Tezaurul de la Turnu-Măgurele

Cercetări Arheologice 10, 1997, 325-335

Tezaurul de la Turnu-Măgurele

Authors: Doina Leahu




The treasure was found accidentally in March 4/5 1880, while planting a tree somewhere at Turnu Măgurele (a town situated quite near bu the Danube . Five gold cuff-bracelets, one cuff-bracelet made out of electronum one small tubular item, 433 gold rings (among them one lock-ring) and about 70 fragments of items of electronum (initially considered silver items) were found on that occasion. It seems that a mould for casting adornments was discovered there, too.

We can talk about some doubts as far as the initial structure of the treasure is concerned because neither the authorities nor any specialist were there. The special literature pointed out and sometimes emphasized these uncertainties .

This treasure became part of the patrimony of the National Museum of Antiquities of Bucharest except for one cuff-bracelet and 2- gold rings. These were kept for a while in Mihai l Kogălniceanu’s collection – a great politician and scholar. Finally, they were given to the same museum.

In 1916 the treasure from Turnu Măgurele was sent to Moscow together with other valuables the cultural patrimony of Romania. It came back in 1956.

Now this treasure is exhibited at the National History-Museum of Romania and it consist of the following items:

Five gold cuff-bracelets With horizontally turned up edges. Small oblique incisions decorate the edges of the three of these items. Their height is between 6.3 and 8.8 cm. Փ between 6.7 – 7.6 cm and their weight between 50.92 and 126.09 gm.
One cuff-bracelet made out of electrum with no ornament: Its height is 5.3 cm, maximum Փ24 cm and weight 58:008 gm.
One heart-shaped lock-ring made but of gold ingot with a triangular section and boat-shaped endings; maximum Փ6 cm, weight 3.88 gm.
one tubular item made out of a gold leaf is decorated with parallel horizontal lines and zig-zag rows; height: 2.8 cm. Փ14 cm, weight: 5.95 gm:

420 rings made out of gold leaf; two of them are bigger with Փ between 1.5 and 1.6 cm and weights between 1.28 and 1 .42 gm. The other ones are smaller With between 7 mm and 1 cm.

The contributions regarding the chronology and culture of the treasure are but few and controversially. This fact could be partially explained by the unusual circumstances of its discovery.

In 1883 Mihai l Sutzu gave a numismatic interpretation to this treasure. He considered that its items are monetary values inspired by the coins of Cyzic and Persians. He dated this discovery in the 5th c. B.C. Such an interpretation was accepted by Vasile Pârvan as well. The great Romanian: scholar reconsidered several times the treasure from Turnu Măgurele stating that besides „coin-rings”, the cuff bracelets and the tubular item could have been pieces from a canopy „in a Scythian style”. Vasile Pârvan dated the treasure in the 6t h c B.C. and he said that „it reveals the penetrating of the Greek ideas and products in the Geto Thracian country nearly at the same time with the Iranian shapes …”. In the last year of the 4th decade Bucur Mitrea contested Sutzu’s numismatic Interpretation. In 1958 Ecaterina Sutzu’s theory and his dating had to be given up. She considered that the treasure from Tumu Măgurele consists mainly in adornments. She dated the discovery in the Bronze Age with regard to the lock-ring. Amalja Mozsollcs agreed with this theory mentioning her opinion in a paper, published in 1965. On the contrary in 1971, Anastasia Mantevici wrote that she could establish typological similarities between the gold rings from Tumu Măgurele and the „ring-shaped pearls” from Maikop made out of electrum and silver. In 1974 Vladimir Dumitréscu stated that Ecaterina Vulpe’s dating was uncertain because the lock-ring might have not belonged to the treasure.

Several aspects should be pointed out as far the theories about the treasure from Turnu Măgurele are concerned. None of the analogies suggested for the cuff-bracelets, the tubular item and, the gold rings are to be found on the territory of Romania or in the neighboring areas; on the contrary, they were found in Bohemia, Germany, Denmark, Caucasus area.

A problem comes up: how can we identify the ways and areas that brought together similar items originating from distant cultural areas. On the other hand, one should notice that the gold rings are not to be found among adornments from „the metal epoch” on the territory of Romania and in the neighboring areas; these can be found in this area in the Eneolithic. Finally, we have to say that one single item cannot be used for a precise dating of a deposit or treasure.

In the second part of our study we shall add a new hypothesis to the solutions tried up to now in order to date the treasure from Turnu Măgurele

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How to cite: Doina Leahu, Tezaurul de la Turnu-Măgurele, Cercetări Arheologice, Vol. 10, pag. 325-335, 1997, doi: https://doi.org/10.46535/ca.10.16

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