The Treasure of Nagyszentmiklós: One of the most remarkable finds of the early European Middle Ages

 
 

On 3rd July 1799, a significant hoard of twenty-three early medieval gold vessels was found in an iron chest by Neru Vuin, a Serb farmer, near the small Hungarian town of Nagy Szent-Miklós in northern Banat, in total weighing 9.945 kg.

The treasure is known as the Treasure of Nagyszentmiklós and most probably was hidden between 795 and 803, and unearthed roughly thousand years later.

The treasure was found on 3rd July 1799 by Neru Vuin, a Serb farmer Photo Credit

 

The Treasure itself consists of 23 vessels of different shapes and sizes manufactured of a very high standard of gold  Photo Credit

 

Golden medallion jug ( 8th century AD ) Photo Credit1 Photo Credit2

In the last 200 years, hundreds of scientists studied the treasure of Nagyszentmiklós but the mystery remains: when were the dishes made, who made them, who owned them, why were they made in an odd number, who and why hid them?

The language of the inscriptions on the vessels of the Treasure is not clearly known, and the inscriptions on some pieces have increased the complexity of the arguments rather than reduced them.There is an inscription in Greek and 14 short inscriptions in a Runiform script (an old Turkic alphabet).

The treasure dates from the 6th to the 10th-century  Photo Credit1 Photo Credit2

 

There were many ideas and explanations, but the treasure remains a mystery Photo Credit

 

Scholars have connected the treasure with the Avar Khaganate. The newest researchers show it is closely related to the Avar culture  Photo Credit

 

Golden jug with relief of an eagle (8th century AD) Photo Credit

The historians have different views towards the dating and the origins of the pieces, and the background in which they were made. The pieces of the Treasure were manufactured at different times and by different masters.

According to one theory, the treasure was made in the 8th century by the Avars, a nomadic people of uncertain origins and ethnolinguistic affiliation.

 

It has been in the possession of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, where it is on permanent display  Photo Credit

 

Part of the treasure of Treasure of Sânnicolau Mare in the Kunsthistorisches Museum  Photo Credit

 

Golden bowl ( 8th century AD)  Photo Credit

 

A bull’s head bowl from the treasure  Photo Credit

Another theory claimed that Bulgarians made the utensil in the 9th century, and according to another study the Magyars of the Original Settlement made the treasure in the 10th century.

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The golden treasure was transferred to Vienna immediately after its discovery, and now it is on display at the Kunsthistorisches Museum.