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The Aigina treasure

The Aigina treasure, a rich collection of jewellery in gold and semi-precious stones, and a single golden cup, is one of the most important groups of jewellery to have survived from the Greek Bronze Age. Its history, both ancient and modern, is still rather unclear. When it came to the British Museum in the late nineteenth century it was reported to have been found on the island of Aigina. Its identification was a puzzle, and its age greatly underestimated. The world of Minoan Crete was discovered early in the twentieth century, but it was not until some fifty years later that the Treasure was identified as being largely of Minoan Cretan workmanship. It is now thought to have been made between about 1850 and 1550 BC.

We know that Minoan colonists lived on Aigina, and the treasure could have come from one or more of their tombs. However, we may never know the exact circumstances of its discovery, and both technical and artistic aspects of the Treasure continue to fascinate, and to be the subject of scholarly research.

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Polynesian objects from early European exploration, £19.99

Polynesian objects from early European exploration, £19.99