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250.000 visitors have already witnessed ‘Margiana. A Bronze Age Kingdom in Turkmenistan’ at the Neues Museum

Neues Museum

The special exhibition ‘Margiana. A Bronze Age Kingdom in Turkmenistan’ has become a popular favourite: Matthias Wemhoff, director of the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte, and curator Manfred Nawroth greeted the 250,000th visitor today. The exhibition is open at the Neues Museum on Berlin’s Museum Island until October 7th, 2018.

250,000 visitors have witnessed the special exhibition ‘Margiana. A Bronze Age Kingdom in Turkmenistan’ since it opened on April 25th, 2018. In cooperation with the Turkmen Ministry of Culture, the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin is showing exceptional finds that have never been exhibited in Europe before. Together with photographs by Herlinde Koelbl, the exhibition offers a unique insight into largely unknown Turkmenistan. The exhibition is showing at the Neues Museum until October 7th, 2018.

Matthias Wemhoff, director of the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte and curator Manfred Nawroth today greeted the 250,000th visitor: Juliane Benkert from Unterschleissheim, Bavaria. Ms Benkert was visiting the exhibition together with her family. Her two daughters, Alexandra and Katharina had the choice of visiting the Badeschiff, the Computerspielemuseum, or the Neues Museum. They opted for the ‘Margiana’ exhibition.

“We’re very pleased that there has been so much interest in Margiana,” said Matthias Wemhoff. “It’s a unique exhibition that allows for a fascinating symbiosis between archaeological discoveries and the creativity of modern photography.”

Margiana – an historical landscape in Turkmenistan’s East – was the cradle of a fascinating Bronze Age civilisation that emerged around 4,000 years ago. A contemporary of the civilisations of Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt, it has hitherto remained largely unknown in the Western world. For the first time outside Turkmenistan, a large, special exhibition is making archaeological documents of this mysterious culture accessible to a broad public. The Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte was able to obtain the collaboration of photographer Herlinde Koelbl, whose images show archaeological sites, landscapes, people and objects from the exhibition. The result is a fascinating symbiosis of unfamiliar archaeological relics and photography from a largely unfamiliar country.

The exhibition includes 230 objects from the third to the second millennium B. C. They represent the sensational discoveries brought to light by archaeological research into the Bronze Age metropolis Gonur Tepe. Exotic objects and materials bear witness to long-distance contacts between present-day Turkmenistan and the civilisations of Mesopotamia with communities as far away as Syria, Pakistan and the steppes of the Ural Mountains. The workmanship of many of the pieces is expert. Large photographs of the archaeological digs as well as of landscapes and people complete the picture of Margiana. In creating these images, portrait photographer Herlinde Koelbl approached archaeological photography for the first time; her photographs have captured archaeological traces in fascinating ways.

Following the presentation in the Neues Museum, the exhibition will be shown in the Archäologisches Museum Hamburg and in the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen Mannheim.

The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive book published by Michael Imhof Verlag: 288 pages, ca. 400 images (mostly colour), ISBN 978-3-7319-0662-9, bookstore edition: 39.95 €, museum edition 29 €.