© Swiss National Museum

Name of Object:

Golden bowl of Altstetten


Zurich, Switzerland

Holding Museum:

Swiss National Museum


Bronze Age

Type of object:


Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):



H: 12cm, Diameter Ø: 25cm, Weight: 907,8g


Switzerland, Altstetten


In Zurich, gold is something one expects to find in and around the financial centre at Paradeplatz. So you can imagine the surprise of the man working on the rail tracks in Altstetten in 1906 when his eye caught sight of a glint of gold shimmering through the mud. What came to light was a richly decorated bowl. It turned out to be one the most significant Bronze Age finds. The precious bowl had been lying in the ground, well protected, for about 3,000 years. Suns, full moons and crescents decorate the bowl. The noble material’s bright gloss also represents the heavenly lights. Even back in the Bronze Age people made use of the celestial bodies to orient themselves and keep track of the course of the seasons. They were aware of the sun and moon’s influence on the growth of crops and relied on them as symbols in their rituals.

Current Owner:

Swiss Confederation

How date and origin were established:

Stylistic analysis

How Object was obtained:

Found in Altstetten, Switzerland

Citation of this web page:

 "Golden bowl of Altstetten" in MWNF GALLERIES , Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://www.museumwnf.org/thematicgallery/thg_galleries/database_item.php?itemId=objects;GALLERIES;sw;Mus01;3;en&id=gold_and_silver

MWNF Working Number: CH_GAL_003