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Ten­toon­stel­lings­tekst: Bronstijd

Op deze pagina vind je de teksten uit de tentoonstelling Dacia in onze grote zaal. Bewonder het goud en zilver en lees de verhalen vanaf je eigen telefoon.

Op dit moment zijn de verhalen alleen in het Engels beschikbaar. Binnenkort zullen deze er ook in het Nederlands op staan.

14. The sacred offering from Biia

Found in the Târnava Mică River bed, in a sand quarry – (Șona commune, Alba County) 
Early Iron Age – 10th-8th century BC. 
MNIR no. inv. 47584. 

A gold cup with two handles was found in 1894, during work in a sand quarry, located in the bed of Târnava Mică River. No further information was preserved about the context of the finding. The gold vessel of Biia is a masterpiece of the Early Iron Age metallurgical technology and art, produced by cold hammering from a single gold sheet. Taking into consideration the complex shape of the artefact, one could consider the goldsmith who made it as an exceptionally gifted craftsman, with an impressive ability to use the malleability offered by the gold and an exuberant decorative talent.   

The vessel from Biia represents a replica in metal of a leather bag, with two handles ending with volutes. The body of the artefact is completely covered with a decoration consisting of solar symbols – concentric circles and lines of dots, ranged on several registers. The decoration is arranged according to a cross pattern, symbolising the four corners of the Universe and the succession of the seasons. Quite likely, the gold cup from Biia was not intended to serve secular purposes, but for performing important religious rituals, connected to the Sun worship, before being offered to the gods, by concealing it in the water of the river Târnava.     

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15. The hoard from Rădeni

Found in the place “În fânaț”, located at 400 m west of the village, on the left bank of the stream Rădeauca – (Păstrăveni commune, Neamț County) 
Early Iron Age - 12th-10th century BC. 
CMNNT no. inv. 5549-5550 

The hoard was found by chance, in 1965 or 1966. No information is available about the condition of the find. It seems that originally the hoard consisted of eight golden vessels, but actually only five were retrieved. Three of them are almost completely preserved and the remaining two are severely fragmented. Quite likely, the gold vessels, two handled kantharoi and one handled cup from the Rădeni hoard represented part of an Early Iron Age “royal” banqueting set. However, all the vessels show traces of being broken before their concealment in the ground. Such a ritual destruction of the secular goods is typical for items consecrated to the gods. 

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16. The hoards from Perșinari

Imprecise finding place (Văcărești commune, Dâmbovița County) 
Middle Bronze Age – End of the 3rd millennium – first half of the 2nd millennium BC. 
MNIR no. inv. 11422, P. 23238, P. 23244. 

The conditions and the exact location of the discovery of the two hoards containing gold and electrum weapons are unknown. Quite likely, the first hoard (Perșinari I) was found in 1954, during the extraction of clay, by a local peasant. According to the investigations made by Octavian Iliescu – the former chief curator of the Coin Room of the library of the Romanian Academy – the first hoard consisted of at least a golden short sword and four or five battle axes made of electrum (a natural alloy of silver and gold). All the items from this hoard were badly damaged by the person who found them, but finally they were retrieved by the authorities.  

The second Perșinari hoard was found before 1962, in a different location, but quite near to the place where the first one was found. The second hoard consisted of at least 12 gold daggers. Most of them, 11, were retrieved in 1962, and the last one, badly damaged, was retrieved in 1977.  

The items of the Perșinari hoards were submitted to a thorough set of atomic and nuclear analyses. The sword was produced by casting in a stone mould, a normal technology used during the Bronze Age, but its handle has raised a set of interesting questions. The analyses of the traces of metal preserved on the edge of the blade offered a major scholarly surprise. It appeared to be made of brass, an alloy of copper and zink, being the oldest item of such kind known so far in Europe. The handle was soldered to the blade, also a technical innovation in the metallurgy of the Middle Bronze Age in South-Eastern Europe.    

The analyses of the metal content of the 12 daggers has proven that they were made from an artificial alloy consisting of gold, silver and copper. The silver and copper were intentionally added to the gold to enhance the mechanical strength of the artefacts. Surface investigations have shown that the daggers exhibit different stages of completion in their production. Some seem to be freshly cast, retaining their rough appearance as they were when they left the bivalve moulds. Meanwhile others were almost finished, being polished and ready to be used. However, none of the daggers was ever used, because all of them are lacking the holes to fix the handles. 

The battle axes pose other interesting technological questions, being made by hammering a mass of incompletely melted nuggets of a natural alloy of silver and gold. 

The content of the two hoards from Perșinari represent a unique find among the hundreds of other finds of gold artefacts found on the Romanian territory, dated during the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age. The typology of the sword exhibits some early Mycenaean influence, whereas the raw material used to produce the battle axes could be of Anatolian or Caucasian origin, as such ores are absent in the Carpathian area. Unfortunately, they are completely broken into small fragments and it is difficult to assert them to a certain typological class or group. The shape of the daggers has no parallel in the typology of the bronze weapons commonly found in the contemporary Bronze Age cultures in the region in which the hoards of Perșinari were found (Central Wallachia), or in broader sense, in the territories located north of the Danube. However, analyses of their surface has shown that the daggers seem to be locally produced, quite likely by an itinerant craftsman.   

In spite of being only partly preserved and often in poor state of preservation, the items contained in the two hoards of Perșinari could be considered among the most important finds in precious metals from Bronze Age Europe.  They represent an exceptionally rare find of parade, symbolic weapons from the Bronze Age, highlighting the ideology, everyday life and cultural environment of the highest ranking members of the military and political elites.    

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