Medieval gold ‘lynx’ earrings from Ani Ruins


A pair of lynx-shaped gold earrings have been unearthed near the ruins of Ani, the once great metropolis known as the “city of a thousand and one churches”, on Turkey’s eastern border, across the Akhuryan River from Armenia.

The Medieval earrings, which weigh 22 grams and have engraved star, droplet, and crescent motifs, are now preserved in the Kars Archaeology and Ethnography Museum.

The priceless artifacts, which astounded archaeologists with their exquisite engravings, are scheduled to be displayed briefly at the Kars Archaeology and Ethnography Museum in 2023 after having been carefully stored in a warehouse up until then.

Yavuz Çetin, director of Kars Archaeology and Ethnography Museum, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that Kars has hosted many civilizations throughout history as it is located on the border of countries and is on the historical Silk Road’s route.

A pair of lynx-shaped gold earrings was discovered near the Ani Ruins, in Kars, Türkiye. Photo: AA

Stating that it is possible to see the cultural assets of many civilizations in Kars, Çetin said that there are many historical immovable pieces of cultural heritage such as the Köşevenk and Mağazberk archaeological sites in and around the Ani Ruins.

Çetin noted that people have benefited from animals throughout history and attributed physical or characteristic meanings to them.

“The lynx from the feline family is one of these animals. People were influenced by the ferocity and power of this animal and used it in artistic elements,” he said. “The existence of the lynx is also known in our Kars region. A couple of lynx-shaped earrings in our museum were found in the village of Subatan, about 16 kilometers (9.9 miles) north of Ani, and brought to us in 1994.”

Çetin said that they would exhibit the earrings next year.

A pair of lynx-shaped gold earrings was discovered near the Ani Ruins, in Kars, Türkiye. Photo: AA

“Our earrings are kept in the warehouse. We plan to temporarily display them to our public in 2023. I invite everyone to see this magnificent work. Our earrings are lynx-shaped, highly decorated earrings … The motifs on them show the artistic elegance of the earrings.”

Ani, which was founded more than 1,600 years ago, was located on several trade routes and grew to become a walled city with over 100,000 residents by the 11th century. Ani was in steep decline by the 1300s, and it was completely abandoned by the 1700s.