Antiquities from Ukraine: Golden Treasures and Lost Civilizations

The exhibition has been separated into five easily navigated sections:

The ancient land of Ukrainian is rich in historical treasures.For millenia, Ukraine was home to numerous early cultures that left behind important artifacts, from prihistoric ritual objects to finely crafted gold adornments of nomadic chieftains. For nearly 3,000 years during the late Stone Age, Trypilian settlements housed an egalitarian culture of farmers who inhabited the fertile rolling plains of Eastern Europe between Drieper and the Danube Rivers. During the Bronze Age, successive waves of steppe nomads shattered thesedentary society of peaceful farmers. The treasure filled Kurgans of nomadic Scythians and Sarmatians still dot the Ukrainian plans. Attracted by the riches of the land, Greek colonists and steppe nomads lived side by side, tradying, and on rare occasions, fighting with each other. Roman military outposts replaced the Greek colonies and eventually grew into Byzantine Christian settlements that made in roads into the first slavic state, Kyivan Rus.

These and other cultures of this ancient land have yielded a bountiful harvest of priceless artifacts. As in other ancient sites such as Egypt and Mesopotamia, these discoveries were not always accidential. Buried relics of the past hold an irresistible lure for treasure hunters. Contemporary collectors depend upon treasure hunters’ luck and chance discoveries by the local people to create their remarkable collections. The best intented of collectors withdraw the artifacts from the open market and provide access to the general public and scholars to study the remnants of cultures long gone.





The exhibition Antiquities from Ukraine presents the rich historical past and fascinating material culture of the peoples that inhabited the modern-day Ukraine.

The 166 unique artifacts featured in this show are on loan from the PlaTar National Museum of Cultural Heritage in Kiev. The Museum houses the private collection amassed by the Ukrainian philanthropists Sergei Platonov, Nikolai Platonov and Sergei Taruta. The collection was initially founded by the prominent art collector Sergei Platonov who, in the mid-1990s, began to acquire ancient artifacts from private owners to prevent the valuable historical objects from leaving the country. Sergei Taruta joined Platonov’s initiative a few years later in an effort to preserve the country’s cultural patrimony. Together, they founded The Museum of National Cultural Heritage PlaTar in Kiev. Sergei Taruta is the head of the Industrial Union of Donbass (ISD), a leading transnational steel company. After Sergei Platonov’s death, his son Nikolai continued his father’s initiative. Although privately owned, the PlaTar collection has been placed under the protection of the state and cannot be sold or dispersed. The owners of the collection presented 1315 objects to the Ukrainian state.

The loan of the collection was arranged through the Ukrainian government by the Foundation for International arts and Education, based in Washington D.C. These objects have previously been displayed at the Joslyn Museum (Omaha) and the Museum of Natural History (Houston).



Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe after Russia. Ukraine’s territory is the size of Germany and Great Britain combined, but its population is smaller than that of either. Ukraine is one of the world’s youngest states. Formerly part of the Soviet Union, Ukraine became an independent democratic state in 1991.

Ukraine is a country of vast rolling plains and forests in the northwest. The country has some of the best soil in the world, chernozem. Other resources are iron ore and coal deposits. The main river is the Dnieper, the country’s ancient trading route.


Territory 233100 sq. miles


Population 45,724,242 (April 1, 2011)


Capital: Kiev


Type of government: Republic


Believed to represent the blue of the sky and the gold of Ukraine’s vast wheat fields, the colors of the modern Ukrainian flag were used on the banners of a Kievan principality as early as the 13th century.