Featuring treasures from throughout southeast Europe, from the Neolithic through to the Iron Age (8,000 to 2,500 years ago), the First Kings of Europe exhibition will open at The Field Museum on March 31 2023.
First Kings of Europe explores how ancient farming villages led to the earliest tribal kingdoms in Europe. The countries represented in the exhibition include Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, and Slovenia, with various lending institutions working together to make the show happen.
“One of the most unique and special things about this exhibit is the international collaboration occurring to create First Kings of Europe,” said Bill Parkinson, curator at the Field Museum and of First Kings of Europe. “The exhibition was made in partnership with 11 countries, plus the United States and Canada, and 26 different museums. Many of the cultural items have never been on display outside of the countries of their origin, and some have never been on display – ever! First Kings of Europe is a unique opportunity to see these cultural items side by side.”
The more than 700 cultural items in the exhibition date back to the Neolithic, Copper, Bronze, and Iron ages. Highlights include some of the oldest gold treasures in the world from the cemetery of Varna, the gold crown of a Thracian prince, masterpieces of swordmaking and armor, weapons, jewelry, and more.
The exhibition is broken down into different chapters that focus on different chronological eras. For example, the Bronze Age section explores the emergence of the warrior class and features weapons, helmets, and shields. Visitors will also see an ancient bronze breastplate (1200–1100 BC) that was found at the bottom of the Danube River. This section also includes the armor and weapons that warriors would use in Southeast Europe when the warrior class was emerging.
More information on the First Kings of Europe can be found here.