Teres’s mask is the first ever discovered gold mask on the territory of Bulgaria. And even though today we have witnessed the earth retrieve back to us several more, this one remains among the most enchanting examples of Thracian art. Crafted out of 23 carat gold, it weighs 690 grams. Archaeologists date it to the middle of 5th century BC. It has been created specifically for the funeral service of a Thracian ruler, whose eyes, nose, beard and moustaches we can still recognize on its relief.
The discovery of this mask occurred in 2004, during the excavations of Svetitsata Mound by the town of Shipka, in the Valley of the Thracian Rulers. The team of archaeologists was lead by the well-known researcher of Bulgarian Antiquity, Ph.D. Georgi Kitov. In the same grave, many more silver and bronze adornments were discovered along with sword and arrows. On the vessels there were depictions of Hercules, Menadius, Priapus. The phial discovered shows the royal dignity of the buried – probably he was Teres, king of the Thracians, whose face known from coins minted in his time bears resemblance with the face from the mask. Today it is exhibited in the National Archaeological Museum in Sofia.