The First Gold – Treasures from Bulgaria at Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

The First Gold

On March 7th the Kunsthistorisches Museum opens an exhibition showcasing Europe’s oldest goldmine together with the largest Bronze Age gold hoard ever discovered.

A few years ago the sensational discovery of Europe’s oldest goldmine at Ada Tepe (Bulgaria) made international headlines. In collaboration with the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and using state-of-the-art technology, scholars are trying to determine if this
is where the gold used for the artefacts comprising Priam’s legendary treasure and those found in the royal graves at Mycenae was mined. Recent scholarly findings form the basis for this exhibition, which looks at, among other things, transnational Bronze Age trade routes and the role of gold as an elite status symbol.

Europe’s oldest prehistoric gold mine was located in Bulgaria’s Rhodope Mountains, labeled under the unassuming name Ada Tepe. The site is an archaeological sensation. From as early as 1500 B.C. until the end of the Bronze Age around 1000 B.C. the precious metal was mined here. In 2016 scholars from the Austrian and the Bulgarian Academies of Sciences began to study the finds.

Selected artefacts from the largest Bronze-Age hoard are now on show for the first time in the exhibition “The First Gold”. A virtual reconstruction and finds from the mine document the lives of the people who toiled there. The Valchitran Treasure which comprises gold objects weighing around 12,5 kilograms, forms the center of the show. It symbolizes the wealth and the technical skills of the age. Masterpieces produced in the late Classical/Hellenistic period and during the Roman Empire document the importance of Bulgarian gold, which can look back on 3500 years of history.

The exhibition is organised by the Kunsthistorisches Museum in collaboration with the National Archaeological Institute and Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, (NAIM) and the Institute for Oriental and European Archaeology (OREA) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.





Image may contain: indoor

Click to access UPCOMING_EXHIBITIONS_2017.pdf


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