Penn Museum makes deal with Turkey for 'Troy gold'

Sep 05, 2012 by Kathy Matheson

(AP)—A Philadelphia archaeology museum will indefinitely loan ancient jewelry known as "Troy gold" to Turkey in an arrangement that will allow the museum to host a future exhibit of artifacts related to King Midas, officials announced Tuesday.

The deal is part of what Penn officials called a landmark agreement with the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism to work more collaboratively on field work and exhibitions over the next several years.

"It will lead to great opportunities—for Penn, for Philadelphia and for the wider archaeological community—to experience more of Turkey's rich cultural history and heritage in the future," museum director Julian Siggers said.

Ertugrul Gunay, the Turkish culture and tourism minister, said the 24 pieces of jewelry are among thousands of historical artifacts returned to the country over the past two decades, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology acquired the early Bronze Age objects in 1966 from a now-defunct art dealership. But the origin of the items—including earrings, pendants and pins—was unclear.

The purchase eventually led museum officials in 1970 to adopt a then-unusual policy of refusing to acquire artifacts of unknown provenance that might have been looted.

Siggers said the jewelry remained in storage for years. Then in 2009, scholars found a grain of dirt on one piece that allowed them to identify the collection as most likely being from the historic city of Troy. Discussions for the objects' return began with Turkish officials last year.

Brian Rose, an archaeology professor who co-directs the museum's excavations at Troy and Gordion in Turkey, said the jewelry is on indefinite loan because the Troy provenance is likely, but not certain.

The pieces are expected to be displayed at a new archaeological museum being built in Troy that will open within two years, according to the Anadolu Agency. Troy is in northwest Turkey near the city of Canakkale, about 150 miles (240 kilometers) from Istanbul.

In 2016, the Penn institution will host an exhibition of treasures excavated from what is believed to be the tomb of King Midas' father. It also will include "an incredibly impressive funerary assemblage" of objects from other sites, which Rose said will offer an overview of ancient aristocratic burial customs.

Midas ruled the kingdom of Phrygia, near present-day Gordion, in the mid-8th century B.C. A Penn archaeologist discovered the tomb in 1957, and the university has worked there for decades.

Many artifacts uncovered there have been displayed in the Turkish capital of Ankara, Rose said.

The agreement announced Tuesday includes continuing Turkish support for Penn excavations at Gordion.

Explore further: Grant Museum starts major project to preserve rarest skeleton in the world

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Iraq displays hundreds of recovered artifacts

Sep 07, 2010

(AP) -- Iraqi officials displayed hundreds of recovered artifacts Tuesday that were among the country's looted heritage and span the ages from a 4,400-year-old statue of a Sumerian king to a chrome-plated ...

Google documents Iraqi museum treasures

Nov 24, 2009

(AP) -- Google is documenting Iraq's national museum and will post photographs of its ancient treasures on the Internet early next year, Google chief Eric Schmidt announced Tuesday.

Fifth century BC objects returned to Greece

May 19, 2009

Greece on Tuesday reclaimed scores of ancient objects dating to the fifth century BC that Belgian, British and German authorities returned, the culture ministry said.

Keeping African artifacts in Africa

Apr 07, 2008

It is common for professional archaeologists and paleoanthropologists working in Africa to populate western museums with foreign artifacts by excavating and permanently removing them from history rich communities in Africa. ...

Recommended for you

Recreating clothes from the Iron Age

4 hours ago

A few years ago, the oldest known piece of clothing ever discovered in Norway, a tunic dating from the Iron Age, was found on a glacier in Breheimen. Now about to be reconstructed using Iron Age textile techniques, ...

Oxford team shed light on ancient Egyptian obelisk

Nov 25, 2014

History was made this month as the robotic Philae lander completed the first controlled touchdown on a comet. The European Space Agency-led project was set up to obtain images of a comet's surface and help ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.