First Kings of Europe Exhibition at the Field Museum

First Kings of Europe opened on March31st at the Field Museum
Spread the love

A visit to the Field Museum is always a wonderful experience.  Well worth your time is the new Field Museum Exhibition that explores the rise of power in Ancient Europe, First Kings of Europe, which includes jewelry, weapons, and armor from 11 countries shown together for the first time and treasures from throughout southeast Europe from the Neolithic through the Iron Age (8,000 to 2,500 years ago).

This royal silver helmet is covered in exquisite reliefs of animals and imposing facial features, “The Peretuhelmet” dates back to the 4th century BC. Like almost all the treasures of First Kings of Europe, this royal helmet will be seen for the first time in North America. Courtesy of the National History Museum of Romania

It is remarkable to see clay works that date back thousands of years and move forward through time as metals are created, wars are fought and kings and queens begin to rule.

This gold wreath (275-325BC) belonged to a Thracian prince who was buried with gold and silver armor. The figure in the middle of the crown depicts Nike, the Greek goddess of victory. Courtesy of the National Museum of History, Bulgaria

All the exhibits were beautiful and engaging.  There were murals showing ancient farming villages which led to the earliest tribal kingdoms in Europe. Artifacts in the exhibition were from 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.

This beautiful chest ornament made from amber was found in what is now Croatia, although its amber is originally found much farther north in Europe near the Baltic Sea. The woman orman who wore this adornment would have to have been very powerful to obtain such a large amount of amber―a true luxury good of its day. Courtesy of Archaeological Museum in Zagreb, Croatia

“One of the most unique and special things about this exhibit is the international collaboration occurring to create First Kings of Europe,” says 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.”

This situla (vessel) made of bronze with reliefs of stags dates back to 400–300 BC and is one of the many hundreds of cultural items featured in First Kings of Europe. Courtesy of National Museum of Slovenia

There are more than 700 cultural items in the exhibition. Looking at them, it is hard to envision that they date back to the Neolithic, Copper, Bronze, and Iron ages. The gold pieces were outstanding.  They are some of the oldest gold treasures in the world from the cemetery of Varna, and include the gold crown of a Thracian prince, masterpieces of sword making and armor, weapons, jewelry, and more.

This silver feasting set belonged to the Thracian King Kotys I, who reigned from 384-360 B C, and was known for his love of wine. Known as the famous “Borovo Treasure”, this set includes three extraordinary drinking vessels called rhytons with sculpture of a sphinx, horse and bull that would have been used for drinking wine during lavish dinners—because of their shape, rhytons can’t be easily set down when full. Courtesy of the Rousse Regional Museum of History, Bulgaria

The exhibition is “user friendly”.  The large murals are very realistic and the monitors are interesting and informative. I enjoyed the organization of the chronological eras, such as the Bronze Age section that talks about how metals came about, resulting in the emergence of the warrior class and shows weapons, helmets and shields as well as an ancient bronze breastplate (1200-1100 BC) which was found at the bottom of the Danube River. The jewelry was gorgeous.  It is a beautiful well displayed exhibition.

Final gallery, Photo: B. Keer

Note: Discover is a proud sponsor of the First Kings of Europe exhibit the Field Museum of Chicago. We have an ongoing commitment to education and a long-standing history of supporting our local communities, like Chicago, Discover’s hometown and home to our new customer care center in the Chatham community on Chicago’s South Side. Our support for educational programs at the Field Museum of Chicago is designed to expand and enhance the learning experience for students and teachers alike. Through our involvement with these inspirational programs, it is our honor to share in providing a unique and memorable exhibit in support of the Museum’s mission to educate the public about the Earth and its people. At Discover, we believe giving back to our communities makes our world a better place and our company stronger. It has been part of the fabric of our organization since we were founded more than 31years ago. Each year, the company and our employees contribute millions of dollars in donations to charities and thousands of hours of volunteer time in our local communities. 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.

Final display, Photo:B. Keer

Information and tickets

Photos are courtesy of the Field Museum

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.