At the opening of the 21st century, a series of exceedingly valuable gold snake-like spiral bracelets made appearances at museums and auction houses across the globe. So rare were these artifacts that many archeologists were unaware of their existence. The Hunt for the Transylvanian Gold chases the clues in an attempt to uncover their origins and the sinister subplots that surround their sudden emergence on the international stage.
Some believe these bracelets are the remnants of the vast treasures hidden by a Dacian king nearly 2,000 years ago. Still others believe they are elaborately produced fakes. But even if they authentic, how were they uncovered and by whom?
Romanian prosecutor Augustin Lazar operates under the belief that they were illegally procured by members of a fierce mob who specialize in the looting of archeological sites.
German antiquities expert Barbara Deppert was presented with two of the bracelets by a young man who claimed he found them in the mountains of Transylvania. Eventually, met with Lazar to contemplate their possible source of origin and authenticity. During the course of their investigations, they discovered that the bracelets also made appearances in New York and London in recent years.
The plot thickens with the introduction of Calin Ciota, a car dealer, dog enthusiast and ex-convict who was sold one of the mystery bracelets by a man desperate for a loan. When he attempted to resell the piece, he inadvertently became part of an undercover sting.
The film offers the testimonies of all three figures as it weaves a complicated international web of intrigue. Along the way, we are presented with elements of organized crime, scandal, and a high stakes game of cat-and-mouse. The end result could prove to be one of the biggest forgeries in the history of archeology or lead to a complete rethinking of ancient Romanian history. The film also features a touch of the mystical as the interview subjects question whether the artifacts are imbued by an ancient religious curse.
The Hunt for the Transylvanian Gold is by no means a bland slice of obscure archeological history. It's paced like a heart-pumping globe-trotting thriller.