The Matrix of Sarmizegetusa Regia

An ancient bronze matrix, over 2.000 years of age, has just become the most valuable archaeological piece, presented at the Dacian and Roman Civilization Museum of Deva. The matrix was discovered in 2013 and has been subjected to research by specialists.

The outstanding piece was uncovered after a storm, at the roots of a tree that had collapsed within the Sarmizegetusa Regia Archaeological Site, Romania. The matrix is the only one of its kind in Europe and it’s extremely complex.

The origin of the matrix comes from a Dacian jeweller workshop and it’s the center of the most important exhibit scheduled for this year.

“Its importance and value is so great, we have decided the matrix should be displayed alone, in a single, well guarded secured room. Its display has been made in such a way that the visitors can have a more special interaction with the images depicted on the matrix. The show case and the lights make possible a much detailed view of all its facets.” – said Liliana Ţolaş, manager of Dacian and Roman Civilization Museum of Deva.

According to archaeologists, the matrix was used to create decorative pieces from precious metals. The hexagonal shape is encrusted with sculptures representing mythological creatures from the mediteranean region.

“There is a whole series of real and fabulous animals in this matrix, and the very fact it functioned within Sarmizegetusa Regia, in the midst of the roman conquest, tells us that the Dacian mediums resonated with this art that illustrates mythological creatures such as gryphons and other animals. This tells us that the Dacian aristocracy resonated with everything that makes this fabulous universe, no matter the provenience. The art which the matrix illustrates speaks an international language with links within the mediteranean and northern pontic region. It is important that it was discovered and that it functioned within Sarmizegetusa.” – said the historian Gelu Florea.

The matrix weighs approximately 8 kg, with 8 facets, of which the two main ones are of hexagonal shape. Its thickness is of 5 cm. The piece was found in good conditions of conservation.

Historians said that such a piece was quite costly. Its bestiary, rich and fabulous, represented on the matrix, is rich and diverse and composed out of gryphons and real animals such as the lion, the tiger, the leopard, the rhinoceros, the hippopotamus, the bear, the boar, the wolf, the bull, the tur, the antelope and the rabbit. The theme of the sceneries represented on the matrix, displays battles between animals and it’s very old and well spread within vast cultural spaces.

There are three types of gryphons on the matrix: the vulture-gryphon, the lion-gryphon and the wolf-gryphon which is specific for the northern pontic region.

According to historian Gelu Florea, the matrix was created and used in the 1st century B.C. and its presence within the Dacian capital kingdom is another proof of the connection to the artistic and high technological flux of this cultural space in antiquity.


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