Monday, February 25, 2008

Hidden Treasures Open Thread

It reads like the plot of an Indiana Jones adventure. A golden and amber room, looted from Russia and hidden away by the Nazis, provided one of the most enduring mysteries from WWII.
There have been hundreds of theories about its fate. Some historians claim it was destroyed in bombing raids on Königsberg, others that it was lost at sea. Over the years, various searches have failed to uncover it.
Now, however, treasure hunters believe this prize, called by some the "8th Wonder of the World," has been found, buried far beneath the surface along the Germany/Czechoslovakia border. From artinfo.com:
Treasure hunters using electromagnetic pulse measurements to search underground near the German-Czech border have found a manmade cavern that they believe contains the Amber Room, an 18th century Russian palace chamber stolen by Nazis during World War II, reports Spiegel Online via Bloomberg.

"I'm well over 90 percent sure we have found the Amber Room," said Heinz-Peter Haustein, mayor of the nearby village Deuschneudorf, who led the search. "The chamber is likely to be part of a labyrinth of storage rooms that the Nazis built here. I knew it was in this area. I just never knew exactly where."

The room, made of panels covered with amber, gold leaf, and a fossil resin, was given to Czar Peter the Great by Prussian King Wilhelm I in 1716, according to Spiegel. In 1941 Nazis dismantled and removed it from the Catherine Palace near St. Petersburg (then Leningrad) and shipped it to Konigsberg (then Kaliningrad). It hasn't been seen since 1945.
If actually uncovered, the Germans intend to return the room to St. Petersburg as a "gesture of reconciliation." There's no word about what the plans are for the other treasures believed to also reside in the underground labyrinth.

I've got a touch of a chest cold, so I'll keep this short. You can see other images of the room, excavation, and reconstructed version on Spiegel Online. Consider this an open thread on treasure, romance, and adventure (or whatever strikes your fancy).

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16 Comments:

Blogger kalm james said...

Over sixty years to find the 8th wonder of the world? If they keep digging I’m sure they will eventually find the “Weapons of Mass Destruction” too.

2/25/2008 10:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Indiana Jones and the Really Tacky Gold Room

2/25/2008 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

I believe they found Harrison Ford almost perfectly preserved in the same excavation and unearthed him just in time for last night's Oscars.

2/25/2008 01:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought they released him from carbon freezing so that he could do his cameo in the "I'm Fucking Ben Affleck" video.

2/25/2008 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger Tor Hershman said...

You have a most interesting blog.

Stay on groovin' safari,
Tor

2/25/2008 01:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it over?

ADAA empty?

Volta?

2/25/2008 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Anonymous...can you elaborate? I attended ADAA on Sunday and it was anything but empty.

Volta? What are you referring to?

2/25/2008 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

I'm sure they mean the Mars Volta. Cool band. Something about spiders.

2/25/2008 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

Come on folks, where's your sense of adventure and mystery? It's the amber room! Every few years the press runs a story on it and now they may have found it. This was great art, great craft for it's time. It's fabulous, what else could you call it? It's the ultimate fabulous room and Indiana Jones couldn't find it.

2/25/2008 11:12:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

Motherfuckin code amber! Amber alert! No child left alive!

I was on to this meme a long time ago like several months, and I knwo al capone never went to germany.

WHen geraldo Riveral drew a line in the sand of his private beach, I knew he was just pandering to the lowest common denominator and also, to his hispanic base. Let him with the least guilded cage cast the frst stone, and ware the gold leafed buddha.

2/26/2008 12:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sure that the shiny gold room will be very appreciative that you defended its integrity 'david'.

2/26/2008 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger David said...

Well yes, it is very shiny. I suppose a Jean Prouve room buried for 50 years would be more appreciated. There are issues of exploitation of the crafts workers who made the room and all that to consider.But still, a room in amber and gold could be a precursor to a light artist like James Turrell. Then think about the cost of a Jeff Koons puppy or Damien Hirst's diamond skull. What would be thought of these objects if they were stolen, buried for 60 years and then re-discovered? And throw a few John Currin paintings into the trove, and a Kara Walker.

2/26/2008 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

It would be totally awesome if someone stole all the works of Koons, Hirst, Currin and Walker and buried them. Forever.

2/26/2008 10:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You beat me to it Chris. I am not sure what your point is 'david'. Is it that I am not appreciative enough of past art and that if output of contemporary artists got stolen and buried I would get more involved or emotional about this issue? Uh, no. I am all for unburying and discovering interesting items from the past. Please don't ghettoize me and lump me together with those haters who do not fully appreciate things being dug up and revealed after fifty years of obscurity.

2/26/2008 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger David said...

My dear anonymous:

No offense intended. I don't even know your name. Edward invited speculation on romance and adventure and the subject of buried treasure - or burying today's crap for that matter - sets the imagination going.

If I have a point, it might just be that the amber room would have been a "light" work, intended to dazzle and awe and even today would be something to see. There's also the romance and heartache of Russia, where my father was born in 1916.It's a wonderful story - and they haven't actually found the amber room yet.

All the best.

D

2/26/2008 06:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have steeped myself in Russian history and literature my entire adult life. My father's side of the family came from the mother country. My great grandfather was a Dubrovsky. He was a famous violinist who played for the Czar. I made a few silly jokes at the beginning of the comments trail. I am sure that I would be overwhelmed by the room if I entered it and it was even partially intact. I hope they can rescure as many artifacts as they can from Russia's tragedy history. Sorry if I offended you in some way. Humor was the only motivating factor on my part.

2/26/2008 07:40:00 PM  

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