Graduate Program in Balkan and Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology

ARHM007. Thrace and Anatolia in the 1st Millennium BC. Maya Vassileva, Angela Pencheva, Zhivko Uzunov

Online course, 30 hours, 3 credits


The Eastern Balkans and Anatolia have formed a geographical and cultural community since early prehistory. Early agriculture and stockbreeding seems to have travelled westwards from Anatolia in the Neolithic Age.  A similar directionality for the spread of metallurgy can be supposed.


After the collapse of Bronze Age civilizations in both areas, especially those of the Mycenaeans and the Hittites, the first millennium BC saw the emergence of the Greek polis, territorial states, kingdoms, and finally empires in Thrace and Asia Minor.


Interactions between Thrace and Anatolia intensified in the first millennium BC. The course aims at discussing mutual influences, interactions and cultural developments in Thrace and Anatolia in this period. Movements of peoples in the Balkan-Anatolian zone in the Early Iron Age are attested both archaeologically and in the writings of ancient authors. Students will study the ancient kingdoms of Phrygia and Lydia in Asia Minor and eastern Greek and early Thracian history.


Both areas were under Persian rule in the 6th-4th centuries BC, which facilitated economic and cultural exchange leading to new hybrid phenomena. Local elites tended to shape themselves after the model of the Great King. Persian influences in Thrace are of particular interest to the course.


Thracian settlement patterns, trading routes, some aspects of economy, burial rites, and Thracian art will also be topics of study in the course.






Introduction in the Study of the 1st Millennium BC Eastern Mediterranean. (M. Vassileva)



Early Iron Age Thrace and Anatolia. (M. Vassileva)



Ancient Phrygia and the Balkans. (M. Vassileva)



Ancient Lydia and the Eastern Greeks. (M. Vassileva)



Greek apoikoi on the Thracian Shores. (Z. Uzunov)




Persians in Anatolia and Thrace. (M. Vassileva)



Settlement Patterns in the First Half of the 1st mill. BC Thrace. (Z. Uzunov)



Settlement Patterns in the Second Half of the 1st mill. BC Thrace. (Z. Uzunov)



Early Thracian Burial Rites. (Z. Uzunov)




Thracian toreutics. (A. Pencheva)



Local Production and Trade Routes. (A. Pencheva)




Thracian Burial Rites, 5th – 3rd centuries BC. (A. Pencheva)




Sanctuaries and Cult Practices in Thrace. (Z. Uzunov)




The Thracian warrior. (A. Pencheva)



Thrace in the Late Hellenistic World. (A. Pencheva)





Essential readings:

Agre, D. 2011. The Tumulus of Golyamata Mogila near the Villages of Malomirovo and Zlatinitsa. Sofia, 2011.

Andronikos, M. 1992. Vergina. The Royal Tombs and the Ancient City. Athens, 1992.

Archibald, Z. H. 1998. The Odryssian Kingdom of Thrace. Orpheus Unmasked. Oxford, 1998.

Austin, M. 1993. Alexander and the Macedonian Invasion of Asia: Aspects of the Historiography of War and Empire in the antiquity. In Rich J., Shipley G. (eds.) War and Society in the Greek World. London and New York, 1993, 197-224.

Barr-Sharrar B. 1982. Macedonian Metal Vases in Perspective: Some Observations on Context and Traditions. In: Macedonia and Greece in the Late Classical and Early Hellenistic Times. Washington DC, 1982, 125–

Boardman, J. 2000: Persia and the West. London.

Boardman, J. 2011: ‘Persia in Europe.’ – In: Tsetskhladze, G. R. (ed.) The Black Sea, Greece, Anatolia and Europe in the First Millennium BC. Colloquia Antiqua 1, 195-201.

Boardman, J. 2015: The Greeks in Asia. London.

Borza E., Palgia O. 2007. The Chronology of the Macedonian Royal Tombs. JDAI, 122, 2007, 81–125.138.

Bozkova A. 2015. Pottery of Ancient Thrace. In: Valeva J., Nankov E., Graninger D. (eds.). Companion to Ancient Thrace. Blackwell, 2015, 229–249.

Briant, P. 2002: From Cyrus to Alexander: A History of the Persian Empire. Winona Lake, Ind.

Delemen I. 2006. An Unplundered Chamber Tomb on Canos Mountain in South eastern Thrace. AJA, 110, N2, 2006, 251–273.

Dimitrova D. 2015. The Thomb of King Seuthes III in Golyama Kosmatka Tumulus. Sofia, 2015.

Dimitrov D. P., Cičikova, M. 1978. The Thracian city of Seuthopolis. BAR suppl. 38, 1978.

Dimitrov, P. Thracian Language and Greek and Thracian Epigraphy. Cambridge, 2009.

Gergova, D. 1989. Thracian Burial Rites of the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age - Thracians and Mycenaeans. Leiden. Sofia 1989.

Greaves, A. M. 2002: Miletos. A History. London and New York.

Hind J. 1989. The Inscriptions of the Silver Phialai and Jug from Rogozen. In: Cook B. F. (ed.). Papers of the Anglo-Bulgarian Confernce 12. March 1987. London, 1989, 38–43.

Meyboom P. G. P. – The Tomb of Kazanlak recognized. In: AIPMA 2010 in Ephesos (in press)

Özdoğan, M. 1997. Early Iron Age in Eastern Thrace and the Megalithic Monuments, 29-41. Thracians and Phrygians: Problems and Parallelism. Proceeding of an International Symposium on the Archaeology, History and Ancient Languages of Thrace and Phrygia. Ankara. 1995.

