Bulgarian archaeologists have unearthed a trove of gold objects from the late fourth or early third century BC in the northeast of the country, the team chief said Thursday.
"We found a wooden box in the upper layer of a Thracian burial mound that contained burnt bones and exquisite ritual gifts, which had been wrapped in a gold-weave cloth," Diana Gergova told AFP.
The objects found near the village of Sveshtari included a gold tiara engraved with a lion's head and other animals, bracelets, a ring and gold horse tack ornaments, and were dug up overnight, she said.
They most likely belonged to the Getes tribe of the Thracians, skilled goldsmiths who inhabited lands extending from the Caucasus to southwest Europe and who are still veiled in mystery.
The Getes inhabited the region from the second millennium BC to the third century AD. A lavish tomb of the tribe discovered in 1982 in Sveshtari is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site.
Gergova's excavations at the site between 1992 and 1996 uncovered a tomb with Doric-style columns, a horse skeleton and a tree, which were buried as part of a Getes funeral.
Modern Bulgaria is viewed as the geographical cradle of Thracian civilisation, which existed from the fourth millennium BC to the third century AD.