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Greek Jewelry, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 912

Essay

Objective

The objective of this study is to examine the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City Greek jewelry collection. The Metropolitan Museum of Art houses the Greek Jewelry  collection that took fifteen years to complete .

The Greek and Roman Galleries

Liu (2008) writes that included in the material for viewing in the Metropolitan Museum of Art galleries are ornaments comprised of “metal, amber, glass, and stone”. According to Liu, these objects are distributed across the various exhibits but are abundant in the mezzanine galleries and most particularly in the study collection. Included in the collections are such items as “spindle whorls” comprised of both terracotta and bronze along with various objects and tools created from the same materials or through use of the same types of techniques as the ornaments on display. Arts featured from south Italy are reported to include “molded terracotta plaques with glass inlays” which were created in the latter part of the fourth century B.C. and which brings to mind the Zhou Dynasty of China and its utilization of inlaid glass. Also featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibits are mosaic face beads created in Rome which are believed to represent “either Medusa or an attractive woman with a necklace” believed by many to be the alternate ego of Medusa. (Liu, 2008, p.39)

Gold Find

The work of Maugh (2005) reports a find of approximately 15,000 “…small pieces of crafted gold” that came from graves that were more than 4,500 years old from central Bulgaria which included beads, earrings, and other small artifacts that were assumed to be buried in the grave of a leader such as  “…chieftain or king” prior to the 23rd century BC. (Maugh, 2005) The find is reported in a small village and specifically that of Dabene located 75 east of Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria and is believed to be dated around the time of the ancient city of Troy. It is held that the gold may have been produced in Troy by gold workers in the northwestern part of Turkey and other areas known as cultural centers such as the Grecian Mycenae. It is indicated by the findings in gold that there was a “very impressive social elite” in the village which could be “compared with that of Troy” according to one archeologist working in the area but who did not participate in this particular find.

These are reported as the first cemeteries that have been discovered from the Bronze Age period and the graves are reported to indicate that the village was linked closely to eastern and western cultures. According to the archeologist Lolita Nikolova, “These discoveries will rewrite all the prehistory of the Balkans.” (Maugh, 2005) The discovery began when two archeologists noticed as necklace on a woman at a cigarette shop in the city of Dabene and who informed them that her husband had discovered the necklace while he was plowing in the fields.

The farmer led the archeologists to the cemetery which was inclusive of four burial mounds approximately 6 yards in diameter and which are reported to have projected above the ground about one inch. When the graves were opened, the bodies in them had undergone cremation. The graves contained bronze knives and pottery with one grave containing 21 pieces of gold and one containing more than 15,000 pieces including “small beads, rings, and fine spirals”. (Maugh, 2005) This is not the first such find in the region.

 

Earlier studies are reported to have demonstrated that the area in which this find was made was the location of some of the first workers of gold in the world. These workers reportedly mined the mountains in Carpathia and Sredna Gora approximately 6,700 years ago as well as panning the rivers in that area, which were rich with gold. There have been in excess of 3,000 artifacts found on the Black Sea coast at Varna, which are believed to be from the fifth millennium BC comprised in excess of 13 pounds of gold.

In another discovery, artifacts from more recent period have been found to include “a 4th century gold wreath, a gold cup, and a plate-sized gold mask.” (Maugh, 2005) The discoveries in Dabene are stated to make provision of a critical link between the more recent and the older discoveries, which is stated to indicate, “that gold production may have been a continuous process in the region over many millenniums.” (Maugh, 2005) However, it is stated that no one knows who the workers of the gold were but it is known that the Thracians occupied the region. The Thracians are reported to have been a culture characterized by power and under the rule of a “priest-king”. (Maugh, 2005) There was no written language of the Thracians and they were considered as barbarians by the ancient Greek culture. The archaeologist leading the find has referred to the workers of gold of Dabene as “proto-Thracians” and expresses hopes that there will be more excavations, which will provide more evidence about this culture.

Summary and Conclusion

Ancient jewelry provides information about ancient cultures in terms of what they believed, how they lived, and demonstrates that humankind has for many millenniums adorned themselves with jewelry.

 

 

Bibliography

Liu, Robert K. (2008) Jewelry of the Classical World: The Met’s New Greek & Roman Galleries. Ornament. 13 Mar 2008.

Maugh, Thomas (2005) The World: Treasure of Ancient Gold Discovered in Bulgaria; Jewelry Was Found in Burial Mounds Dating Back 4,500 years. Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, Calif. 23 Aug 2005:A.3.

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