The images you'll see as you scroll down to the current text are all part of the story telling in my novel, Realms of Gold:Ritual to Romance.

Bianca Caldwell, pen name, Bianca Fiore, is a writer for an art magazine. In each of her monthly stories she describes an object used in ancient ritual.

Museum at Chatillon Features Realms of Gold!

                                Amis du Musée du Pays Châtillonnais
                                                                                                 Trésor de Vix
No oo1  Lettre aux Amis du Musée  Automne 2014
Fédération Française des Sociétés

d’Amis de Musée (FFSAM)

Notre association est adhérente à la FFSAM à l’instar de quelque 290 autres sociétés d’amis de Musée. En plus de son rôle d’interlocuteur des Pouvoirs Publics, la fédération est un organe de promotion des Sociétés d’Amis et par voie de conséquence des musées, une source de contacts et une occasion d’échanges d’expériences. C’est ainsi qu’un article sur l’AMPC est paru dans le dernier numéro de la revue de la FSAMM. Par ailleurs nous sommes entrain d’établir des relations avec nos collègues de Bourgogne en vue de donner un second souffle au groupement régional (Bourgogne) des sociétés d’amis de musée.
Affaire à suivre.

Un roman autour de la Dame de Vix :

Les royaumes dorés par Terry Stanfill.

La Dame de Vix a inspiré un roman original écrit par une Américaine résidant en Californie, Terry Stanfill.  A l’occasion d’une visite touristique de la région, cette écrivaine eut un véritable coup de cœur pour la Dame de Vix et tout ce qui l’entoure. L’ouvrage
"Les royaumes dorés" en Anglais "Realms of Gold " imagine les circonstances dans lesquelles le vase de Vix est arrivé dans notre Châtillonnais. Naturellement, c’est une fiction : elle met en scènes divers évènements et protagonistes réels ou imaginaires. Les versions françaises et anglaises sont en vente à la boutique du Musée (15€).  


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Merovignian Bees

To the Merovingians, the bee was a most hallowed creature. A sacred emblem of Egyptian royalty, it became a symbol of Wisdom. Some 300 small golden bees were founded stitched to the cloak of Childeric I (son of Meroveus) when his grave was unearthed in 1653.

Gold Disc with Bees, 700-600 BCE. Collection of Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University

The Merovignian Bees influenced Napoleon, who, looking for a heraldic symbol different from the fleur-de-lys, used them as an inspiration for his own personal symbol and were incorporated into the Coat of Arms of the new Napoleonic French empire. Napoleon had these attached to his own coronation robe in 1804. He claimed this right by virtue of his descent from James de Rohan-Stuardo, the natural son (legitimized in 1667) of Charles II Stuart of Britain by Marguerite, Duchesse de Rohan.

Napoleon's bee flag of Elba, also known as the bumblebee flag of Elba

The Stuarts in turn were entitled to this distinction because they, and their related Counts of Brittany, were descended from Clodion’s brother Fredemundus – thus (akin to the Merovingians) they were equally in descent from the Fisher Kings through Faramund. The Merovingian bee was adopted by the exiled Stuarts in Europe, and engraved bees are still to be seen on some Jacobite glassware.”

“ …the Merovingian kings, from their founder Merovee to Clovis (who converted to Christianity in 496) were ‘pagan kings of the cult of Diana’.” The bees, which are a recurring symbol of the Merovingians are, in the Typhonian Tradition, represented frequently as the humming or buzzing sound that occurs before the appearance of the Great Old Ones or “beings” proper to this tradition.

Gold Bees with red glass wings
The early Merovingians were fascinated by bees. The above gold pieces were discovered in the Merovignian tomb of Childeric I, the father of Clovis, in 1653 by a mason working on the reconstruction of the church of Saint-Brice in Tournai, were several gold items including 300 golden bees.

Read more at Temple of Theola and Sang Reality 

Ancient Bee Goddess

The bee, found in Ancient Near East and Aegean cultures, was believed to be the sacred insect that bridged the natural world to the underworld.

Gold plaques embossed with winged bee goddesses, perhaps the Thriai, found at Camiros Rhodes, dated to 7th century BCE (British Museum)
The bee was an emblem of Potnia, the Minoan-Mycenaean "Mistress", also referred to as "The Pure Mother Bee". Her priestesses received the name of "Melissa" ("bee"). In addition, priestesses worshiping Artemis and Demeter were called "Bees". Appearing in tomb decorations, Mycenaean tholos tombs were shaped as beehives. The Delphic priestess is often referred to as a bee, and Pindar notes that she remained "the Delphic bee" long after Apollo had usurped the ancient oracle and shrine.

Greek Bee Fibula, 4th century BC The bee, found in the artifacts of Ancient

"The Delphic priestess in historical times chewed a laurel leaf," Harrison noted, "but when she was a Bee surely she must have sought her inspiration in the honeycomb.

Minoan Golden Bee. In Crete the Bee Goddess was worshiped. The Priestesses would wear wings and dance about in worship of the Great Mother.

Gold signet ring found in a tomb at Isopata, in the vicinity of Knossos. On the bezel is a representation of ecstatic ritual dance ceremony of adoration by women standing in a field of crocuses. They and the goddess appear to have the heads of bees. The smaller figure is considered to be a goddess descending from the sky. On the ground, the signs of an eye and snakes can also be seen. LM II period (15th century B.C.).

Dynasty of Priestesses

Greek archaeologists found an ancient skeleton covered with gold foil in a grave on the island of Crete. The woman, who presumably had a high social or religious status, was buried with a second skeleton in a large jar sealed with a stone slab weighing more than half a ton. It was hidden behind a false wall, to confuse grave robbers.

Excavator Nicholas Stampolidis said his team discovered more than 3,000 pieces of gold foil in the 7th-century B.C. twin grave near the ancient town of Eleutherna.

Female bust decorated with repoussé and granulation. The head characteristically features the so called Daedalic headpiece.On her chest are three nearly almond shaped vases and at the bottom four circled shaped "flowers."

Gold crescent shaped pendant decorated with granulation repoussé technique. Two male warrior heads with helmets vividly appear in heraldic profile. Between the helmets, a thick gold disk may have used a stone inset.

The grave also contained a copper bowl; pottery; perfume bottles imported from Egypt or Syria and Palestine; hundreds of amber, rock crystal and faience beads; as well as a gold pendant in the form of a bee goddess that probably was part of a rock crystal and gold necklace.

"If you look at it one way up, it's shaped like a lily," said Stampolidis, a professor of archaeology at the University of Crete who has worked at Eleutherna for the 25 years. "Turned upside down, you see a female figure holding her breasts, whose lower body is shaped as a bee with wings. The workmanship is exquisite."

Amid the jewels was a crescent lion god gold pendant. The lion is a beloved theme on the famous bronze shields of the Idaean Cave and in the necropolis of Eleutherna.

The ruins of Eleutherna stand on the northern foothills of Mount Ida -- the mythical birthplace of Zeus, chief of the ancient Greek gods. Past excavations have discovered a citadel, homes and an important cemetery with lavish female burials.

The town flourished from the 9th century B.C. -- the dark ages of Greek archaeology that followed the fall of Crete's great Minoan palatial culture -- and endured until the Middle Ages.

Read more

The Crimea: Gold From the Black Sea

The objects were found in tombs in the Crimea explores “the interaction and diversity of cultures on the Crimean peninsula in the period from the seventh century BC to the seventh century AD”.

The Scythians were a people of skilled craftsmen, skilled and brave conquerors pastoralists. They built their civilization in VII century BC in what is now Ukraine and southern Russia. Like other nomadic tribes, they buried their dead in bulk mounds. But the Scythians literally filled the grave with gold. The precious metal was considered a symbol of eternal life. Burial clothes of ordinary people were decorated with medallions. In the tombs of the nobles and the Scythians put massive gold jewelry.

The collections consists of over 500 archeological finds, including artifacts from Scythian gold, a ceremonial helmet, precious stones, swords, armor, house ware of the ancient Greeks and Scythians, taken from five Ukrainian museums, including one in Kiev and four in Crimea.

The most valuable items are dating back to the late Scythian and Alanian periods: a Scythian tabernacle roof top in the form of a griffin, a Scythian bronze boiler and horse ornaments, vessels in the form of sheep from the Neusatz necropolis.

 A spiraling torque from the 2nd century, an object in the exhibition at Amsterdam's Allard Pierson Museum. The pieces in the exhibition were borrowed from Crimea before the Ukrainian territory was seized and annexed to Russia. (Peter Dejong / Associated Press)

A spiraling torque from the 2nd century, an object in the exhibition at Amsterdam's Allard Pierson Museum. 

One of the most famous pieces of Scythian gold is beautifully-detailed, 4th century B.C. pectoral (necklace) with three rows of incredible evocative and detailed images.

Scythian Gold Tsar Pectoral

Gold Pectoral dates to the second half of the 4th century BC. The central lower tier shows three horses, each being torn apart by two griffins.

Details include winged griffins tackling a horse, warriors making a sheepskin garment, a young shepherd milking an ewe, a mare nursing its foal, lions ripping apart pigs, deer, sheep, dogs and grasshoppers.

A golden helmet with the silhouettes of soldiers engraved.

Scythians were very fond of gaudy, gold jewelry, covered with images of animals. Some headdresses and pendants made a huge racket when their wearers walked. Pieces found at the tomb in Tuva include a 3.3-pound gold pectoral (necklace); a couple of elaborately carved neck pieces, a headpiece ornament; headdress plums; a gold diadem; gold bracelets; mysterious top-hat-like gold objects; a thimble-size gold pendant with a Greek depiction of a Scythian goddess. 

Gold Armband

Gold Broche

Gold Ring

A grave circlet excavated from the Scythian burial ground outside Bakhchysarai, now on display in Amsterdam.
A grave circlet excavated from the Scythian burial ground outside Bakhchysarai

The Scythians loved gold. Scythian gold artifacts---that included finely-wrought, lifelike animals and human figures with exquisite details and wonderful filigree work.


