For the first time the treasures from the necropolis in Trebenishte are gathered in one place

There will be one more sign of the improving relationship between Sofia, Skopje and Belgrade by the end of 2018 – if the idea for a common exhibition with the most valuable finds from the famous necropolis of Trebenishte (located about 14 km from Ohrid) is to be held. Among the artifacts found there are four golden masks and many other valuable items from the end of the 7th to the end of the 4th century BC, but they are kept in different museums, and so far have not been collected in one place.

Golden hand with a ring, NAIM, photo K. Georgiev

The idea for the exhibition came a few months ago by a group of Macedonian specialists who shared it with their Bulgarian colleagues. Since then, the leadership of the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at BAS / NAIM / is working on its realization, there is also a general agreement from the Serbian side. There is no exact date yet, but the opening is expected to be this autumn, when is the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. The exhibition is planned to be shown first in Skopje, in the Museum of Macedonia, it will then visit NAIM and the Belgrade National Museum, and then will tour Europe.

Bronze helmet with gilding, НАИМ, photo K. Georgiev

Collecting artifacts from the three countries will be not only an act of good neighbour relations, but also a milestone for the specialists: they will finally have the opportunity to exchange information about the necropolis and to put together a catalog of everything important, discovered there since 1918.

It is known, that Bulgarian soldiers encounter the finds in Trebenishte, during a road construction at the end of the First World War. In May 1918, the first grave with rich inventory is opened and handed over to the Bulgarian administration in Ohrid. The news travel quickly to the National Museum in Sofia (nowadays NAIM), but the situation does not immediately allow an archaeologist to be sent. Four more graves were excavated by soldiers and only the next two – by the archaeologist Karel Shkorpil. The finds were published not by him, but by Bogdan Filov in the late 20’s of the last century. None of them does not have all the information and further in the necropolis have worked different teams and therefore the artifacts are scattered in several museums.

Bronze crater, NAIM, photo K. Georgiev

NAIM keeps the inventory of seven graves from Trebenishte – between the objects, a little over 100 in number, shine two golden masks, a golden breastplate, many golden plates – in the form of birds, rosettes, horses and horsemens; there is also a golden hand with a ring on its finger. Among the findings impress and the extremely beautiful bronze helmets / one with a gold plate in front/, silverware and decorated hair pins. We’re about to see what the other two museums are keeping.

The second good news is that cooperation between Bulgarian and Macedonian archaeologists will not stop there. A few days ago the director of NAIM Assoc. Prof. Dr Lyudmil Vagalinski met with Prof. Dr. Ratko Duev, Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy at the University “St. Cyril and Methodius “in Skopje /UKIM/ to negotiate the framework agreement. According to him, the both sides will participate together in scientific projects and besides young Macedonian archaeologists will come to learn how to work on the field in Bulgaria.

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