A rare statue of the ancient Thracian hero Orpheus has been unearthed in Bulgaria, near a place archaeologists say might house the hero's tomb, the leader of excavations said.
The 9cm (3.5in) bronze statue, dating from the 1st or 2nd century AD, was found in the village of Tatul, 200 miles south-east of Sofia, an archaeologist, Nikolai Ovcharov, said.
The statue, which was perfectly preserved, was found a few days ago by villagers, and handed to archaeologists working on the site, he said.
He added that the find appeared to confirm his hypothesis that the Tatul site was one of the main sanctuaries for Orpheus worshippers in the ancient world.
"The statue depicts a naked athletic god with a lyre in his left hand. Most probably it's a statue of Orpheus, which makes it a rare find."
According to myth Orpheus was a son of Apollo and a godlike poet and musician. After his death a cult developed around his figure, and Thracians seem to have worshipped him as a god, historians say.
... hmmm ... the circumstances of this one is somewhat suspicious ("found ... by villagers"). Bit of a rivalry between Kitov and Ovcharov?