Ταφικοί τύμβοι της Θράκης : συμπεράσματα ανασκαφικών ερευνώνPart of : Το Αρχαιολογικό Έργο στη Μακεδονία και στη Θράκη ; Vol.10, No.Β, 1996, pages 927-948
Burial tumuli of Thrace : conclusions from excavations
The tumuli which are the characteristic burial monuments of ancient Thrace aroused the interest of researchers at an early date because of their large numbers and the wealth of information to be obtained from them. Most of the tumuli are in northern Thrace (Bulgaria) and there are also many in eastern Thrace (Turkey). The number of tumuli in Aegean Thrace is, of course, smaller, but it is nonetheless significant and indicative of the degree to which the construction of tumuli was a widespread practice which continued throug hout antiquity.The tumuli of Greek Thrace can be divided into two broad categories. The first consists of the tumuli in the organised cemeteries of ancient cities, and the second of the mounds which stand alone cr in groups in various sites and cannot be directly connected to any ancient city. The tumuli of Abdera, Dicaea and Stryme belong to the first category, and those to be found scattered though- out Thrace, in prominent positions on flat or semi-mountainous terrain, belong to the second.A programme of rescue excavations with the immediate objective of pro tecting the monuments of the Prefecture of Evros from robbery and from the damage done by mechanised farming and the illegal removal of sand began in 1984. In parallel, seven of the tumuli in the cemetery of ancient Stryme have been excavated as part of the investigation of that city. The paper gives a brief description of the conclusions to be drawn from these excavations, which revealed a significant number of burials and finds. It examines the manner in which the tumuli were constructed, the types, numbers and forms of the burials they contained, the kind of grave goods found in them and their position in the burials, the existence and type of offerings, the existence and the content of funeral pyres, sacrifices of animals and, in general, the funerary customs asso ciated with the tumuli. The paper also presents the tumuli and tombs of the area which have been known to archaeologists since earlier times, thus making it possible to form an overall picture and compare the monuments with their equivalents in neighbouring areas. The earliest tumulus explored contained Late Bronze Age burial, making it the first and only tumulus of that period to have been found in Greek Thrace.Tumuli of the Classical and Hellenistic periods were also excavated. They revealed built tombs and large cist tombs which provided much enlightening evidence about the individual features of grave architecture in Thrace. How ever, most of the tumuli explored contained cremations of the Roman period, some of which were particularly rich in grave goods.