The three soldiers knew that time was running short. The citadel of Hasanlu, in what is now north-western Iran, was under violent siege. The soldiers descended into a building and grabbed a handful of valuable treasures, including a treasured golden bowl engraved with images of gods and rituals, a stone cylinder with gold caps, a figurine of laminated ivory, and a sword-hilt with a bronze guard. But as the warriors began climbing up a wooden staircase inside the home, the whole building collapsed, crushing them and their prized possessions under layers of debris. And here they remained for around 3,000 years, until a ground-breaking discovery in 1958.
The discovery of the soldiers and their treasures, in particular the spectacular golden bowl, was hailed as one of the greatest finds of the decade. Images of the crumpled, yet still dazzling, bowl were splashed across newspapers around the world, and scholars began publishing their interpretations of the images etched onto this magnificent artifact.
Detail on the Hasanlu Gold Bowl. (IFPNews)