Cyprus Mail
EuropeWorld

Tiny bead from Bulgaria may be world’s oldest gold artefact

A 15-centigrams gold bead from the village of Yunatsite, Bulgaria

 

By Angel Krasimirov

It may be just a tiny gold bead – 4 mm in diameter – but it is an enormous discovery for Bulgarian archaeologists who say they have found Europe’s – and probably the world’s – oldest gold artefact.

The bead, found at a pre-historic settlement in southern Bulgaria, dates back to 4,500-4,600 BC, the archaeologists say, making it some 200 years older than jewellery from a Copper Age necropolis in the Bulgarian Black Sea city of Varna, the oldest processed gold previously unearthed, in 1972.

“I have no doubt that it is older than the Varna gold,” Yavor Boyadzhiev, associate professor at the Bulgarian Academy of Science, said.

“It’s a really important discovery. It is a tiny piece of gold but big enough to find its place in history.”

Boyadzhiev, believes the bead was made at the site, just outside the modern town of Pazardzhik, which he says was the first “urban” settlement in Europe, peopled by “a highly-cultured society” which moved there from Anatolia, in today’s Turkey, around 6,000 BC.

“I would say it is a prototype of a modern town, though we can say what we have here is an ancient town, judged by Mesopotamian standards,” Boyadzhiev said.

“But we are talking about a place which preceded Sumer by more than 1,000 years,” he added, referring to what is usually considered the first urban civilisation, based in southern Mesopotamia, modern day Iraq.

Bulgarian archaeologists dig during excavation works in the ancient settlement
Bulgarian archaeologists dig during excavation works in the ancient settlement

The gold bead, weighing 15 centigrams (0.005 ounce), was dug up two weeks ago in the remains of a small house that would have stood at a time when metals such as copper and gold were being used for a first time.

The settlement unearthed so far is between 10 and 12 hectares and would have had a 2.8-metre-high fortress wall. Anything over 0.7-0.8 hectares is regarded as a town by researchers working in Mesopotamia, Boyadzhiev said.

More than 150 ceramic figures of birds have been found at the site, indicating the animal was probably worshipped by the town’s people. The settlement was destroyed by hostile tribes who invaded from the north-east around 4,100 BC.

The bead will be exhibited in the historical museum in Pazardzhik once it has been thoroughly analysed and its age confirmed, a museum worker said.

 

 

Related Posts

English regions brace for drought as water restrictions tighten

Reuters News Service

Dry weather grounds vessels in Germany as Rhine’s water levels drop further

Reuters News Service

Bank agrees to process Russian oil transit payment to central Europe

Reuters News Service

First export of wheat under U.N. deal as two more ships leave Ukraine

Reuters News Service

Strikes at Ukraine nuclear plant prompt UN chief to call for demilitarised zone

Reuters News Service

FBI sought nuclear documents in search of Trump’s home

Reuters News Service

1 comment

Comments are closed.