LOST – FOUND: The Return of “the Amber Bear”

The famous “Amber bear” after a three-year-long “tourneé” in Poland (Warsaw-Kołobrzeg-Gdańsk-Gniezno-Wrocław-Zielona Góra) returns to the National Museum in Szczecin. Since Saturday, March 5th 2016, the statuette together with priceless archaeological relics can be seen on a temporary exhibition entitled “Lost-Found. The Pomeranian Antiquities Collection from Szczecin” in one of newly modernized exhibition halls in the Museum of Regional Traditions at 27 Staromłyńska St.

The treasure had sunk deeply under the ground. And the hill has been tumbled by treasure hunters so much, that today it is difficult to find out where the Góra Żaka together with its treasure was actually located*

Archaeological relics are the source of knowledge not only about the times they origin from, but also of those, when they have been discovered. Their fates often interfere with the recent history of the region. The exhibition tells, in a symbolic form, the history of the oldest part of the Pomeranian Antiquities collection from Szczecin. It has been being created in Szczecin from the 1st half of the 19th century up to early 1940s. The exhibition presents those of the Pomeranian archaeological relics, which had taken the longest journey, before, after many years, they have returned to the “mother of Pomeranian cities”.

The beginnings of systematic creating of regional archaeological collection date back to 1820s. The 19th century is, on account of propagating the knowledge about the past, sometimes called “the age of history” - a period of arising the interest in the history of the Pomeranian culture. For several dozens of years the collections were stored in the Pomeranian Dukes' Castle in Szczecin. In 1912 they were placed in a new museum building at Wały Chrobrego, where, since 1913, they were exhibited. After twelve years a new exodus of the collection began. The objects enriched the museum created in Szczecin, where regional collections of old art were gathered. During World War II, due to the danger of air attacks, the most precious relics, including archaeological exhibits, were evacuated and secured in several dozens of locations in the whole contemporary Pomeranian Province. As late, as in 1960s,museum professionals from Szczecin learned that part of archaeological relics had survived the war and is placed in Stralsund. Almost at the same time there began efforts aimed at exchange, within which the Polish side had to hand over pre-war Szczecin collection from archaeological excavations in present German territory, and the German side – findings from the territory of present Poland. After years of efforts and negotiations led at diplomatic level, the exchange took place in 2009.

The exhibition was preceded by a display arranged in the National Museum in Szczecin right after the exchange. On the basis of this display, a project of temporary exhibition was created, supplemented with multimedia presentation showing the whole collection, the circumstances of discovering particular relics shown in photographs and set in the chronological order and according to the places of their origin. The exhibition presents the part of the collection which was selected for its variety of forms and categories of findings dated from the Stone Age to early Middle Ages. There may be seen both treasures, as well, as burial objects and other findings discovered in various circumstances.
The exhibits are, however, not ordered according to archaeological criteria – their age, chosen historical subject, context or place of finding – shown in the multimedia area. Their layout symbolically shows evacuation order of relics in cases, which cross the wall, metaphorically breaking the difficulties in the field of cultural goods in Polish-German relations.

* [Skarb z Wału Zamkowego w Stołczynie, (in:) Podania, legendy i baśnie o Szczecinie zebrała i opracowała Anna Malejka, Szczecin 2003, p. 129–130; originally translated according to the translation and changes of A. Malejka, on the basis of: Der Schatz im Burgwall zu Stolzenhagen, (in:) Pommersche Sagen. Gesammelt und herausgeben von Alfred Haas, Berlin 1912]

Lost – Found. The Pomeranian Antiquities Collection from Szczecin: route
September 2012 – February 2013: The Main Building of the National Museum in Szczecin
March – September 2013: Państwowe Muzeum Archeologiczne w Warszawie
September 2013 –  January 2014: Muzeum Oręża Polskiego w Kołobrzegu
January – June 2014: Muzeum Archeologiczne w Gdańsku
July 2014  – February 2015 : Muzeum Początków Państwa Polskiego w Gnieźnie
February - June 2015: Muzeum Archeologiczne we Wrocławiu
June 2015 – January 2016: Muzeum Archeologiczne Środkowego Nadodrza w Zielonej Górze

 

Website dedicated to “Lost-Found" project.