Painter K.1987. Inscriptions on Fourth-Century Silver from Bulgaria.  – In: B.F. Cook (ed.) The Rogozen Treasure: Papers of the Anglo-Bulgarian Conference, 12 March 1987, London. British Museum Publications for the Trustees of the British Museum, 73–81.

Palagia O. 2011. Hellenistic Art. In: Lane Fox R. (eds.) Brill's Companion to Ancient Macedon: Studies in Archaeology and History of Macedon, 650 BC - 300 AD, Leiden 2011.

Secunda N. V. 2010. The Macedonian Army, in Roisman J., Worthington I. (ed.), A Companion to Ancient Macedonia, Oxford, 2010, 446-71.

Shalganova. T., Gotzev. A. 1995: 'Problems of research on the Early Iron Age' in D . W. Bailey, I. Panayotov (eds). Prehistoric Bulgaria (Monographs in World Archaeology 22). Madison, Wisconsin, 327-43.

Steadman, S. R., McMahon, G. (eds.) 2011: Oxford Handbook of Ancient Anatolia. 10,000 – 323 B.C.E. Oxford University Press.

Stoyanov, T. 1997. Early Iron Age Tumular Necropolis. Sofia. 1997.

Stoyanov T., Stoyanova D. 2015. Early Tombs of Thrace – Questions of the Chronology and the Cultural Context. In: Henry O., Kelp U. (eds.). Tumulus as Sema: Space, Politics, Culture and Religion in the First Millennium BC. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2015.

Theodossiev, N. 2000. North-Western Thrace from the Fifth to First Centuries BC. Oxford (British Archaeological Reports, International Series 859).

Theodossiev, N. 1995. The Sacred Mountain of the Ancient Thracians - Thracia 11.

Theodossiev, N. 1998. The Dead with Golden Faces: Dasaretian, Pelagonian, Mygdonian and Boeotian Funeral Masks - Oxford Journal of Archaeology 17/3.

Theodossiev, N. 1998. Sanctuaries and Cult Places in Northwestern Thrace during the 1st Millenium BC - Archaeologia Bulgarica 2.

Tonkova M. 2013. Gold Wreaths from Thrace. In: Sirbu V., Stefanescu R. (eds.). The Thracians and their neighbors in the Bronze and Iron Ages. Proceedings of the 12th International Congress of Thracology, Targovishte, 10–14 September 2013, “Necropoliseis, Cult Places, Religion, Mythology”, v. II. Brasov, 2013 Tonkova, M. 1997. Traditions and Aegean Influences on The Jewellery of Thracian Early Hellenistic Times. -  Archaeologia Bulgarica 2, 18-31.

Tsetskhladze, G. R. 1998. Who Built the Skythian and Thracian royal and elite tombs? – Oxford journal of Archaeology, 17, 1, 55-92.

Tzochev, Ch. 2006. Between The Black Sea and the Aegean: the Diffusion of Greek Trade Amphorae in Southern Thrace. In: Kassab Tezgör D., Inaishvili N. (eds.). PATABS, Production and Trade of Amphorae at the Black Sea. Actes de la Table Ronde Internationale de Batoumi et Trabzon, 27-19 Avril 2006.

Tzochev, Ch. 2012. Transport Amphora Production in the Interior of Ancient Thrace. New Data from the Hellenistic City of Seuthopolis and the Kazanlkak Valley. EllKer, 2012.

Valeva, J.2008. Gold and Silver Vessels from Ancient Thrace. Pytha. Part II. Bulletin of Miho Museum, Japan VII-VIII, 2008, 3, 9-38.

Valeva, J. 2006. Gold and Silver Vessels from Ancient Thrace. Phiale. Part I. Bulletin of Miho Museum, Japan VI, 2006, 3, 19-37.

Valeva, J., Nankov, E., Graninger, D. (ed.) 2015. A Companion to Ancient Thrace, Wiley Blackwell, 2015.

Vassileva, M. 2001: ‘Further considerations on the cult of Kybele’. – Anatolian Studies 51, 51-63.

Vassileva, M. 2008 : ‘Achaemenid Interfaces: Thracian and Anatolian representations of elite status.’ – International Congress of Classical Archaeology. Meetings Between Cultures in the Ancient Mediterranean. Bollettino di Archeologia On line. Roma, 37-46. http://www.bollettinodiarcheologiaonline.beniculturali.it/bao_document/articoli/4_Vassileva_paper.pdf

Vassileva, M. 2008: ‘King Midas in Southeastern Anatolia’. – In: Billie Jean Collins, Mary R. Bachvarova  and Ian C. Rutherford (eds.) Anatolian Interfaces: Hittites, Greeks and their Neighbors. Proceedings of an International Conference on Cross-Cultural Interaction, September 17-19, 2004, Emory University, Atlanta, GA. Oxford: Oxbow Books, 168-174.

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Vickers, M. 1991. Persian, Thracian and Greek Gold and Silver. Question of Metrology. In: Sancisi-Weedenburge H., Kuhrt (eds.). Achaemenid History VI, Asia Minor and Egypt old Cultures in a New Empire. Leiden, 1991, 31–39.

Villing, A. 2005: The Greeks in the East. London.

Zimi, E. 2011. Late Classical and Hellenistic Plate from Macedonia. Oxford, 2011.