Some of the oldest and largest gold treasures have been found in Europe. These priceless finds of exquisite gold-work are now housed in museums for the world to marvel at. Whilst you may want to take a metal detector to your next holiday on the Black Sea coast (you need a license) perhaps it’s easier to look for your own golden treasure here.
TheVarna Necropolis, Bulgaria
The Varna burial site in Bulgaria is internationally considered one of the key archaeological sites in world prehistory. The oldest golden treasure in the world, dating from 4,600 BC to 4,200 BC, the treasure was discovered, by accident, in 1972 by Raycho Marinov, an excavator operator working on the industrial site.
Some graves at the Varna Necropolis do not contain a skeleton, but are symbolic graves containing gold artifacts. In all, three thousand gold artifacts were found with a weight of approximately six kilograms. Grave 43 contained more gold than has been found in the entire rest of the world for that era.
The artifacts can be seen at the Varna Archaeological Museum and at the National Historical Museum in Sofia. The Varna gold started touring the world in 1973 visiting Asia, America and Europe and were also featured in a cover story by the National Geographic Magazine.
The Pietroasele treasure, Romania
The Pietroasele treasure (or the Petrossa Treasure) was discovered in 1837. The treasure features late 4th century gothic gold, including 22 gold objects. It is among the most famous examples of the polychrome style of Migration Period art. Of the twenty-two pieces, only twelve have survived, conserved at the National Museum of Romanian History in Bucharest. There is a large eagle-headed fibula and three smaller ones encrusted with semi-precious stones; a patera (a round sacrificial dish) modelled with Orphic figures surrounding a seated three-dimensional goddess in the centre; a twelve-sided cup, a ring with a Gothic runic inscription, a large tray, two other necklaces and a pitcher. The treasure contain multiple styles including Han Chinese styles in the belt buckles, Hellenistic styles in the golden bowls, Sasanian motifs in the baskets, and Germanic fashions in the fastenings.
The treasure was shipped to Russia in December 1916 for safe-keeping and was returned in 1956.
The Panagyuriste treasure, Bulgaria
This literally priceless Bulgarian treasure was discovered by the three Deikovi brothers in1949. Their first find was a ceremonial drinking horn, which they originally thought was a whistle. There were also golden decanters, a kind of dish, and a vase, all of which were thought to have been used in religious rites. In total, there was more than 6kg worth of solid gold found, carved into elaborate shapes and intricately decorated.
*Images courtesy of Wikipedia.org