Image: Bulgarian archaeologists
Str  /  AFP - Getty Images
Bulgarian archaeologists work near a Thracian bronze chariot discovered near the village of Karanovo.
updated 11/21/2008 12:19:05 PM ET 2008-11-21T17:19:05

Archaeologists have unearthed a well-preserved 1,800-year-old bronze chariot at an ancient Thracian tomb in southeastern Bulgaria, the head of the excavation said Friday.

"The lavishly ornamented four-wheel chariot dates back to the end of the second century A.D.," Veselin Ignatov told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from the site, near the southeastern village of Karanovo.

He said it was found in a funerary mound that archaeologists believe was the grave of a wealthy Thracian aristocrat, as he was buried with his belongings.

Along with the chariot, which was decorated with scenes from mythology, the team unearthed well-preserved wooden and leather objects, some of which the archaeologists believe were horse harnesses.

In August, excavations at another ancient Thracian tomb in the same region revealed another four-wheel chariot.

About 10,000 Thracian mounds — some of them covering monumental stone tombs — are scattered across Bulgaria.

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 A.D., when they were assimilated by the invading Slavs.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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