The river dried up, leaving only bare sand, revealing the world's most valuable treasure with nearly 10 tons of artifacts dating back to about 1000 BC.

The river dried up, leaving only bare sand, revealing the world’s most valuable treasure with nearly 10 tons of artifacts dating back to about 1000 BC.

The Villena’s Treasure is the second most important treasure found in Europe, the other being the Royal Graves in Mycenae, Greece.

The hoard was found on the Iberian Peninsula in December 1963 by the Spanish archaeologist José María García Soler in the sands of a dry riverbed called the “Rambla del Panadero”, 5 km from Villena. Since then, it has become the most successful exhibit in Villena’s Archaeological Museum.

It was found inside a Bronze Age vessel. Photo Credit

The gold pieces include eleven bowls, three bottles, and 28 bracelets. Photo Credit

It comprised of a set of 59 objects made of gold, silver, iron and amber which included 11 bowls, 28 bracelets, 3 bottles and other small pieces (total weight equal to 9,754 kg).

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Its discovery was published in most of the Spanish media but also in France, Germany and the United States of America.


There is a total of 28 bracelets with different sizes, weights, and decorations. Photo Credit

Bracelet number 29, the most complex part of the whole. Photo Credit

The eleven golden bowls, one egg-shaped and the other ones hemispherical, were made out of a thin sheet of gold leaf with no signs of welding. The archaeologists estimated that the contents of the hoard date to around 1000 BCE.


Two jars of gold and silver (items 41, 43 and 42). Photo Credit

Supposedly the remains of a scepter or sword. Photo Credit

There is apparently no information about where the pieces come from, how they ended up in Villena or who made them, so the meaning of the Villena’s Treasure has been the object of intense debate since its finding.

There have been speculations, but there is no set answer.

Gold bowls. Photo Credit

The treasure has been differently interpreted, as a religious offering or a way to symbolically delimit the territory. Photo Credit

The most successful exhibit in Villena’s Archaeological Museum. Photo Credit

Here is another “treasure” story from us: The Pietroasele Treasure: late 4th century hoard of Gothic gold artifacts discovered in an ancient grave in Romania

The treasure has been displayed at various exhibitions in different places such as Madrid, Alicante, Tokyo, and Kyoto and now there are two sets of copies of the entire treasure to be shown in exhibitions while the originals are permanently conserved in an armored showcase at Villena’s Archaeological Museum.

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