Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ancient Treasure

Now that the crowds are subsiding MB took the opportunity to visit the British Museum again to soak up some more history in the ancient Roman, Greek and Egyptian rooms. The collections are so extensive and amazing, words and photos can not even begin to do the Museum justice.

One highlight today was seeing the Mildenhall Treasure, along with some other amazing ancient hoards discovered in Britain. One hoard found in 1992 has over 15,000 ancient coins. The Mildenhall hoard, a collection of large silver bowls and platters nearly 2000 years old, was found by a farmer in a field. He cleaned them up and put them on display on his mantlepiece, until they were spotted by an expert and eventually ended up in the British Museum. It's quite a story and even Roald Dahl has written a book about it.

MB was surprised to see some capitals (the decorative bits from the tops of columns) that were originally in the Pantheon in Rome. The Pantheon is the most complete building from antiquity still standing today. One has to feel sympathy for the claims from other countries to return antiquities, those capitals would look much better back in the Pantheon. On the other hand one has to wonder if these would have survived in the public domain to the present day if they weren't collected when they were.

1 comment:

pauly said...

Why brave the deserts of Egypt or waste money hopping from Italy to Greece when you can experience it all in the sterile environment of the British Museum? The Poms are on to something!

That Mildenhall Treasure does look impressive, though.