SOFIA, Bulgaria – Archaeologists have unearthed a 1,900-year-old well-preserved chariot at an ancient Thracian tomb in southeastern Bulgaria, the head of the excavation said Thursday.
Daniela Agre said her team found the four-wheel chariot during excavations near the village of Borisovo, around 180 miles east of the capital, Sofia.
"This is the first time that we have found a completely preserved chariot in Bulgaria," said Agre, a senior archaeologist at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
She said previous excavations had only unearthed single parts of chariots — often because ancient sites had been looted.
At the funerary mound, the team also discovered table pottery, glass vessels and other gifts for the funeral of a wealthy Thracian aristocrat.
In a separate pit, they unearthed skeletons of two riding horses apparently sacrificed during the funeral of the nobleman, along with well-preserved bronze and leather objects, some believed to be horse harnesses.
The Culture Ministry confirmed the find and announced $3,900 in financial assistance for Agre's excavation.
Agre said an additional amount of $7,800 will be allocated by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences for an initial restoration and conservation of the chariot and the other Thracian finds.
The Thracians were an ancient people who inhabited the lands of present-day Bulgaria and parts of modern Greece, Turkey, Macedonia and Romania between 4,000 B.C. and the 6th century, when they were assimilated by the invading Slavs.
Some 10,000 Thracian mounds — some of them covering monumental stone tombs — are scattered across Bulgaria.