Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ancient Chariot of Thrace

Bulgarian (did you know that ancient Thrace was in Bulgaria?) archaeologist Veselin Ignatov found a 4-wheeled chariot last week, in an 1800-year-old grave. That's recent, as chariots go. Here's a link to the story on (where this picture originally appears).

Ignatov has found chariots before; here's a link to a 2007 story in Archaeology Magazine.

On last week's find, the bronze plating (over wood) shows mythological creatures. Horse skeletons were found nearby; which has become usual in Thracian chariot burials. Another chariot was found in August, and apparently there are around ten thousand burial mounds across Bulgaria that could have held such treasures, once . Looters have struck at many of them, though--maybe up to 90%.

I like reading about this because I've written about chariots for the upcoming Encyclopedia of the History of Invention and Technology, coming out from Facts on File Books. One of those lovely multi-volume sets that won't be published until I'm old and gray. . . which could be next year, to be honest.

But I learned from researching that article that the oldest chariots have been found east of the Ural Mountains at Sintashta-Petrovka, and date to 2000 B.C. Also, didja know that each pair of spokes, forming a V in the wheel, are made from one piece of wood?

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