The King Teres’ Gold Mask – a Masterpiece of the Thracian Craftmanship
“This is a unique mask and it looks even better than the famous image of king Agamemnon”, said the archeologist prof. Kitov, who discovered it, referring to the mask of Agamemnon, gound by Schliemann in Mycenae.
It is a 2400-year-old life-size mask made of 23.5-carat gold and weighing 672 g (1.48 lb). The mask belonged to king Teres I (450 – 431 BC) and was unearthed in a mound at the Valley of the Thracian kings, Kazanlak region in August, 2004. The sensational archaeological discovery was made by Prof. Georgi Kitov (1943 – 2008) and his team. According to him, “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”. Besides the king Teres mask, the archaeologists excavated more than 130 precious items including jewelry, weaponry and ritual vessels.
In a second mound nearby, called Golyamata Kosmatka (literally meaning “The Big Hairy”), Georgi Kitov chanced upon another treasure trove of 73 gold and silver pieces, including a gold wreath and horse trappings, a visor, gold ornaments of a sword and gold horse harness.
Dozens of Thracian mounds are spread throughout this Bulgarian region, which archaeologists have called ‘The Valley of the Thracian Kings,’ a reference to the Valley of the Kings near Luxor, which is home to the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs.
As a result of all the archaeological discoveries made at the Valley of the Thracian Kings, Bulgaria has proposed that UNESCO should inscribe the Valley on its World Heritage List.