The Marq de Alicante shows in 'Dynasties' pieces from the Bronze Age from 21 museums and 7 countries

This morning the National Archaeological Museum hosted the presentation of the next major exhibition of the Marq de Alicante.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
21 February 2024 Wednesday 16:02
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The Marq de Alicante shows in 'Dynasties' pieces from the Bronze Age from 21 museums and 7 countries

This morning the National Archaeological Museum hosted the presentation of the next major exhibition of the Marq de Alicante. Its director, Isabel Izquierdo, has valued the great quality and dimension of the Alicante project as fundamental for having agreed to give up four very important pieces, among them, the sword of Guadalajara, one of the most iconic of the Bronze Age, unique in Europe for its state of conservation, which has never been loaned before, and the Caravaca gold diadem, one of the most outstanding jewels of the MAN since it arrived almost a century ago.

"Dynasties, the first kingdoms of Prehistoric Europe", can be seen at the Marq from March to October. The president of the Alicante Provincial Council, Toni Pérez, has highlighted that "it is not a simple sum of objects, it is a story that is born from many years of work, research, a story that connects us with European culture itself, "Our essence as people links us to impressive societies that represented a turning point in history."

Manuel Olcina, director of the Marq, has highlighted the collaboration of 21 "fascinating" museums from all over Europe, half of them Spanish. And he has stressed the fact that museums "are not mere exhibition spaces, they are much more, they bring together teams of professionals dedicated to conservation and research; and the MARQ is a good example", recalling his ambitious excavation plan in different sites in the province of Alicante and their research work.

Juan Antonio López, one of the curators of the exhibition and director of MARQ Publications, summarizes the "speech" of the exhibition: "The Bronze Age is a time of profound changes in Europe, there is a tremendous expansion of the networks of exchange, field work, metallurgy, social classes and political borders develop, armies... It is the germ of the first states, in distant parts of Europe, with differences between them, but with great coincidences".

The exhibition is distributed in three rooms: the first focuses on "the world that leaves the Bronze Age to become something completely new, how the social elite that will constitute the first kingdoms is created." In the second, the visitor will see how these worlds were connected, and the objects that were made, the beginning of metallurgy, the work of gold, bronze, amber.

In the third, how those prominent characters who are at the head of the kingdoms become "heroized" characters and the first dynasties are formed.

Many of the pieces are exhibited for the first time in Spain, and some have never been shown before. More than 90 experts have collaborated on a project that will include their ambitious catalogue.

We are talking about a time in which a massive exchange of objects occurs for the first time more than 500 kilometers away, which according to Robert Risch, the other curator of the exhibition, "represents the birth of proto-commerce, and it is the first time that we see mass production, of battle axes in this case, a proto-industry. Exchange value was also born in that era, with objects such as ingots, and it is when large masses of the population made objects for a small elite, when "the first classes, social exploitation, hierarchy" were born.

Risch has highlighted that these days interest in the Bronze Age is growing, and the fact that the Marq is not, however, just another exhibition: "The Marq has a speech, we have to resolve doubts, how those collapsed three civilizations, towns burned, objects were lost...". In his opinion, those societies give us a warning: "Social inequality, environmental overexploitation, overexploitation of human beings by human beings, are an enormous crisis factor."