagyurishte region.
Who was the owner of the treasure? Is it possible to be a possession of some of the Odrysian kings? What made him hide it in the ground? We can’t get precise answers. We can only guess, but in spite of all that we can feast our eyes on the Panagyurishte golden treasure and treat it as a precious, highly artistic and unique witness of antiquity.
Video – The Panagyurishte golden treasure