Part of the famed "Bactrian hoard" of treasures, a folding gold crown dating from the first century A.D. is one of the Afghan treasures that will go on display in the United States in 2008, it was announced today.

Ancient Gold Afghan Treasures to Tour U.S. (Pictures)

The crown was discovered in one of six graves of nomads of the ancient state of Bactria at an archaeological site in northern Afghanistan in 1978.

Russian-Greek archaeologist Viktor Sarianidi unearthed the hoard—a crown, necklaces, belts, rings, and headdresses set with precious jewels. The finds were later hidden and eventually thought stolen until the Afghan government found them stashed in boxes in 2003.

Ancient Gold Afghan Treasures to Tour U.S. (Pictures)

A close-up shows detail of a dagger dating from the first century A.D. The knife will go on display in a new U.S. exhibition of Afghan treasures in 2008.

The dagger was found at the archaeological site of Tilly Tepe, in northern Afghanistan, where the graves of six ancient nomads were discovered in 1978.

The far-flung origins of the exhibition’s pieces show Afghanistan’s role as a cultural hub in the set of trade routes known as the Silk Road during the first century B.C, according to archaeologist Fredrik T. Hiebert, a National Geographic Committee for Research and Exploration grantee.

Hiebert helped inventory the objects and is curating the U.S. exhibition.

"This exhibition is really about heroism," Hiebert told National Geographic News.

"These pieces should not be around today. They are here because people risked their lives to safeguard them."

Ancient Gold Afghan Treasures to Tour U.S. (Pictures)

This fragment of a golden bowl with Mesopotamian motifs, dating from about 2500 B.C., was discovered at the Tepe Fullol archaeological site in northern Afghanistan.

The artifacts from Tepe Fullol date between 2500 B.C. and 2200 B.C. They are the earliest objects in a new Afghan treasures exhibition, which will tour the U.S. in 2008 and 2009.

All the artifacts—which are the property of Afghanistan—were once housed in the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul.

Ancient Gold Afghan Treasures to Tour U.S. (Pictures)

This gold pendant with turquoise, garnet, lapis lazuli, carnelian, and pearls depicts a “dragon master.” The artifact will be part of the U.S. exhibition “Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul" in 2008 and 2009.

The pendant, dating from the first century A.D., was found at one of four Afghan archaeological sites that yielded the works of art in the exhibition.

The ornament was part of the some one hundred gold objects taken from the graves of six Bactrian nomads.

Many of the Bactrian objects reflect local artisans’ distinctive blend of motifs known from Greek, Roman, Indian, and Chinese art.

Via: National Geographic