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Home » Exhibit of August 2022: Stone sarcophagus discovered in the village of Archar (Ratiaria), Dimovo Municipality, Vidin Region
Exhibit of August 2022: Stone sarcophagus discovered in the village of Archar (Ratiaria), Dimovo Municipality, Vidin Region

08/2022

Second half of 2nd c.

Height – 1,45 m; Length – 2,47 м; Width – 1,25 m

The sarcophagus is made of limestone and consists of two parts. The lid is sculpted as double-edged tiled roof with acroteria shaped as sphinxes, situated on each of the four corners, and two triangular pediments with a representation of Medusa. The receptacle is profiled in the upper and lower part. The walls have rich relief decoration. On one of the long walls are shaped garlands of flowers, leaves, and bunches of grapes, supported by the two Genius of Death, stepped over pedestals. In the centre is depicted a Thracian horseman (Heros), riding in slow canter to the left, toward an altar and a three with a snake coiled around it. The decoration includes two theatre masks in profile and the heads of a satyr, a silenus, and a lion. In the four corners of the receptacle mythological figures are shaped (Victoriae and snake-legged giants), supporting the garlands. On each of the two short sides of the receptacle, there is a garland and a lion’s head. On the second of the sarcophagus’ long walls are depicted garlands, hanging on bull heads (bucrania), as well as three flowers thick with leaves.  Considered in Antiquity as the last dwelling of the deceased, the sarcophagus distinguishes with exquisite decoration, intended to chase away the bad spirits. The style relates the sarcophagus to some of the Eastern Mediterranean masonry workshops, but the presence of the Thracian horseman allows the hypothesis that some images might have been added in a local environment, according to the client’s wish.

The sarcophagus was is discovered within a brick-built tomb in the necropolis of Ratiaria.

Bibliography:

Б. Филов. Избрани паметници на античното изкуство в България. – Известия на Българското археологическо дружество, Ι, 1910 (1910), 8-16.