Tomb of Seuthes III

Last updated
Bronze head of Seuthes III from his tomb Sofia Archeological Museum bronze head.jpg
Bronze head of Seuthes III from his tomb
Tomb of Seuthes III The Thracian tomb Goliama Kosmatka, Bulgaria 01.jpg
Tomb of Seuthes III
Interior SeuthIIIHeroon SM.jpg
Interior

The Tomb of Seuthes III is located near Kazanlak, Bulgaria. Seuthes III was the King of the Odrysian Kingdom of Thrace from c. 331 to c. 300 BC and founder of the nearby Thracian city of Seuthopolis.

Contents

It is one of the most elaborate tombs in the Valley of the Thracian Rulers.

Design

The tomb has an impressive façade, an unusual 13m long entry corridor and three consecutive spacious rooms. The first room is rectangular and has a rainbow-shaped, double-pitched roof. A horse had been sacrificed in this chamber. The next room is circular and domed, while the third room is carved in a huge stone block and has double-pitched covering (resembling a sarcophagus). Inside, there is a modeled funeral bed.

Also found was the now famous magnificent sculpted head believed to represent Seuthes III. [1] The eyes are made of alabaster and glass paste and the eyelashes and eyebrows from copper strips. [2]

History and Use

The tomb was originally a monumental temple at Golyama Kosmatka Mound, built in the second half of the 5th century BC. After extended use as a temple, at the later part of the 3rd century BC, Seuthes lll was buried inside. The sarcophagus-chamber contained personal belongings that were necessary for the afterlife of the King. It includes knee pads, a gilded helmet with images, leather armour with a collar (plastron made of golden threads), a large sword and spears. There are bronze vessels, and three big ceramic amphora which were filled with thick Thracian wine. The floor and the ritual bed are covered by a carpet woven in gold thread. The total weight of the gold including all the objects is more than one kilogram. There are thirteen gold appliques for horse halters with images of human, animals and plants - objects which are rare in Thracian archaeology. Another two rectangular objects are golden with figures of standing warriors, used as a decoration for the sword sheath. There is a massive circular decoration for the King's armour. The handle of the rod is also golden. In the grave are placed golden vessels with two handles for drinking wine, also called kiliks, and a remarkable golden wreath with twigs, leaves and acorns and many other items.

After the funeral, the entrance to the first two rooms were walled, and the corridor was burned and filled with stones and soil. The façade was buried and hidden from view.

See also

Related Research Articles

Tourism in Bulgaria

Tourism in Bulgaria is a significant contributor to the country's economy. Situated at the crossroads of the East and West, Bulgaria has been home to many civilizations - Thracians, Greeks, Romans, Eastern Romans or Byzantines, Slavs, Bulgars, and Ottomans. The country is rich in tourist sights and historical artifacts, scattered through a relatively small and easily accessible territory. Bulgaria is internationally known for its seaside and winter resorts.

Beehive tomb

A beehive tomb, also known as a tholos tomb, is a burial structure characterized by its false dome created by corbelling, the superposition of successively smaller rings of mudbricks or, more often, stones. The resulting structure resembles a beehive, hence the traditional English name.

Thracians ancient Indo-European people that lived in eastern parts of Europe

The Thracians were an Indo-European people who inhabited large parts of Eastern and Southeastern Europe in ancient history. Thracians resided mainly in the Balkans, but were also located in Anatolia and other locations in Eastern Europe.

Kazanlak Place in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria

Kazanlak is a Bulgarian town in Stara Zagora Province, located in the middle of the plain of the same name, at the foot of the Balkan mountain range, at the eastern end of the Rose Valley. It is the administrative centre of the homonymous Kazanlak Municipality.

Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari

The Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari is 2.5 km southwest of the village of Sveshtari, Razgrad Province, which is 42 km northeast of Razgrad, in northeast Bulgaria.The tomb is probably the grave of Dromichaetes who was a king of the Getae on both sides of the lower Danube around 300 BC, and his wife, the daughter of King Lysimachus who was a general and diadochus of Alexander the Great. The tomb is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Odrysian kingdom Union of Thracian tribes and kingdoms (5th century BC to 1st century AD)

The Odrysian Kingdom was a state union of over 40 Thracian tribes and 22 kingdoms that existed with interruptions between the 5th century BC and the 1st century AD. It consisted mainly of present-day Bulgaria, spreading to parts of Southeastern Romania, parts of Northern Greece and parts of modern-day European Turkey. Dominated by the eponymous Odrysian people, it was the largest and longest-lasting Thracian state in recorded history.

Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak

The Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak is a vaulted-brickwork "beehive" (tholos) tomb near the town of Kazanlak in central Bulgaria.

