|Replicas of objects discovered in the Eberswalde Hoard from Berlin's|
Museum fur Vor- und Fruhgeschichte.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
One hundred years ago...
On May 16, 1913, workers were digging a foundation for a new house on the property of a brass factory in
When the workers opened it, they discovered five and a half pounds of beautifully designed gold objects. Stored within eight elaborately ornamented gold bowls, they found 73 smaller gold objects including neck rings, arm spirals, and bracelets.
Intermittent research over the past century has pegged the Eberswalde Hoard as probably dating to the 9th or 10th century BC, a time known by archaeologists as the Late European Bronze Age. They come from roughly the same time as when Homer was composing his epics and Solomon was reigning as king of
Israel. You don’t hear much about European culture
during this period. The Eberswalde Hoard
offers a tantalizing glimpse into the high levels of craftsmanship achieved in
some Bronze Age European communities, over a thousand years before the Romans began calling the northern Europeans “barbarians.”
The rest of the story of the Eberswalde Hoard is singularly discouraging, a litany of nearly everything that went wrong in the 20th century. It was initially interpreted by many German scholars as evidence of German racial superiority. The items survived the fall of
Berlin in World War II, only to have Soviet troops quietly remove the Eberswalde
Hoard from its museum storage and carry it back as war loot to Russia. For the following six decades, this great archaeological
resource was lost to science.
In 2004, Der Spiegel revealed that the Eberswalde Hoard was in storage at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in
Moscow. Despite attempts by German cultural
authorities to reclaim their treasure, the Eberswalde Hoard remains in the
collection of the . Fortunately, now that its existence has
finally been acknowledged, the museum has increased accessibility to scholars
and to the public through exhibitions. Pushkin
© 2013 Lee Price