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Great Treasures of History

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Presentation on theme: "Great Treasures of History"— Presentation transcript:

1 Great Treasures of History

2 The Tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamen
Found in 1922 by British archaeologist Howard Carter Sponsored by Lord Carnavon Value has been estimated from several million to a billion dollars Searching for over 30 years, 5 in Valley of the Kings

3 The Dead Sea Scrolls Originally discovered in 1946 by Bedouin shepherds Scholars took interest and the caves were explored from Oldest religious text from 408 BCE to 318 CE Found in the West Bank territory – Israeli / Palestinian At first the shepherds sold them for cheap, then scholars took interest and began collecting them Impossible to estimate monetary value

4 Terracotta Warriors Discovered in 1974 by a group of farmers who were digging wells Terracotta soldiers surrounding the tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang 2,000 soldiers recovered so far It is estimated that there may be more than 8,000 total. The tomb of Qin Shi Huang remains untouched. Terracotta warriors surround the tomb of China’s first emperor, Quin Shi Huang, who died in 210 BCE, after conquering six warring states to create the first unified nation of China. When he died, Qin Shi Huang was buried in the most opulent tomb complex ever constructed in China, a sprawling, city-size collection of underground caverns containing everything the emperor would need for the afterlife. The ancient Chinese, along with many cultures including ancient Egyptians, believed that items and even people buried with a person could be taken with him to the afterlife. But instead of burying his armies, concubines, administrators and servants with him, the Qin emperor came up with an alternative: clay reproductions. In 1974, a group of farmers digging wells in central China stumbled upon one of the most shocking archaeological discoveries of all time. The life-size terracotta solider they dug out of the ground turned out to be just one of an army of thousands, each utterly unique, with individual clothing, hair and facial features. For almost four decades, archaeologists have been excavating the site. So far, they've uncovered about 2,000 clay soldiers, but experts estimate there are more than 8,000 in total. Still, scientists have yet to touch the central tomb, which holds a palace containing the body of Qin Shi Huang. Ancient writings say the emperor created an entire underground kingdom and palace, complete with a ceiling mimicking the night sky, set with pearls as stars. Pits full of terracotta concubines have never been discovered, though experts predict they exist somewhere in the complex. And Qin Shi Huang's tomb is also thought to be encircled with rivers of liquid mercury, which the ancient Chinese believed could bestow immortality. This is probably how he died, by ingesting mercury. He was taking all these mercury pills because he wanted to live forever and it killed him by the age of 39. That moat of mercury also presents another reason why archaeologists are loath to explore the tomb just yet — doing so would likely be very dangerous, according to soil samples around the tomb, which indicate extremely high levels of mercury contamination. Modern archaeology is continually developing new technology which makes excavations more productive, and less damaging. Today, for example, we can recover the solders with the paint intact, whereas when we first started excavating, the pigments would just flake off. Probably a lot was lost in salvaging King Tut’s tomb because we didn’t have sufficient technology. In the end, scientists and historians must always weigh their desire to know more with the damage such inquiry would cause.

5 Bactrian Gold Treasure consists of over 20,000 gold ornaments
Originally found in 1978 by Soviet archaeologist Victor Sarianidi Disappeared during the wars in Afghanistan Rediscovered in 2003 5 people were entrusted with keys to the safe, it was locked away in a vault under the central bank Revealed after Taliban deposed Some date the treasure as far back as 2200 BCE

6 Środa Treasure POLAND First seen during the demolition of a building in 1985 People started looting the treasure after another demolition in 1988 Treasure is from Emperor Charles IV in the 1300’s The would-be emperor pawned off his treasure to a Jewish merchant to fund his campaign The merchant may have died from the plague or fled the city Value estimated at $ million

7 Panagyuriste Treasure
BULGARIA Discovered in 1949 by three brothers working at a tile factory Thracian treasure from the 3rd and 4th centuries BCE Treasure consists of over 6,000 kg of pure gold With today’s gold prices, value is over $287 million

8 Preslav Treasure BULGARIA Found in a vineyard in 1978
Treasure consisted of Byzantine and Roman artifacts dating from the 3rd to 7th centuries BCE

9 Pereshchepina Treasure
BULGARIA Discovered in 1912 by a shepherd boy in the village of Mala Pereshchepina The hoard contains over 800 pieces, including jewelry and other artifacts, some dating to 670 BCE It is rumored that the boy literally stumbled over a golden vessel and fell into the grave of the father of the founder of the First Bulgarian Empire. 4th to 7th century

10 Treasure of Nagyszentmiklós
ROMANIA A collection of twenty-three 10th century gold vessels, found in Transylvania in 1791 Scholars debate the cultural meaning of these pieces

11 Pietroasele Treasure ROMANIA Found in 1837
A late 4th century Gothic treasure Represent a significant period in art and culture

12 Treasure of Gourdon Found in France in 1845
Hoard of Byzantine gold from the 4th and 5th centuries Found by a girl beneath a cross symbol, may have been hidden at a monastery in anticipation of a raid Includes over 500,000 gold coins as well as some other items Conversion of Byzantine emperor to Christianity

13 Treasure of Nimrud IRAQ Found in 1988 by an Iraqi archeologist
Treasure consists of golden jewelry, ornaments and other Assyrian artifacts Disappeared when Kuwait invaded Iraq Rediscovered in 2003 in the basement of the central bank

14 Sri Padmanabha Swamy Temple Treasure
INDIA Revealed in 2011 Thought to be the richest temple in the world, valued at over $18 billion! Some estimates say it is worth $40 billion, and the full contents of the temple have yet to be inventoried. Surpasses the  Tirumala Venkateswara Temple worth $5 billion Hindu lawyer Ananda Padmanabhan filed a lawsuit in 2007 saying he believed there were treasure vaults, vulnerable to looting by temple officials Must be cataloged Descendants of Maharajas protest, saying it is sacred, belongs to the church, represents 500 years of collected taxes and offerings, they manage it Now under government management, but hotly contested Said to be a curse of deadly serpents in one vault, slows progress


16 Karun Treasure TURKEY The tomb of a Lydian princess, containing 7th century artifacts Found by a group of fortune-seekers in 1966 and illegally sold to the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art AKA Lydian Hoard Legal battle which lasted from The museum finally admitted that they knew the artifacts were stolen when they purchased them, and they were returned to Turkey in 1993 But the small museum didn’t have the best security In 2006, it was discovered that one artifact, a golden hippocamp (pictured), had been switched with a fake Thinking it must have been an inside job, the authorities arrested 10 museum employees Apparently, the museum director sold it to pay off gambling debts But it has been rediscovered and supposedly will be returned to the museum in Turkey

17 Treasure of Guarrazar Dug up in an orchard near Spain from 1858-1861
Treasure consists of votive crowns and gold crosses offered by the Visigoths as a gift to the Roman Catholic Church in the 7th century BCE Much of the treasure has been lost or stolen

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