I was enjoying my post-lunch cup of tea while reading the paper. As I moved into the world section I noticed colour images of gold plate from the famous Panagyurishte Treasure found by chance in 1946 and now in the Plovdiv Archaeological Museum, Bulgaria. The piece by Malcolm Moore was about looting: "Tomb raiders strip Bulgaria of its treasures" (August 29, 2007).
There are some startling figures (for what they are worth):
a. "Tomb-raiding" in Bulgaria is worth an estimated £4 billion a year.
b. 16,000 artefacts have been seized since October 2006.
c. An estimated 30,000 individuals are involved in "tomb-raiding".
d. One consignment of 100 antiquities was intercepted in a lorry heading for Germany last Friday (August 24).
However it was reassuring to find that this "blog" had got there first on one issue, The Stanford Place Dish. Moore reports:
"Last November, Christie's in London was forced to withdraw a Byzantine plate after a complaint from the Bulgarian government. It was claimed that the silver plate, had been found in 1903, but it was actually dug up in 1999, according to Naiden Blagnev, a treasure hunter."
What other Bulgarian treasures will emerge? How can the archaeology be preserved?