The gold objects from Dabene, Karlovsko were found in peculiar-looking structures called ritual, which are similar to low burial mounds. More than 15 such mines have been studied so far, and gold finds have been found in only some of them.

The treasures from Dabene, Karlovsko

The gold objects from Dabene, Karlovo, were found in peculiar-looking structures called ritual, which resemble low burial mounds. More than 15 such mines have been explored so far, and gold finds have been found in only some of them.

These structures date from the Early Bronze Age and date fairly precisely to the period between 2450 and 2100 BC.

The objects are placed together with a variety of sometimes richly decorated pottery, bronze, silver and glass objects on the ground and covered with river stones. To date, more than 21 elements of strings, gold spirals, beads and appliqués have been found. The sizes and shapes of the beads are different - they can be in the form of small rings, washers, cylinders, double pyramids or biconical. The smallest of them have an outer diameter of 000 mm, and the largest reach almost 1,5 cm. Three gold strings have been recovered from them, which consist of elements of different types - beads and distributors. Such ornaments were found in ritual structures No. 1 and No. 3. The spirals are made of gold wire and have a different number of coils, and the appliqués are of two types, serving as decoration and sewn onto clothing.

An impression is made by the golden dagger weighing 42,8 g from Ritual Structure No. 5, which is unique to the lands of Ancient Thrace and Southeast Europe, as well as the small box with a lid made of pure silver, which is unknown in antiquity from other areas.

It is interesting to note that the gold objects in each of the studied structures are different in shape and stand out from similar ones in the others. This testifies to a different style in their production and to its duration.

Objects similar to these have been found in the city of Troy in Asia Minor and Polyochni on the island of Lemnos in the Aegean Sea, but among them are also familiar forms that are not represented in the Dabene hoard. The production techniques used there are different from those here, and together with their number, there is reason to assume that there was a production center in Thrace and probably in the area of ​​the village of Dabene. A similar one probably existed in Western Bulgaria, in the region of Kraishte, Kyustendilsko. Moreover, it can be said with certainty that the fashion of the population regarding gold objects in the region of Thrace and that of Asia Minor is different, as a mutual influence should not be excluded.
The production of so many objects suggests a narrow specialization in this respect, and it is likely that this profession was practiced by a small number of representatives of the ancient population.

An interesting question is why these gold objects were deposited. The differences in the structures and findings are not small, and the explanations for this may be different, but the most plausible, at least as working hypotheses, are probably the following:
1. They have a postmortal purpose and are in connection with the nearby two-rite necropolis;
2. They are due to chronological reasons, that is, to the different times in which they are placed;
3. The reasons can be economic, i.e. those who installed them have different social and financial status and thus some of the structures are extremely rich;
4. Difference in the type of rites performed;
5. Another acceptable reason may be environmental;
6. It is possible that some of the rites related to the laying of these gifts are of an individual and others of a collective nature;
7. The option that these are some kind of gifts to a deity/deities is not excluded either;
8. It is possible, of course, that we are talking about a combination of some of the presented hypotheses.

Ritual structures and gold finds near Dabene have an important importance in the extremely dynamic Early Bronze Age. The processes of emergence of this type of metallurgy, organization of society, distribution of metals, especially that of gold, which is a noble and extremely valuable material for all societies, should be rethought in the context of these new findings. At the same time, they prove that the lands of Ancient Thrace are not inferior in their development to the civilizations located to the south and southeast, at least from the point of view of the production and use of gold ornaments.

The book can be found in the bookstore of the National History Museum.

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