IN the past few weeks, archaeologists have discovered a Thracian temple in the Eastern Rhodope mountains which may include the gravesite of the mythical figure Orpheus.
Nikolai Ovcharov, along with his team, discovered the temple near the village of Tatul and the Perperikon settlement near Kurdjali.
Among their discoveries was a clay model of a staff of the Thracian kings, with the sun depicted at the top with a cross and triangles. They also found the wheel of the king’s chariot, also with sun images, and nine ritual fireplaces made of rock which were used for worshipping the Sun God.
The team dated the artifacts based on the numerous pieces of Greek pottery found at the site to the Crete-Mycenaean culture which also included the mythical city of Troy.
There is some evidence which suggests the temple, which included evidence of a rare Thracian custom described in ancient writings in which the king was buried on top of a hill or in a column instead of under a mound, could contain the grave of Orpheus, according to Ovcharov.
He said that this proved that the temple was actually a burial site of a Thracian king, who was deified upon his death.
Ovcharov said such rituals were used in the burials of the Thracian kings Orpheus and Rezus, though he said he was unsure whether Orpheus was an actual person or a mythical image made up of a composite of several real kings.
Meanwhile, Ovcharov’s main rival, Georgi Kitov, who discovered the two Thracian burial mounds near Kazanluk in which he found the golden treasure of a Thracian king, has received funding from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and is expected to continue his work.
Kitov said he hoped to find the body of the king and the vessels whose handles he already found the past summer.