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Gold jewellery unearthed at prehistoric site in Bulgaria

As gold jewellery goes, it could be considered to be quite modest, but a 6,600 year old pendant discovered at the site of one of Europe's oldest prehistoric towns may be the world's oldest bling.

Gold jewellery unearthed at prehistoric site in Bulgaria
The newly found gold jewel from the Solnitsata prehistoric town near
Bulgaria’s Provadiya [Credit: Cherno More News Agency]
The tiny two-gram pendant was discovered during excavations at the archaeological site of Solnitsata in the Varna region of Bulgaria.

Archaeologists believe the area may have been part of an advanced prehistoric society that was among the first to work out how to process and produce gold goods.

The necropolis at Solnitsata, which means 'Salt Pit', is situated just to the north of the Bulgarian city of Provadia.

Gold jewellery unearthed at prehistoric site in Bulgaria
This aerial photo shows the settlement mound covering The Salt Pit prehistoric town
 near Bulgaria’s Provadiya. The excavated rim has revealed the prehistoric 
stone fortress walls [Credit: Rex Shutterstock]
It is famous for its two-storey houses and its heavily-walled fortress, thought to date back to about 4,300 BC.

However, the gold pendant could be even 200 or 300 years older than that, according to Professor Vassil Nikolov from Bulgaria's National Institute of Archaeology, the researcher who led the team behind the discovery.

The pendant weighs about two grams and it could have been worn by either a man or a woman, as a sign of high social standing.

Gold jewellery unearthed at prehistoric site in Bulgaria
The jewel is only the latest surprise emerging from the exploration of the Solnitsata's
 site. SAmples from the necropolis's skeletons recently revealed that the people
 living there used to drink cow milk, long before than any other society started 
to consume animal milk as food [Credit: Cherno More News Agency]
'What's interesting regarding the gold jewel that we have found now is that it wasn't discovered inside one of the graves but between them, which might testify to some kind of a more special ritual,' said Professor Nikolov in an interview with a Bulgarian news agency.

'In any case, this jewel is another specimen of the art of jewellery making that was developed at the time,' he added.

Several other gold artefacts have been found at other sites around Bulgarias Varna region.

Gold jewellery unearthed at prehistoric site in Bulgaria
Prof. Nikolov shows the latest finds from the excavations of the Provadiya – Solnitsata 
(The Salt Pit) prehistoric town in Northeast Bulgaria 
[Credit: Cherno More News Agency]
In 1972 several pieces of gold jewelery were discovered in the nearby Varna Necropolis, just 23 miles east of Provadia.

Professor Nikolov said he believes the whole northern area of Bulgaria might have once been inhabited by a complex prehistoric society.

He said: 'There used to be a highly developed civilization on these territories. It was concentrated in two locations.

Gold jewellery unearthed at prehistoric site in Bulgaria
A prehistoric bone idol is one of the most intriguing new finds from The Salt Put 
town near Bulgaria’s Provadiya [Credit: Cherno More News Agency]
'There was a major center for the processing of copper and gold near the Varna lakes, and here, in the prehistoric settlement Solnitsata, there was the extraction of salt.

'This society developed for about 200-300 years.'

He also said salt could have been employed as a rudimentary form of currency, before the arrival of gold and other metals.

Gold jewellery unearthed at prehistoric site in Bulgaria
Flint arrow heads have also been uncovered at the ancient site, thought to be the
 oldest prehistoric town in Europe [Credit: Cherno More News Agency]
A similar system would be used centuries later among the Roman legions, which were sometimes paid in salt - hence the word 'salary.'

The jewel is only the latest surprise emerging from the exploration of the Solnitsata's site.

Samples from the necropolis's skeletons recently revealed that the people living there used to drink cow milk, long before than any other society started to consume animal milk as food.

Author: Gian Volpicelli | Source: Daily Mail Online [November 20, 2015]
TANN

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