How was the oldest gold in the world found?
In the year 1972, during the age of the developed socialism, as they called it in yet another congress of BKP (the Bulgarian Communist Party) in the industrial area of Varna, not far from the Varna lake, the digging of a regular cable route between two enterprises began.
The bagger-driver Raicho P., a 21-year-old man from a village in the outskirts of Varna called Asparuhovo (at present a neighborhood of Varna), was with some annoyance digging and pouring the soil away from the canal. Suddenly the bagger sunk slightly and a hole opened in the canal underneath it. The driver came out and curiously examined the hole. He dug a bit with his hands and in the dirt he came across a couple of dirty-yellow pieces of metal with strange shapes. He took a few and thought about it. Up until that point Raicho had seen plenty of gold – rings, crowns – but that didn’t seem like gold to him. Nevertheless he dug, collected all the yellow pieces he could find and put them in his pockets.
And that’s how the Chalcolithic gold saw the light of day for the first time.
The driver didn’t initially realize he was holding gold. As the subsequent examinations showed, the gold was extremely pure – 24 carats, but its color was too yellow and pale, it didn’t correspond to the modern idea of a golden ornament, which has a warmer and redder color.
The driver guessed that the yellow pieces of metal could be golden and carried them in his pocket for a few days afterwards. He showed them to friends, he asked around. He suspected, of course, that they could be some sort of antics and one day it occurred to him to show them to archeologists, who worked in Dulgopol in the Varna area.
They told him there that the objects were valuable and that he mustn’t damage them. They immediately understood that it was probably a rare finding, but they didn’t say it directly and instead in the typical fashion of the time they called the Varna museum and the police. The driver Raicho was rudely taken into custody to explain where he had found the items. He quickly confessed everything and took the archeologists of the museum to the place.
But the gold isn’t the most precious thing in the Varna necropolis, it’s actually the information, which the archeologists gathered in the subsequent years. Away from its location, the gold is simply an old item, which is traded, having lost its priceless value as historical evidence and a source of information.
That’s how during the year 1972 the archeologist Ivan Ivanov, now passed, began discovering the Varna necropolis. He worked at the site for 20 years and right at the start earned his nickname Ivan The Gold, because of the huge amount of golden decorations, which were found there.
It turned out that the bagger-driver had dug right at the center of the necropolis, where the richest funerals were held. If he had been in its periphery he would have hardly noticed anything.