Researchers at the University of Haifa, have published a paper in the journal Plos One about a copper awl they believe is the oldest metal object ever discovered. They worked with archeologists at the Zinman Institute of Archeology, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the German Archeological Institute of Berlin. They uncovered it at Tel Tsaf, which researchers say is a village that dates to around 5200 to 4600 BCE. The discovery of the awl is important because it moves the date when archeologists thought people started using metal.
Metal object changes archeological views
Tel Tsaf is located close to the Jordan River and the border with Jordan. Archeologists first documented the site during the 1950s, although they did not begin excavating there until the end of the 1970s. The site is believed to be the most important in the region that dates to this period because researchers have learned a lot.
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Researchers say they learned that the town was very wealthy and that it had commercial ties with cities located far away. The town also had many buildings constructed of mud bricks and many silos to store barley and wheat. Archeologists also uncovered roasting ovens and burnt animal bones, as well as many other types of objects. They even found shells from the Nile River in Egypt and other items from various parts of the Mediterranean region.
Object found in woman’s grave
Archeologists reportedly found the metal awl in a woman’s grave along with a beaded belt. They found the awl just above the skeleton, leading researchers to believe it was either owned by her or was a burial offering. The awl is just four centimeters in length and one millimeter thick at the tip. It was set in a wooden handle. The woman who was in the grave was approximately 40 years old when she died.
Researchers do say they aren’t exactly sure how the awl was used. However, they believe its presence in the woman’s grave means that she was someone of high social status. They also think it means that the building where she was buried was significant.