Dacia – Empire of gold and silver in Drents Museum

From 7 July 2024, Drents Museum will present the major archaeology exhibition Dacia – Empire of gold and silver. More than fifty gold and silver treasures from Romania, from the 20th century BC to the 3rd century AD, are coming to Assen. With Dacia, Drents Museum tells the story of the Dacians, one of the ‘forgotten peoples’ of world history.

In the 2nd century BC, the Dacians inhabited much of present-day Romania, then called Dacia. The unique geographical location – between the Eurasian steppe to the east, the Mediterranean world to the south and Central Europe to the west – made the area a crossroads of cultures. Greeks, Celts, Thracians, Scythians and Persians all had an influence on the Dacians, and elements of these different cultures can therefore be recognized in the objects found in the area. The Romans also took a great interest in Dacia. They devoted two battles to it before finally conquering these warlike people in 106 AD. In Dacia, the museum concentrates on the period before the Roman conquest. The focus is on the identity of the Dacians and their impressive gold and silver treasures.

Gold and silver
The wealth of natural resources ensured that Romania has traditionally had an important function. Thanks to the presence of gold mines, the inhabitants of Dacia achieved a very high level of precious metal processing, both technically and artistically. These objects were used during religious rituals or were offered to the gods, such as the solid gold bracelets from Sarmizegetusa Regia, then the capital of the Dacian empire. Some of the gold and silver treasures on show were discovered in recent years and have never before been displayed in a museum.

Objects from Romanian museums
The more than 600 objects of gold and silver treasures in the exhibition come from at least 15 different museums across Romania. For the exhibition, Drents Museum is collaborating with the National History Museum of Romania. Director Dr Ernest Oberländer-Târnoveanu is guest curator of Dacia.

 Dacia – Empire of gold and silver is on view from 7 July 2024 to 26 January 2025 and is part of a series of exhibitions on international archaeology. The exhibition will be accompanied by an in-depth publication with contributions by various Romanian archaeologists (only in Dutch).

More information: www.drentsmuseum.nl/en



– Helmet of Coțofenești, 4th century BC, National History Museum of Romania. Photo: Ing. Marius Amarie
– Rhyton Poroina Mare, late 4th century BC-early 3rd century BC, National History Museum of Romania. Photo: Ing. Marius Amarie