With the special exhibition “Napoleon’s Silver Treasure” the Archaeological Museum Hamburg led its visitors into a nearly forgotten era when Hamburg was occupied by French troops for years: The Hamburg French Period from 1806 to 1814. Original artifacts and reports from witnesses of that time let the past events come to live once more from 7 may to 14 September at the museum. At the centre of the exhibition was the enormous hoard of coins containing nearly 10,000 silver coins that had been buried 200 years ago during the turmoil war on the Wilhelmsburg island. It lay there until 1993 when the hoard was unearthed during construction works. The experts of the Archaeological Museum Hamburg analysed the coin hoard scientifically and presented the results in the special exhibition. The year 2014 could not have been more fitting since exactly 200 years ago the French withdrawal from Hamburg took place. An exciting event programme accompanied the exhibition.
French Period in Hamburg
Between 1806 and 1814 “Hambourg” was a French city in Napoleon’s empire for a while. The exhibition showed which relics of the German-French cultural and conceptual transfers can be found today in our daily routine. Documents and contemporary exhibits told from the past and revealed the traces this colourful part of European history left in today’s Hamburg.
The coin hoard of Wilhelmsburg
An impressive “object” of Hamburg’s French Period is a coin hoard that was buried 200 years ago on the Wilhelmsburg island: 8795 coins and one jeton, wrapped in linen and hidden in a wooden bucket, were unearthed in 1993 during bomb disposal. It was the biggest hoard of coins ever found in Hamburg. The hoard is of historical numismatic importance because of its unique composition. In the exhibition the find was presented to the public for the first time.
The collected results of the coin analyses were not only used for the exhibition, they were also decisive for the scientific catalogue that was published in the context of the exhibition.
Once a year, interested visitors can experience Hamburg’s architectural culture in a special way: during guided tours, walking tours and cultural events in usually non-publicly accessible monuments, they learn a lot about the history of construction and experience the historical flair of Hamburg’s diverse landscape of monuments.
To the Open Monument Day, the Archaeological Museum Hamburg invites to short guided tours at the monument with the head of the Department of City History, Jens Brauer. He will illuminate the varied history of the castle and the Schlossinsel for the visitors.
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