Scientists Find Oldest Metal Object Ever in Tel Tsaf Region

Aug 25, 2014 08:03 AM EDT | Matt Mercuro

Scientist made a new discovery during an excavation in the Tel Tsaf region of the Middle East that could change what we know about the area.

Research was published online recently in the journal PLOS One.

Researchers believe they've found the oldest metal object ever, with preliminary analysis suggesting that it was fashioned and used in the 5th or 6th millennium, according to the study.

Though this might mean nothing to you, it is an important analysis since until this discovery it was believe that inhabitants of this region didn't use metals for another hundred years.

It is also a significant discovery because Tel Tsaf excavations began near the end of the 1970s, according to

The site, which was discovered in the 1950s, has provided a lot of information over the last 40 years. For example, an excavation showed the great wealth of this area as, as well as the peoples' commercial relationships with far away communicates thanks to a large building made out of an adobe-like brick.

The location also had a lot of large grain silos that suggested great wealth too, according to the study.

They've also found big roasting ovens still filled with animal bones, clay figurines, and other kinds of pottery.

Though the excavation continues to provide information, this is the first discovery that could challenge existing notions of history.

The copper awl, which is 4 centimeters long, is also unique because the scientists discovered it inside a grave of a 40-year-old woman.

"The appearance of the item in a woman's grave, which represents one of the most elaborate burials we've seen in our region from that era, testifies to both the importance of the awl and the importance of the woman, and it's possible that we are seeing here the first indications of social hierarchy and complexity," Danny Rosenberg, an archaeologist at the University of Haifa in the Middle East, co-author of the study, said, according to the

The researchers determined that she was buried wearing a 1,668-bead ostrich egg belt and since she was buried inside one of the grain silos, she was probably of great importance.

The placement of the awl means she was buried with it intentionally.

Until the discovery, the earliest evidence of metal use in the Middle East was seen in gold rings found within the Nahal Qanah cave and dated somewhere between 4500 B.C. and 3,800 B.C.

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