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3,000-year-old gold bowl decorated with solar motif found in Austria


During the course of rescue excavations prior to the construction of a railway line in Ebreichsdorf, Lower Austria, archaeologists discovered an extremely rare gold bowl, adorned with a sun motif - the first the kind to be found in Austria. 


3,000-year-old gold bowl decorated with solar motif found in Austria
Late Bronze Age gold bowl and fragment from it found in Ebreichsdorf
[Credit: Andreas Rausch, Novetus]

3,000-year-old gold bowl decorated with solar motif found in Austria
Side detail of the bowl [Credit: Andreas Rausch, Novetus]

3,000-year-old gold bowl decorated with solar motif found in Austria
Exterior of bowl [Credit: Andreas Rausch, Novetus]

The excavation site, stretching along a north-south and east-west axis over several hundred metres, is believed to be a Late Bronze Age settlement of the Urnfield culture. Occupied between 1300 and 1000 BC, the settlement consisted of several pile dwellings built around a large central building. 




The bowl was found relatively close to the ground surface, near the wall of one of the pile dwellings in the settlement. Measuring 5 cm high and 20 cm in diameter, it is made of a thin sheet of gold finely decorated in repoussé technique. The side of the bowl is features rows of concentric circles, lozenges and dots while the bottom has a radiating sun.


3,000-year-old gold bowl decorated with solar motif found in Austria
The bottom of the bowl with the radiating sun design
[Credit: Andreas Rausch, Novetus]

3,000-year-old gold bowl decorated with solar motif found in Austria
Bowl, bracelets and organic materials wrapped in gold wire
[Credit: Andreas Rausch, Novetus]

3,000-year-old gold bowl decorated with solar motif found in Austria
The bowl and its fragments found with two bracelets made of gold wire
[Credit: Andreas Rausch, Novetus]

Inside the bowl were four objects: two gold bracelets made of twisted wire and two clumps of organic material, possibly fabric or leather. The fabric was stitched with gold thread, which was then rolled up - and wrapped with additional gold wire.




Archaeologists believe that the bowl and its contents may have been a votive deposit. Indeed, in addition to this precious bowl, archaeologists found nearly 500 bronze objects, including pins, knives and daggers, as well as an abundance of animal bones and ceramics, the arrangement of which seems to indicate that they were deposited there over time. 


3,000-year-old gold bowl decorated with solar motif found in Austria
Bronze pins discovered during excavations within the sacrificial site
[Credit: Andreas Rausch, Novetus]

3,000-year-old gold bowl decorated with solar motif found in Austria
Bronze knives discovered in the river bed or swamp
[Credit: Andreas Rausch, Novetus]

3,000-year-old gold bowl decorated with solar motif found in Austria
Full handle bronze knife [Credit: Andreas Rausch, Novetus]

3,000-year-old gold bowl decorated with solar motif found in Austria
Deposit of clay vessels [Credit: Andreas Rausch, Novetus]

According to archaeologists, the site would have been of ritual importance since it was located near a watercourse: it is therefore possible that these objects and animals were thrown into the water for religious purposes.




According to the head of the excavation, Polish archaeologist Michal Sip, this is one of the most important archaeological finds in Austria in recent decades. "I have worked on several continents, especially in Egypt and Guatemala, but I had never discovered anything like it," he commented.




He estimates that only around 30 similar bowls have been discovered across Europe. "This is the first find of its kind in Austria, and the second east of the Alpine line," the archaeologist explained. "Single vessels of this type have so far been discovered in Spain, France and Switzerland. Certainly more are known from the area of northern Germany, Scandinavia and Denmark - because they were made there," Dr. Sip added. 


The bowl will soon be exhibited at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna (Museum of Art History).


Source: PAP - Science in Poland [October 04, 2021]



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1 comment :

  1. Interesting to consider this bowl & contents as a medical/birthing kit, gold bowl for warming/sterilizing water, needles, medicinal compounds wrapped in leather. Distribution of bowls could indicate spread of higher level of medicinal care?

    ReplyDelete


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