The remains of an ancient Thracian noblewoman that was ritually dismembered has been unearthed along with bronze and silver jewelry buried with her in a rock tomb in the Rhodope Mountains in Bulgaria.
Researchers are speculating the “Thracian princess,” as she is being called, was torn apart after death during ceremonies linked to the Orphic mysteries about 2,300 years ago. Dismemberment was not a mark of disfavor but rather an honor accorded to Thracian nobility and clerics.
The woman had a Greek silver coin that was possibly placed under her tongue as an obol or offering to Charon, the mythical figure of Greece, Rome and Thrace who ferried the dead across the rivers Styx and Acheron into their afterlife in Hades.
The body of the woman was in five pieces with her skull propped up on two rocks and sitting on a silver tiara, says the blog Archaeology in Bulgaria. The ancient people hewed her grave into the rock of the mountains. The archaeologist who discovered the burial, Assistant Professor Lyubin Leshtakov of the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology in Sofia, speculates there may be a necropolis or rock mausoleum there and hopes to find more graves, the blog states.