In one corner, the Government of Ukraine. In the other, four museums on the disputed peninsula of Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014.
The prize? A trove of precious Scythian gold and ceremonial daggers, helmets and amulets made by the fearsome horseback nomads who ruled parts of Ukraine and Russia from 600 BC to AD 300 and who, according to Herodotus, drank from the (sometimes gold-lined) skulls of their vanquished enemies.
“Never before has Ukraine made so many prize archaeological exhibits available on loan: stunning artefacts made of gold, including a scabbard and a ceremonial helmet, and countless precious gems,” the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam announced before the February 2014 opening of its exhibit “Crimea: Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea.” Then, the world turned upside down. Read more.