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Exhibition “Gold and Bronze. Metals, Technologies and Networks in the Eastern Balkans during the Bronze Age”


In the last months of 2017 the National Archaeological Institute with Museum is pleased to present to its guests Gold and Bronze. Metals, technologies and networks in the Eastern Balkans during the Bronze Age, one of the largest exhibitions organized in recent years. The exhibition is a continuation of the one presented in May 2017 in the Kunsthistorisches Museum – Vienna, entitled The First Gold: Ada Tepe – The Earliest Goldmine in Europe, and it is dedicated to the Bulgarian and Austrian presidencies of the Council of the European Union in 2018. The exposition is inspired by the research project Bronze Age gold road of the Balkans – Ada Tepe mining: producers and consumers, between the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (ΝΑΙΜ-ΒΑS) and the Institute for Oriental and European Archaeology (OREA) at the Austrian Academy of Science.

The exhibition Gold and Bronze is actually the largest one dedicated particularly to the Bronze Age on the Balkans that has been organized and presented in Bulgaria. It includes over 600 artefacts which demonstrate the role of the eastern parts of the Balkan Peninsula as a crossroad for the exchange of ideas, technologies and raw materials; a place where the main cultures of the ancient world met – the Aegean-Anatolian, the Eastern Hallstatt, the cultures of the North Black Sea region and others, and in particular the role of the Bulgarian lands as a main provider of raw materials during the Bronze Age. The exhibition presents representative finds of precious metal such as the treasures from Vulchitran and Barzitsa, items of gold, silver, bronze and ceramics from the necropolis at Dubene, the collective finds from Yankovo and Zdravets, as well as finds that provide valuable information for the technology and technical skills, the cultural exchange and long-distance trade, represented by the collective finds from Pobit Kamuk and Mogilitsa, including numerous stone molds for casting various bronze items – arms, scepters, tools, adornments and so on. Among the raw material for the production of bronze items are the copper ingots which testify to the developed trade in the region of the Eastern Mediterranean and Europe during the Bronze Age. A special role in the exhibition is taken by the finds from the gold mine of Ada Tepe – the earliest investigated so far gold extraction mine in Europe.

The advance of society and technologies in the Bronze Age, the cultural contacts and the finds of precious metal, the progress of mining and metallurgy into separate crafts, are illustrated not only by the numerous finds, but also by multimedia and 3D reconstructions. The main topics of the exhibition are examined also in a catalogue. In this way we hope to attract the interest as well as to satisfy the curiosity of both specialists and the general public.

The exhibition will be on display till 28 January 2018. You are welcome!