Teres Golden Mask
Great archaeological discovery in 2004 unearths the unique Teres Golden Mask and over 130 other artefacts in the Valley of Thracian Kings.
A few people may know but the world’s oldest golden treasure of mankind dating from 4,600 BC to 4,200 BC belongs neither to the Egyptians nor to Sumerians. It was discovered in the Chalcolithic Necropolis near the town of Varna, Bulgaria back in 1972. More than 3000 priceless relics were found in a number of prehistoric graves, including jewelleries such as rings, necklaces, earrings; several masks of male faces; various tools like axes and bows with gold applications as well as a gold hammer-sceptre; and many other types of pottery. But this is not the only valuable archaeological
discovery on the territory of the country.
Plenty of remarkable relics have been excavated in different Bulgarian regions across the years, reminding everyone of the existence of great ancient civilizations and their craftsmanship. One day in 2004, a tomb that belonged to a Thracian noble man was revealed in what is known as the Valley of the Thracian Kings, in Svetitsa mound. There, among the funeral gifts in gold, silver, bronze, ceramics and iron, one object stood out – a life-size mask of a man face made of thick gold.
Dr. Georgi Kitov – The Discoverer of The Golden Mask of Teres
According to the archaeologist Dr Georgi Kitov, the gold Thracian mask represented the face of the Thracian king Teres I (351–342 BC). Buried more than 2,300 years ago, Teres Golden Mask has a total weight of 673 grams and is made of 23.5-carat gold. Dated to the 5th century BC, this unique artefact was discovered by Dr. Kitov himself and his team during archaeological excavations. The carefully shaped life-like features of the Teres’ Golden Mask as well as the technique used for the crafting make this artefact quite exclusive. Dr Georgi Kitov points out that this ancient Thracian mask is the only example from this particular period in Thrace which also adds up to its uniqueness. He says; “There have been other gold masks discovered, but all of them are made of foil-thin gold. Gold masks with this shape and weight are absolutely unknown.”
The method for the making of the Teres' Golden Mask include casting, followed by forging and chiselling. Distinct individual features such as the lush hair, beard, moustache, ears, and other facial details are masterfully portrayed. Besides the gold mask of the Thracian king, more than 130 other archaeological valuables were discovered as well. They include different weapons, ritual vessels, jewelleries and adornments, and
others. Currently, the ancient gold mask is kept at the National Archaeological Museum in Sofia.
Other interesting treasures from Thrace you can find in the websites of Thrace Foundation here: https://www.thracefoundation.org/en/exhibitions/