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Aegina Treasure

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Aegina Treasure

The Aegina Treasure or Aigina Treasure is an important Minoan gold hoard found on the island of Aegina, Greece. The Minoan civilisation was an Aegean Bronze Age civilisation on the island of Crete and other Aegean islands which flourished from about 2600 to 1100 BC. The treasure was discovered in a tomb on the island of Aegina in 1891, although the exact circumstances have never been determined.

The Aegina Treasure is composed of gold jewellery that has been dated to the Greek bronze age between 1850 and 1550 BC. It includes two pairs of earrings, three diadems, a pendant, a bracelet, a gold cup, four rings, plaques and gold strips. There are also five interconnecting golden rings plus beads and necklaces made of a variety of materials including gold, lapis lazuli, amethyst, quartz, cornelian and green jasper. The most elaborate items are a pendant and a pair of earrings.

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Necklace details from the Aegina Treasure

The pair of earrings is designed with the main body in a hoop with a double-headed snake. Inside are two animals, possibly greyhounds, over two monkeys. Around the circle are fourteen short chains, alternating ending in golden discs and figures of owls.

The pendant seems to represent a Cretan deity in a field of lotus flowers flanked by two geese in a field. The background is composed of two unidentified objects that are considered to be either connected to “cult horns”, the sacred horns of bulls, or potentially composite bows.

Minoan Master of Animals jewellery

A pendant from the Aegina Treasure

Aegina the island where this treasure hoard was found is one of the Saronic Islands of Greece about 17 miles from Athens. During ancient times Aegina was a rival of Athens, the great sea power of the era. During the Minoan period trade, between Crete and Aegean and Mediterranean settlements, was wide-spread and through their traders and artists, the Minoan cultural influence became dominant. The reason for the end of the Minoan period is unclear. Theories include Mycenaean invasions from mainland Greece or the volcanic eruption of Thera.

Other Treasure Discoveries

Aegina Treasure

  • Title:                Aegina Treasure
  • Date:                1850 and 1550 BC
  • Period:            Minoan
  • Findspot:        Aegina, Greece
  • Materials:        Gold, lapis lazuli, amethyst, quartz, cornelian and green jasper
  • Museum:         The British Museum

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Photo Credit: 1) By Einsamer Schütze [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons