Thursday, May 03, 2007

Neolithic burial site yields weapon resembling Bronze Age axe

Budapest, April 23 (MTI) - Archaeologists exploring a Neolithic burial site in Tolna County, S Hungary, have discovered what may easily be the most exciting tomb ever unearthed in Europe, Professor Istvan Zalai-Gaal, who has been leading the diggings, reported on Monday.

The tomb is seven thousand years old and was the burial chamber of a tribal chieftain. There is a heavy upright log in each corner, believed to have originally held an aboveground structure over the two-metre by two-metre tomb. Inside, said Zalai-Gaal, archaeologists found polished stone axes and other stone tools typical of the late Stone Age, as well as the largest stone knife ever to be recovered from that period. They also discovered a decorated bullhorn, a marble war club and an axe head that though stone, bears the shape of a Bronze Age weapon. Scientists believe the tribe was aware of metal tools but did not have the metal to make any, leading them to copy the form. Also discovered was a necklace made of hundreds of bronze beads, combined with shells from the Mediterranean, the latter obviously traded goods, said Zalai-Gaal. One had to be extraordinarily wealthy to have a necklace like this, he pointed out.