with Bisser Hantev, one of the greatest patriotic oriented archaeologists in contemporary Bulgaria
Bulgarian media reported on Jan 10, 2013 that Neno Kostov-Emperor, a leader of a treasure-hunters' network has been arrested in Bulgaria. This is one of consequences of the large program of the current Bulgarian government to reorganize archaeology and culture in Bulgaria and to develop a new strong program of preservation of the Bulgarian archaeological heritage including reorganization of professional archaeology. Unfortunately, exotic media messages by professional archaeologists like Bozhidar Dimitrov and Diana Gergova (former communists) create the impression that often there are may hard to see differences between treasure-hunters and professional archaeologists in Bulgaria. Covering the whole country with large excavations, the professional archaeologists shadow the activities of the treasure-hunters. Also, it seems professional archaeologists have been in fact re-discovering in some cases finds got from treasure-hunters. All above explain why soon after the arrest there was a permission Neno Kostov to have left the arrest division of Plovdiv police paying only 3,000 Bulgarian leva (abt $2,000).
It is believed that Neno Kostov-Emperor, known as Bulgarian Indiana Jones, had earned millions of dollars from ancient, in particular Thracian treasures. Ironically, he lives in Hissar, a historical city, not far from the extraordinary Thracian Tomb Starosel, which according to media was one of the sources of his wealth. Kostov is also reported in the media as the leader of the largest network in Bulgaria for illegal trade of antiques. He has the complete support of his mother and wife living in a family with a mafia-like structure.
Increasing of the global interest and research on the Bulgarian treasure-hunter networks will assist the efforts of the Bulgarian government to protect the heritage since Bulgarian archaeologists still have not turned critically toward their past and current social practices – a fact that stimulates treasure-hunting.
There is a foundation America for Bulgaria which can sponsor projects of deep critical analyses of the reason of popularity of treasure-hunting in Bulgaria and of Bulgarian professional archaeology. This is what Bulgarian nation all over the world needs at this moment – funds which will reveal the past and will stimulate rebirth of strong feeling of preservation of the Bulgarian cultural heritage.