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November 14–16, 2008

Bactrian Gold at the Golden Gate: A Weekend at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum to see the AFGHANISTAN Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul exhibit

Escorted by Dr. Mark Garrison

Join Oriental Institute Members and art, history, and archaeology enthusiasts from across the US on a weekend at San Francisco’s acclaimed Asian Art Museum. Dr. Mark Garrison is Professor and Chair of the Department of Art and Art History Trinity University, Texas, and also publishes and works with the Oriental Institute Persepolis Fortification Archive Tablet project. Dr. Garrison will escort this program, and will introduce us to the history, culture, and archaeology of Afghanistan in an exclusive Saturday Museum lecture. “Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures From the National Museum, Kabul” offers the world a look at a selection of the most remarkable archaeological finds in all of Central Asia, pieces that are not only artistically splendid but also reveal a diverse and thriving ancient culture.

The exhibition includes four separate collections. One is from the ancient city of Fullol and includes a Bronze Age set of gold bowls that hint of the native wealth of Afghanistan. Another contains artifacts from Ai Khanum, a Greek city in northern Afghanistan. A third features untouched treasures from what is thought to be a merchant’s storeroom in Begram, sealed up 2,000 years ago. And the fourth is the Bactrian gold, a collection of the precious items discovered in the graves of six nomads in Tillya Tepe.

“Hidden Treasures” offers visitors a look not only at the rare and beautiful objects themselves but also at the history and significance of Afghanistan as a place of remarkable diversity. Aside from Fullol, the Bronze Age site, the collections relate to one of the most dynamic periods in Afghanistan’s history, from the third century B.C. to the first century A.D., which covers the beginning of Silk Road trade.

Itinerary: November 14–16, 2008

Following independent arrival in San Francisco on Friday afternoon, we gather at our hotel for the weekend, the Hotel Whitcomb. Join your fellow travelers for a welcome dinner at the renowned Marrakech Moroccan Restaurant on Friday night. On Saturday, we will enjoy a day at the Asian Art Museum, one of San Francisco’s premiere cultural attractions. The morning will leave you to explore the museum galleries on your own until we gather for an Asian lunch in the Museum’s Peterson Lounge. Following lunch, Dr. Mark Garrison will present a lecture on the history, art, and archaeology of ancient Afghanistan, and provide some insight to the artifacts we will see in the special exhibit. We then enter the exhibit as a group. Saturday evening is at your leisure; With so many things to see and do in San Francisco, take Sunday to visit other museums, the theatre district, Haight-Ashbury, Chinatown, or the world famous Golden Gate Bridge. Independent departure.

Trip Includes:

  • Two nights in the San Francisco Hotel Whitcomb, including Saturday and Sunday breakfasts
  • Friday night all-inclusive dinner at the Marrakech Moroccan restaurant
  • All inclusive transportation to/ from Friday’s group dinner (we will be able to walk from the hotel to the Asian Art Museum on Saturday)
  • Saturday Asian Art Museum admissions and exhibition entrance fees, as well as Dr. Garrison’s lecture
  • Saturday all inclusive lunch at Asian Art Museum

Tour Cost: $489 double occupancy; $559 single
San Francisco Local Registration (without hotel) is available!


To register, complete the registration form or call the Membership Office at (773) 834-9777, or email:

For more information or to register, contact Sarah Sapperstein, Oriental Institute Membership Coordinator, at 773-834-9777 or by e-mail:

Revised: March 3, 2009

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