Gold Treasure of Nagyszentmiklos Goes on Display in Sofia

Society » ARCHAEOLOGY | April 6, 2017, Thursday // 08:52
Bulgaria: Gold Treasure of Nagyszentmiklos Goes on Display in Sofia EPA/BGNES

The Gold Treasure of Nagyszentmiklos, the largest known hoard of early medieval vessels, will be on display at Sofia's National Archaeological Institute and Museum (NAIM) between April 6 and July 9, according to BTA.

 The collection has left the lands of the former Habsburg Empire for the first time, NAIM Director Lyudmil Vagalinski told a news conference on Wednesday. It has so far been displayed in its entirety only in Budapest and Vienna.

The hoard is part of the permanent exposition of the Art History Museum in Vienna. It includes 23 items, 22 of which are originals and one is a replicated cup. They are made of gold of 20 to 22 carats, with two exceptions. All vessels were hammered, with ornaments engraved in deep relief.

The Treasure of Nagyszentmiklos was discovered accidentally in the Banat region of the Habsburg Empire in 1799. Its total weight is about 10 kg. It is remarkable for its quality and precision of craftsmanship, and the engraved compositions are superbly consummate. Numerous studies have failed to definitively answer the questions about who owned the vessels, whether they were owned by one or more persons, and how and why the treasure was hidden. Some of the vessels exhibit direct links to Christianity, while others are associated with a mythology unknown to us. Various theories have suggested that the treasure may be of Hun, Avar, Hungarian, Sasanian, Pecheneg, or Byzantine origin.

According to one theory, it is associated with the First Bulgarian State, probably with one of the rulers of medieval Bulgaria's northwestern Transdanubian region (today's Banat). Studies over the last few decades have revealed that the treasure was gathered over a long period of time, from the late 7th to the late 8th century AD, and seem to confirm its links to the Avar culture.

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Tags: gold treasure, National Archaeological Institute and Museum, Hamburg Empire
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