May 10th - September 2nd, 2012

Afghanistan - Hidden treasures

Previously shown in New York, Berlin, Paris and London, one of the most spectacular travelling exhibitions in the world will visit Norway. In May 2012, Trondheim will exhibit two thousand year-old treasured objects which for years were hidden from war and plunder.

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Gold crown from Tillya Tepe, from early in the first century AD. Photo: Musée Guimet, Paris, Dist. RMN / Thierry Ollivier.

In Aï Khanum, archeologists uncovered an entire Greek town. In Begram, thousands of coins and two rooms sealed for more than two millennia were found. In Tillya Tepe the graves of a royal nomadic family were discovered, with more than 20.000 gold, silver and ivory objects.

Many of these object vanished from the National museum in Kabul at the end of the 1980s.

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From left: Water spout in the shape of a theatre mask, in the middle a clay head, both dated to the 100s AD. To the right a tomb older than 145 BC. These objects are from Aï Khanum. Photo: Axel Christophersen.

Secret oath

Fortunately, the objects weren't stolen or melted, as the rumors claimed. They were hidden by a select group of people sworn to secrecy. Throughout the civil war and Taliban rule, they kept their secret. It wasn't until 2003, after the American led allied invasion, that the chests in the vaults resurfaced and were finally opened in 2004.

A total of 230 objects from this rich mosaic of Afghanistan's and the world's heritage will be on display in Trondheim. Almost two thousand years separate the oldest object from the youngest in the exhibition, which includes golden treasure, ivory carvings, glass figurines and bronze statuettes.

Only in Trondheim

Trondheim will be the only city in Norway visited by the exhibition. It has previously been shown in New York, Washington, Paris, Bonn and London, among other cities. It's currently on display in Stockholm. After Trondheim, it goes on to Asia.

Acknowledgements

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Vangslund AS, Torstein Erbos Gavefond, Adresseavisen, TORO, Generalkonsul Adolf Øiens Donationsfond and Sør-Trøndelag County Authority.

Practical information

  • On display in "Gunnerushuset", The Museum of Natural History and Archaeology, NTNU. Erling Skakkes gt. 47, Trondheim
  • May 10th – September 2nd, 2012
  • Ticket price: NOK 100
  • Children and persons under 18 yrs. old: Free entrance.

Female bone figurine from before 145 BC, Aï Khanum. Photo: Axel Christophersen.

Afghanistan - Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul.

Slideshow from National Geographic

Afghanistan - Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul.

Timeline of the objects, from National Geographic

Secret Treasure of Afghanistan.

Video from National Geographic