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The Oldest Gold Treasure in Europe - Varna 5000 BC

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Don Quixote View Drop Down

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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: The Oldest Gold Treasure in Europe - Varna 5000 BC
    Posted: 18-May-2012 at 00:11
The Varna Necropolis - dated 5,000 /4500-4200/ BC, Eneolithic Varna Culture, pre-Thracian:

"...The Varna Necropolis (Bulgarian: Варненски некропол) (also Varna Cemetery) is a burial site in the western industrial zone of Varna (approximately half a kilometre from Lake Varna and 4 km from the city centre), Bulgaria, internationally considered one of the key archaeological sites in world prehistory. The oldest golden treasure in the world, dating to 5,000 BC, was discovered at the site.[1][2]...

There are crouched and extended inhumations. Some graves do not contain a skeleton, but grave gifts (cenotaphs). These symbolic (empty) graves are the richest in gold artefacts. Three thousand gold artefacts were found, with a weight of approximately six kilograms. Grave 43 contained more gold than has been found in the entire rest of the world for that epoch. Three symbolic graves contained masks of unfired clay..

The findings showed that the Varna culture had trade relations with distant lands (possibly including the lower Volga and the Cyclades), perhaps exporting metal goods and salt from the Provadiya rock salt mine [1]. The copper ore used in the artefacts originated from a Sredna Gora mine near Stara Zagora, and Mediterranean Spondylus shells found in the graves may have served as primitive currency.

The culture had sophisticated religious beliefs about afterlife and developed hierarchal status differences: it offers the oldest known burial evidence of an elite male (the end of the fifth millennium BC is the time that Marija Gimbutas claims the transition to male dominance began in Europe). The high status male buried with the most remarkable amount of gold held a war adze or mace and wore a gold penis sheath. The bull-shaped gold platelets perhaps also venerated virility, instinct force, and warfare. Gimbutas holds that the artefacts were made largely by local craftspeople...."


"...One of the richest finds is grave №43, where a skeleton was found about 170-172 cm tall and a total of 990 gold objects weighing about 1,5 kilos. The clothes of the buried were with exceptional ornate and the objects found give reasons to suggest that the man had a high rank in the society – a king or a priest. He held a scepter in his right hand and round his neck there were 3 strings of 890 gold beads weighing 499 grams. Gold lamellae decorated the clothes, knees and chest and probably the diadem round the head. On the left side there was a bow of which only the gold facing has remained. Besides these royal signs there were also a number of copper and stone objects – a copper axe, chisel, stiletto, needle, flint knives and an earthen dish. The research carried-out by the Varna Archeological Museum found no traces of violent death. A characteristic peculiarity is that the gold does not com from one place. The metal in some of the decorations is very pure – 23 carat gold, but there is a bracelet which is made from “electron” – an alloy of gold and silver which can be found in nature too, but such a deposit is found in Asia Minor. The population at the time was probably mostly stock-breeders. The evidence for that are many gold images of bulls – the symbol of fertility. The connection between this animal and the phallus symbols found in grave №43 is remarkable. The position of the phallus is marked with a gold ornament resembling a thimble....

...Another very important object found in the necropolis near Varna is a ceramic dish painted in gold. This technique is very difficult even nowadays because the gold could melt in the glaze-kiln, so it is assumed that the ceramic dish was baked to a certain stage after which it was taken out and while still soft the gold dust was rubbed in. After that the dish was put back inside the glaze-kiln, so the gold could remain shining on the clay. There is also an interesting symbol found on the dish – a swastika, which is the oldest symbol depicting the Sun. The community which inhabited the lands around Varna professed the cult to the Sun. This explains why the gold was so widely used. In an age when bronze was starting to be introduced the precious metal was well known. Unlike bronze gold shines and reflects the sun light. That is why it was preferred for making precious ornaments, but it also had a sacred value.

Another interesting object found there was a gold boomerang. It is presumed that this weapon was used only in Australia by the aboriginals....."

Edited by Don Quixote - 18-May-2012 at 00:24
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Drusin View Drop Down

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  Quote Drusin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-May-2012 at 21:47
Thank you Don, what a fascinating post. very interesting indeed.

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