Although Thrace now lies in the lands of three states, in the ancient times it was socioculturally homogenic. If we bear in mind that Istanbul, the culture capital of Europe in 2010, was originally a Thracian settlement, the importance of XIth Thracology Congress is easily understood. The congress will host scholars from Turkey, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Germany, Great Britain, France and Italy. It will not be confined only to the settlements and their archaeological record in Thrace, but also include the regions such as the southern shores of the Sea of Marmara, the Asian side of the Istanbul, northwestern Anatolia and islands in the north Aegean, which were in the Thracian sphere of influence.

The Thracian Civilization Orphaned Again

August 22, 2011
He was the king of the Bulgarian archaeology and a slave of it. Trying to save the Thracian Civilization heritage, almost alone against all treasure hunters, against the bureaucracy of the government and the spiteful critiques of his jealous colleagues. He was one of the last remaining believers in the importance of the science of Thracology and the magnitude of the Thracian Orphism. Together with Prof. Alexander Fol, who passed away in 2006, and 2-3 surviving Thracologists, Dr. Georgi Kitov was one of the few left defending this great civilization against the intents of the Greek government to melt down the significance of the Thracians’ cultural heritage into a small contribution to Magna Graecia.

With more than 200 publications and books about the Thracian culture, he became famous after discovering the gold mask of Seuth III in 2005, together with a rich burial and cult tomb of the great Thracian King. National Geographic featured him in a sad article about the Bulgarian Gold Rush as the savior of the remaining treasures. Discovery channel filmed him while unearthing the next gold mask in 2007 in a typical Orphic burial. Sites as Alexandrovo Tomb, Kosmatka, Svetitzata, Starosel Cult Complex, and others in the Valley of the Thracian Kings owe him not only the discovery, but also the documentation, publication and preservation of the finds. The Kazanluk Museum of History owes him half of its artifacts, and the most valuable ones.

Because of the immense value of the gold artifacts and the monumental and artistic significance of the discovered Thracian tombs, Dr. Georgi Kitov became a star. Everybody from Russia to USA and from Sweden to Spain knows that. Only he didn’t know it. When I asked him for an autograph, he looked at me as if I was crazy and said “I am not a star”. I tried to argue that he is, that Prof. Dr. Marazov. Prof. Dr. Valeria Fol and he, Dr. Kitov are the stars of a science, where few succeed and fewer are left.

All Thracologists in Bulgaria can be fit in less than a 50 seats room – that includes archaeologists, who are specialized in the period, the Institute of Thracology (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences), and the ones from the Archaeological Institute of Bulgaria (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences). For these handful of people, Dr. Kitov was the only one with private funding who didn’t totally depend on the miserable support of the Bulgarian government, neither from foreign government funds with their correspondingly attached political agendas.

Who will follow Dr. Georgi Kitov and who will be next star of the Thracian archaeology? Nobody in the horizon yet. In the meantime, the treasure hunters will have a field day (textually) digging out cultural heritage from this great civilization and exporting it to richer countries. In the meantime, Bulgarian archaeologists paid by foreign governments will try to dismiss the importance of the Thracian Civilization (as they were trying during the communist times) in favor of Magna Graecia (Greek paid), Scythia (paid by Russia) or Anatolian cultures (paid by Turkey).

This way, a civilization surviving 3 millennia will be thrown into oblivion again for who knows how many years. And instead to admire its remnants in the Bulgarian museums, we will have to make the tour of Christies and Sotheby’s or Louvre, the Metropolitan and British Museums.

The Thracian civilization orphaned again today. We, the Bulgarians too – since we are the grandsons and granddaughters of this glorious people, the Thracians, known to the history since the down of times.

Bulgarian museum to display winged
solar disc in exhibition of new Thracian findings

August 22, 2011

Bulgarian media Focus News Agency features a press article concerning an interesting discovery occurred during the implementation of an activity supported by UNESCO Venice Office, as part of the sub-regional project “Cultural Heritage – a Bridge towards a Shared Future”.

The Yambol city regional history museum possesses an exponent, which was re-interpreted by a team of scientists working on the topic “Comparative research on the cult towards the God-sun in the Eastern Mediterranean,” Prof. Dr. Valeria Fol with the Center of Thracology in the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences told FOCUS News Agency.

The exponent represents a winged solar disc. It was discovered in 1973 from the expedition of Prof. Alexander Fol in the Thracian solar sanctuary Paleocastro, Topolovgrad city, and was taken inventory of in the Yambol regional history museum as a stone idol (inventory number I 1270/1974 - Antiquity collection). The scientists established that the object is, in fact, a solar disc of the Sun-God, the left wing of which had been broken. This missing wing was the reason behind the different interpretation proposed at the time of the discovery. The missing wing should still be located at the territory of the sanctuary.

In Egypt the winged disc is depicted in temples in the middle of the 3rd mil. BC. At the end of the 2nd mil. this image of the Sun-God is already known not only in Egypt, but also in Asia Minor and in Mesopotamia. The winged disc most probably personifies the rising sun. This image is propagated until the time of Constantine the Great. It is still difficult to determine whether the winged disc from the Yambol museum dates from the second half of the 2nd or from the 1st mil. BC. Herodotus, ‘the father of history’ (5th c. BC) mentions that an Egyptian Pharao from the 19th c. BC (12th dynasty) had sent an expedition to Thrace and that the Egyptian left many stones and inscriptions at certain places. Another interesting data from an authour from the Antiquity, which we have at our disposal, states that during the Roman era (1st c. AD) Egyptian masters, who had to process metal, settled in Thrace. The solar winged disc from the Yambol museum constitutes a certain proof for the cultural relationships and the transfer of knowledge and technologies in the Eastern Mediterranean during the Antiquity, as well as for the importance of the solar cult in Ancient Thrace.

The exponent will be included in the exhibition of the new discoveries in the region, which is now being prepared in the museum of the “Kabile” Archaeological reserve as part of the project “The sacred places of the Thracians on the lower stream of Tundja river”, realized with the financial support of the Venice Office – UNESCO and the Italian Development Cooperation – Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Prof. Dr. Valeria Fol – Center of Thracology – Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
Dr. Emil Buzov – New Bulgarian University, senior researcher, director of the Egyptology programme.
Dr. Vassil Dobrev - Institut français d’archéologie orientale, Cairo
Ilia Iliev – archaeologist, director of Yambol Regional History Museum
Strahil Panayotov – Doctoral student in Assyrian studies – Heidelberg University, and intern-assistant at New Bulgarian University.
Stefan Bakardzhiev - archaeologist, Yambol Regional History Museum
Yavor Rusev - Yambol Regional History Museum

Points of interest and links:
GPS Vehicle Tracking was used in some of the mapping.
Real Hair Wigs were used in some of the displays.
Gold Consultants were used for some of the displays.

Source : Online article dated 3 June 2010 | 09:48 | FOCUS News Agency