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The Bactrian Hoard from 2,000 years ago

Some 2,000 years ago, a nomadic tribe from Bactria — a province of modern-day Afghanistan between the Hindu Kush Mountains and the Amu Darya River — entombed one man and four women within the walls of a 4,000-year-old temple.

In 1978, while excavating the former Bactria region, Russian archeologist Viktor Sarianidi stumbled across the tombs in the temple. And interred with the bodies were no less than 20,000 gold ornaments, including jewelry, beads, buckles, belts, medallions, coins, mirrors, crowns, and daggers worn in life by those buried with the treasure. The location of the excavation was called the Mound of Gold, or Tillya Tepe.

But after only a few months of excavating, Sarianidi had to flee when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. The so-called Bactrian Hoard was taken to the Kabul Museum. Over the next 10 years, the hoard was shuttled from one location to another, and wisely so: The museum was occupied by the Ministry of Defense, and thus bombed heavily.

Jewelry from the exhibition, Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul. Part of the Bactrian Hoard. ~2,000 years old

4 leaf clover found in 4000 year old old temple