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The Silver Horse
Archaeological Treasures between the Black Sea and the Caucasus

26.11.2010 to 13.03.2011


This exhibition, conceived by the Museum of Prehistory and Early History in cooperation with the Instytut Archeologii der Uniwersytet Marii Curie-Skłodowskiej in Lublin, is taken up with German and Polish research expeditions and collection-building activities undertaken during the 19th and early 20th century in southern Russia and in the Caucasus.

The exhibition thus focuses on a largely unknown chapter of Central European archaeological research history. The objects on show date from a period spanning from the 10th century BC to the 7th century AD and offer visitors an insight into the prehistorical and early historical cultures of the Caucasus region and the steppes that begin to the north. The individuals who procured these finds, taken mostly from Russian private collections, were more often than not art dealers who were active, even then, in an international art trade that stretched far beyond national boundaries.

On top of this trade in artefacts, excavations were also conducted by European scholars and museums, including the Prehistoric Department of Berlin's own Königliche Museen (the forerunner of today's National Museums). The exhibition today focuses on the various collectors and their collections, the excavators and scholars involved and the long-established international contacts that would later serve as a model for a new chapter in an era of common, pan-European research endeavours. The show also highlights the nature of the journeys to the region (which, for people from Central Europe at the time were nothing less than adventurous expeditions), as well as the conditions they found once they got there.