Gold head from the Oxus treasure


British Museum

British Museum

This head is part of the Oxus treasure, the most important collection of gold and silver to have survived from the Achaemenid period. The treasure was found on the banks of the River Oxus and probably comes from a temple there. Most of the treasure dates from the fifth or fourth centuries BC, and many of the items are representative of what is described as Achaemenid court style, found throughout the empire and considered typical of the period. This head, though, is rather different, and may be of local manufacture. The head is made of beaten gold and shows a beardless youth with pierced ears. It may have been part of a statue, perhaps in another material such as wood.

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  • Title: Gold head from the Oxus treasure
  • Date Created: -499/-300
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 11.30cm; Width: 8.35cm; Diameter: 4.30-4.50cm (interior of base cavity); Diameter: 0.30cm (earring perforations); Weight: 399.00g
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: hammered; chased; punched; pierced
  • Registration number: 1897,1231.5
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Takht-i Kuwad
  • Period/culture: Achaemenid
  • Material: gold
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Bequeathed by Franks, Augustus Wollaston. Previous owner/ex-collection Cunningham, Alexander. From Burton, Francis Charles


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