Sunday, October 07, 2007

Archaeologists in Serbia Discover Earliest Known Metal-Working Evidence in Europe

It's not often we hear of archaeological news from Serbia, but these latest discoveries from Prokuplje, in the south of the country...

According to National Museum archaeologist Dušan Šljivar, experts found a “copper chisel and stone ax at a location near Prokuplje in which the foundation has proven to be 7,500 years old, leading us to believe that it was one of the first places in which metal weapons and tools were made in prehistoric times.”

Archaeologists hope that this find in southern Serbia will prove the theory that the metal age began a lot earlier than it was believed to have, Šljivar told Beta news agency. He leads the team of archaeologists that have been investigating the site over the past decade.

Šljivar said that this finding, along with 40 similarly valuable ones before it, among which there were more parts of metal tools and weapons, as well as a smelter and furnace, prove that people inhabiting this territory began working with metal more than 5,000 years before the new era.

Prokuplje Museum archaeologist Julka Kuzmanović-Cvetković said that the site “shows that the people living on our territory started a civilization that presented the basics of the technological revolution.”

The name of the actual site is
Pločnik, and was accidentally discovered during the construction of a railway in 1927, reminiscent of the way in which Atapuerca came to the world's attention.

If the dates turn out to be correct, this would indeed be a very early Copper Age site, preceding the time of
Ötzi, the man in the ice from the Austro-Italian border, discovered in 1991 - at the time, it was thought, before the find of the copper axe found near his body, that the Copper Age had begun much later than his times, around 5,300 years ago, so this find from Pločnik would push back the initial experiments in metallurgy about 2,000 years. Hopefully, more news and analysis will follow in due course.

see also :
Vinča culture

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