The Panagyurishte Golden Treasure
(C. 4-3 B.S.)

The Panagyurishte Golden Treasure is a rare archaeological monument from the Hellenistic Age and one of the symbols of the Panagyurishte region.

The Panagyurishte Treasure

It was found near the Mramor hillock in 1949 during agricultural work. It consists of nine richly adorned vessels - an amphora, seven rhytons and a phial. It weighs 6.164 kg. The largest vessel is the amphora, which has a centaur-shaped handle. Three of the seven rhytons are shaped as animals' heads, one is the front part of a goat, three have women's (Amazon) heads. The set most probably served for the drinking of wine in a religious, celebratory or domestic atmosphere. There is also an opinion that its purpose was the ritual purification of a liquid, which could be wine. It is supposed that another two rhytons with the front part of animals, an amphora and one or two phials are missing, with a view of the sacral importance of the number three in the Thracian religion.

The amphora is the most interesting vessel. The scene at its bottom shows the young Hercules smothering two snakes, a visibly drunk reclining satyr and two Africans' heads with pierced lips, through which the liquid is poured out.

The amphora

The composition on its walls is developed around a precisely pictured door, on the two sides of which there are seven men. There are various interpretations of the scenes. The discovery of the Strelcha Mausoleum Tomb and the temple near Starossel made a new interpretation possible: the funeral of a Thracian ruler deified after his death.

A bearded satyr from the amphora's bottom
A warrior with a Thracian sword
Another dancing warrior
The player and the warrior before him
All details of the objects in the depicted scenes and the bodies of the gods, heroes and animals are pedantically shaped upon the necks of the three animal-head rhytons (a young ram with hardly showing horns and two fallow dears). The animal figures were shaped much more freely and confidently than the human figures, as is typical of the Thracian art.
The rhyton shaped as a young ram
A front view of the rhyton
The stag's head with a rotating solar disk upon its forehead
The rhyton shaped as the front part of a goat's body
The goat's head
The necks of all three rhytons shaped as women's heads are elongated and even and end with a bottom widening at the lower end and with sphinxes' bodies at the upper ends of the handles. The women's hair ornaments, necklaces, and also the helmet on one of the Amazon heads are shaped in relief.
Nike - the goddess of victory on the rhyton's neck
The first rhyton shaped as the head of an Amazon
The second rhyton shaped as the head of an Amazon
The phial of the Panagyurishte Treasure weighs 846 g and has a diameter of 25 cm - the largest and heaviest phial of the Antique world. Its decoration is also unique. There are 4 concentric circles with 24 ornaments each around the domed even navel (omphalos), which are meant to be looked at from the outside.
The phial from the inside
The phial from the outside

There exist two basic hypotheses about the origin of the Panagyurishte Treasure. They are based on the carved letters on some of the vessels, which are considered to signify the measure units of the gold. According to a widespread thesis, the signs belong to the metric system used in the Asia Minor town Lampsak. Other scholars however have discovered that a similar system was used in the interior of Thrace, so there is a possibility of the treasure's local origin.