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Photographer's Note

This is a wreath or crown made entirely of gold, fashioned 23 centuries ago so as to imitate a myrtle bough in bloom in intricate detail.
This myrtle wreath is from a grave dating to about 330 BC, most likely of a rich and important male individual at Pydna in the South of ancient Macedon, the modern Greek province of Central Macedonia. The place is known to historians as the location of the 168 BC battle that effectively ended the 150-year hegemony of Macedon as the major power in Greek lands. To archaeologists, it is known as a time-honoured centre of power within Macedon, and as the site of a major cemetery that has yielded an extraordinarily rich array of very important finds and continues to do so.

The real myrtle plant, which is common around the Mediterranean, carried various symbolic connotations in antiquity and is still much loved today.

"The Gold of Macedon" is dedicated tο the ancient Macedonian finds of precious metals. On display at the Archaelogical Museum of Thessaloniki are burial assemblages that included artefacts made of metals, which accompanied the dead to the afterlife.
Among them are weaponry, symposium vessels made of silver or bronze and top-quality jewellery. The exceptional wreaths form the largest collection of its kind in the world.

The famous Derveni krater is also exhibited here, from ancient Lete, depicting the sacred wedding of Dionysus and Ariadne along with an entourage of satyrs and maenads, as well as the Derveni Papyrus, which in 2015 became the first Greek register on the UNESCO Memory of the World list.

During antiquity, Macedonia was famous for its metal sources, whose abundance was the reason for the creation of artistic masterpieces since a very early period as well as for its financial strength. River gold was widely used, such as from the river Echedorus (modern-day Gallikos), along with ores on mountains such as Pangaion or Dysoron.

In historic times, metallurgy flourished twice. Once in the late archaic and early classical times (late 6th and first half of 5th c. BC) and later on during the late classical and early hellenistic times (early 4th to early 2nd c. BC). The artistic and technological quality of the artefacts is remarkable, employing techniques such as filigree and granulation in their manufacture.

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Additional Photos by Alex Fan Moniz (LondonBoy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 93 W: 0 N: 616] (2482)
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