Georgi Kitov

Georgi Kitov was a Bulgarian archaeologist and thracologist. He specialized in Thracian archaeology. He participated in the excavations of many sites including the Alexandrovo Tomb, Kosmatka, Svetitzata and Starosel Cult Complex.

Seuthopolis Ancient city

Seuthopolis was an ancient hellenistic-type city founded by the Thracian king Seuthes III between 325–315 BC and the capital of the Odrysian kingdom.

Perperikon

The ancient Thracian city of Perperikon is located in the Eastern Rhodopes, 15 km northeast of the present-day town of on a 470 m high rocky hill, which is thought to have been a sacred place. The village of Gorna krepost is located at the foot of the hill and the gold-bearing Perpereshka River flows nearby. Perperikon is the largest megalith ensemble site in the Balkans.

Thracian treasure Aspect of Thracian archaeology

The Thracians were a group of Indo-European tribes inhabiting a large area in Central and Southeastern Europe, centred in modern Bulgaria. They were bordered by the Scythians to the north, the Celts and the Illyrians to the west, the Greeks to the south, and the Black Sea to the east.

Seuthes III

Seuthes III was ruler of the Odrysian kingdom of Thrace from c. 331 BC to c. 300 BC.

Thracian tomb of Aleksandrovo Thracian burial mound

The Aleksandrovo tomb is a Thracian burial mound and tomb excavated near Aleksandrovo, Haskovo Province, South-Eastern Bulgaria, dated to c. 4th century BCE.

Ostrusha mound

The Ostrusha mound is a Thracian burial tumulus near the Bulgarian town of Shipka. It was constructed in the middle of the 4th century BC. The stone structures under the more than 18 meters high mound form one of the biggest representative tomb-cult complexes with 6 rooms on an area of 100 square meters. It was professionally excavated in 1993.

Thracian tomb Shushmanets

The Thracian tomb at Shushmanets Mound is a masterpiece of Thracian architecture. Located in the Valley of the Thracian Rulers, it was built as a temple in the 4th century BC and later used as a tomb.

Thracian tomb Helvetia

The Thracian tomb "Helvetia" mound near Shipka, Bulgaria, was built in the middle of the 4th century BC.

Thracian tomb Golyama Arsenalka

Golyama Arsenalka mound is a Thracian burial tumulus with a subterranean stone building near the Bulgarian town of Shipka. It dates from the end of 5th century BCE.

Thracian tomb Griffins

The Thracian tomb Griffins, found in Bulgaria, has a façade decorated with plastic columns and with a pediment above them. The pediment`s ends are semi-palmettes, the lower leaves of which are elongated and look like heads of griffins. The temple was built in the 5th century BC. There is a corridor made from river stones, floored with earth. The façade, the antechamber and the circular chamber are built of granite blocks. The entrances to the antechamber and the dome chamber had been closed by stone doors which were found broken during the research of the facility. The antechamber is of rectangular shape and has a double-pitched roof. The round chamber is covered with fine-made dome. The floors of both rooms are made of plastered granite slabs. Opposite the entrance of the circular chamber is situated a ritual stone bed with decorations. On a stone block in front of the bed were found gold paws. A funeral took place in the temple in the 4th century BC. The corridor was filled with river stones and soil. It was robbed in antiquity.

Valley of the Thracian Rulers Terminology for Kazanlak Valley

The Valley of the Thracian Rulers is a popular name which was made public by the archaeologist Georgi Kitov and describes the extremely high concentration and variety of monuments of the Thracian culture in the Kazanlak Valley. It is believed that there are over 1500 tumuli in the region, with only 300 being researched so far.

Gold wreaths from Thrace

The gold wreaths from Thrace are jewellery wreaths found in inner Thrace, which is within present day Bulgaria. The gold wreaths were found in the mounds and tombs of aristocrats at various locations in Thrace that have been dated to a period from the latter half of the fourth century and early part third century BC.

References

  1. Bronze Head of Ancient Thracian King Seuthes III Returns to Bulgaria after J. Paul Getty and Louvre Exhibits in Los Angeles and Paris: http://archaeologyinbulgaria.com/2015/11/19/bronze-head-of-ancient-thracian-king-seuthes-iii-returns-to-bulgaria-after-j-paul-getty-and-louvre-exhibits-in-los-angeles-and-paris/
  2. Ancient Thrace Was ‘Land of Gold and Silver’, French Newspaper ‘Le Figaro’ Writes on Bulgaria’s Louvre Exhibit: http://archaeologyinbulgaria.com/2015/05/25/ancient-thrace-was-land-of-gold-and-silver-french-newspaper-le-figaro-writes-on-bulgarias-louvre-exhibit/

Coordinates: 42°41′59.634″N25°20′0.32″E / 42.69989833°N 25.3334222°E / 42.69989833; 25.3334222