Gold from Georgia: Jason’s golden fleece

From June until August 2010 the Drents Museum shows treasures form ancient Georgia.

Jason was a great Thessalian hero who led the Argonauts in the quest for the Golden Fleece of king Aietes in order to place Jason on the throne of Iolcus in Thessaly (the West of present Georgia). Jason succeeds with the help of Medea daughter of Aietes and his wife to be.

This classical Greek myth bears some truth. The golden fleece refers to a method of gold recovery from the streams in the Caucasus mountains. Sheep fleeces were submerged in the stream, and gold deposits would then stick to the fleece.

The beautiful treasures were made at the time of Jason quest. They are on a world tour and presently exhibited in Assen. Their home is the national Georgian Museum in Tbilisi. These 150 gold, silver and bronze objects from the Bronze age to the Roman era show high standard metal techniques. Especially the gold excavations from the temple city Vani (supposedly the city of Aietes in the 8th to 1th century BC) are made by extremely skilled goldsmiths; the tiniest granulations. This is an extremely difficult method by means of which tiny balls of solid gold are attached to a gold surface without soldering but rather through a chemical reaction between the gold and heated copper or malachite. In Greek, malachite is called chrysocolla; glue of gold.

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