IT has been kept locked away for years, with the public only having seen it five times since it was first discovered.

But now an ancient hoard of gold jewellery has gone on permanent display at the Archaeological Museum in Sevilla.

The so-called Carambolo Treasure is made up of 21 elaborately worked 24-carat gold pieces that together weigh almost three kilos.

The collection, which dates back to the Phoenician period, was discovered by workmen in 1958 on a hill in Camas on the outskirts of Sevilla.

Later excavations revealed the site was a sacred complex, dedicated to Astarte and Baal, thought to date back to the 9th Century BC and probably used by the Phoenician merchants who ruled Sevilla until the start of the 7th Century BC.

The gold pieces – which are remarkably well preserved – may have been used as part of the ritual for animal sacrifice.

Now, the new exhibition, split into four themes, will explore the treasure’s discovery, the characteristics of the Carambolo sanctuary, other river and coastal sanctuaries nearby, and the treasures of Ebora and Mairena del Alcor.

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