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22 february '22

The Lunula (collar) of Tsvyatkova tumulus

The Lunula (collar), made of precious metals, was discovered during the archaeological research of Tsvyatkova tumulus, Kosmatkite Necropolis in the vicinity of Shipka – Sheynovo villages, Kazanlak municipality. The tumulus has been excavated in 1995 with the financial support of the National Museum of History under the leadership of Dr. Georgi Kitov (National Archaeological Institute with Museum-Bulgaria Academy of Sciences) and Gavril Lazov (National Museum of History). By the end of the 1990s the Lunula fragments have undergone some conservation treatments in the Central Restoration Laboratory of the National Museum of History.  In 2020, a team led by Pavlina Devlova (National Museum of History) established a conservation framework for the Lunula, which included a graphic reconstruction and different conservation approaches of the original materials. The project was only possible thanks to the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and the invaluable efforts of the restorer Georgi Iliev (Regional Historical Museum, Yambol).

The Lunula is made in combination of several different elements and materials. The collar base is with a moon shape, made of solid iron covering the chest, the shoulders and the back of the person. In order to protect the neck, the base is curved in a "L-shape" all over it. Embossed silver plate with thick gilding and exquisite decoration completely covers the iron base. Twelve longitudinal parts with different widths are formed by hammering, covering from the neck to the periphery of the collar. The restored artefact belongs to the group of the so-called "Mezek" type breastplates, common in Thrace in the second half of the 4th century BC. The Lunula is part of a rich gold and silver burial gifts found in the tumulus. The decorated item is part of a protective parade armament. Its discovery, alongside with the numerous artefacts such as: arrowheads, knives, spear, horse skeleton, many horse harness applications, silver fragments and elements of decoration and other objects as well, suggest that the Burial belonged to a nobleman.

Text: Pavlina Devlova
Photo: Todor Dimitrov