Elaborate gold earring (one of a pair) from the Aegina Treasure in the British Museum
|Size||Height 10.3 cm|
|Present location||British Museum, London|
The treasure was said to have been found in a tomb on the island of Aegina in 1891, although the exact circumstances have never been determined. The British Museum purchased the bulk of the treasure in 1892 from the Cresswell Brothers, a London firm of sponge dealers. Further pieces from the treasure were bought by the museum in 1914.
The Aegina Treasure is composed largely of gold jewellery that has been dated, based on its style and iconography, to the Greek bronze age between 1850 and 1550 BC. It includes two pairs of ornate earrings, three diadems, a chest pendant, a bracelet, a gold cup, four rings, ornamented plaques and plain strips. There are also five hoops or rings and many beads and pendants made of a variety of materials including gold, lapis lazuli, amethyst, quartz, cornelian and green jasper.
Pendant and Earrings
The most elaborate items in the treasure are a chest pendant and a pair of earrings. The pendant seems to represent a Cretan deity flanked by two geese in a field. Behind him appear to stand two sacred bulls' horns. The god has been called the 'Master of the Animals' by archaeologists. The pair of earrings are designed in the shape of double-headed snakes which encircle two pairs of facing greyhounds.
- L. Burn, The British Museum Book of Greek and Roman Art (British Museum Press, 1991)
- R. Higgins, The Aegina Treasure - An Archaeological Mystery (London, 1979)
- R. Higgins, 'The Aigina treasure reconsidered', Annual of the British School-1, 52 (1957), pp. 42–57