Scythians, the steppe nomads that roamed the lands between Mongolia and Ukraine, were great warriors but also skilled craftsmen and connoisseurs of golden vessels, as revealed by a wealth of finds in a burial mound they left behind.

Gold Diadems From The Royal Tombs of King Philip II at Vergina

A fresco painting of a hunt tops the facade of a tomb believed to belong to the ancient Greek King Philip II of Macedon
Three Macedonian tombs were discovered: the intact tomb of Philip II (II) with a hunting scene fresco painting. Intact is also the so-called Tomb of the Prince (III), which may belong to Alexander IV, grandson of Philip II and his son Alexander the Great and another ruined and plundered Macedonian tomb (IV) of the third BC century  known as the “Tomb of Persephone”, with the incomparable fresco of the abduction of Persephone by Hades and a ruined building named "Heroon", probably used for the worship of the dead royal members buried next door.

Some of the major finds were the two golden urns, containing the bones of Philip II and one of his wives, two oak and one myrtle golden wreaths worn by the royal dead. Also the rare gold-and-purple embroidered cloth, which wrapped the bones of the royal wife, along with her golden diadem of a unique art, two ivory symposium beds, weapons and armor of Philip II, valuable symposium utensils of the royal family and the silver urn of "Prince."

Golden funerary crown of Philip II of Macedon (382-336BC) father of Alexander the Great. Found in his tomb at Vergina
Golden myrtle wreath of Queen Meda found in the tomb of Philip II of Macedon
Another magnificent piece , a crown found in the Macedonian Tomb of Vergina, exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki

A diadem from 4th century BC discovered in one of the Macedonian royal tombs in Vergina

Gilt silver diadem from the tomb of Philip II of Macedon, Vergina, c. 340–300 BCE.

Study Confirms Remains as Philip II of Macedon

Philip II of Macedon was the King of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon from 359 BC until his assassination in 336 BC. He was a member of the Argead dynasty, the third son of King Amyntas III, and father of Alexander the Great and Philip III. The famous phrase "divide and conquer" is attributed to him.

Vergina. Tomb II ("Philip's Tomb"). View of the marble door separating the antechamber from the main chamber of Tomb II ("Philip's Tomb") at Vergina, with objects in situ: The gold cover of the gorytus (bow-and-arrow case), a pair of gilt bronze greaves, a "Cyprian" amphora, and several alabastra. 350 - 325.

An anthropological team investigating cremated remains found in a royal tomb in Vergina, Greece, has claimed that the remains belong to King Philip II, father of Alexander the Great, and an unknown woman warrior. Theodore Antikas, head of the Art-Anthropological research team of the Vergina excavation, suggests that she may have been the daughter of Scythian King Ateas.

The Golden Larnax of Philip II

The golden larnax contains the remains from the burial of King Philip II of Macedon and the royal golden wreath. It was made of 25kt. gold and weighing 24.25 pounds. Inside the larnax were Philip's bones and a golden wreath of 313 oak leaves and 68 acorns weighing 1.6 pounds.

The golden larnax of Philip II [Credit: Protothema]

The face of King Philip II of Macedon, reconstructed
by a team from Manchester University. Philip had lost an eye in
battle when it was penetrated by an arrow.
Study Confirms Remains as Philip II of Macedon

The tomb was one of three excavated from the same mound in the late 1970s by Greek archaeologist Manolis Andronikos. This tomb, known as Tomb II, had been intact, and it contained silver and bronze vessels, gold wreaths, weapons, armor, and two gold larnakes, or caskets. Antikas told Discovery News that the identification of the middle-aged, male skeleton was based upon marks on the bones. “The individual suffered from frontal and maxillary sinusitis that might have been caused by an old facial trauma,” he said. Philip II was blinded when his right eye was hit with an arrow during the siege of Methone in 354 B.C. “He had signs of chronic pathology on the visceral surface of several low thoracic ribs, indicating pleuritis,” Antikas added of the warrior’s skeleton, which also showed signs of frequent horseback riding. Traces of an object made of royal purple, huntite, textile, beeswax, and clay had been placed on top of the bones in the gold larnax. A pelvis bone fragment from the other casket indicates that the remains belonged to a woman who died between the ages of 30 and 34. She had suffered a fracture in her left leg that had shortened it. “This leads to the conclusion that the pair of mismatched greaves—the left is shorter—the Scythian gorytus, or bow case, and weaponry found in the antechamber belonged to her."

Alexander the great is represented on an accessory of the suit of martial armor in the Royal Tomb II of Vergina

Iron and gold breastplate from Tomb II at Vergina. 
Sword trimmed with gold from the armor of Alexander the Great. It is a gift of the city of Kition, Cyprus. Due to corrosion, the decoration of gold and ivory was not preserved. It was found in the tomb II of Vergina.
Gold Quiver, from the Tomb of Philip II (359-336) at Vergina

Golden gorgon head ornament from the armour of Philip II of Macedon, c. 336 BCE.  

Silver wine jug from the tomb of Philip II.