Facebook Twitter

SCHOLARS GET GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY TO VIEW TROY’S TREASURES AT LAST

SHARE SCHOLARS GET GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY TO VIEW TROY’S TREASURES AT LAST

Archaeologist Machteld Mellink has waited years to view the golden treasures of ancient Troy. Now she and four other scholars will be able to examine the artifacts, which were hidden in Russia for half a century.

"Most of these treasures come from excavations," said Mellink, who's excavated at the ancient Grecian city in western Turkey.The relics had been stored in Berlin but vanished in 1945. The former Soviet Union was long suspected of hiding them. In August 1993, Russia's Culture Ministry announced it had them.

Now housed in a vault in Moscow's Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, the cache of hundreds of items includes not only spectacular golden diadems and exquisite inlaid jewelry but also rare ax handles and "elaborate and handsome vessels," such as pitchers and two-handled cups, Mellink said.

Mellink of Bryn Mawr College will be spending three days in October with the collection, along with Manfred Korfmann of Germany, Donald Easton of the United Kingdom, and Mehmet Ozdogan and Wolfgang Radt, both of Turkey.

The relics will help tell the story of the prosperous capital that thrived on trade between Europe and Asia more than 4,000 years ago.

In 1873, German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann discovered the hoard in the ruins of Troy. He uncovered gold, silver and bronze buried in shaft graves. Schliemann named the treasure after Priam, the Trojan king in Homer's epic "The Iliad."

Hoping to keep the collection intact, Schliemann smuggled it out of Turkey. In 1881 he grudgingly turned it over to the government of Germany, where the relics were displayed in Berlin's Ethnographic Museum. In 1932 they became part of a new museum.

When British bombers began hitting the German capital, the collection was packed into the largest of six massive anti-aircraft towers. Museum officials were dispersing many artworks to safety in caves, castles, mine shafts and monasteries by early 1945.

But the Trojan gold disappeared.

It now appears that in 1945 Soviet troops secretly transferred three large crates containing not only the Schliemann collection but also famous art masterpieces to hiding places inside Russia.