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World’s Oldest metal object, Cone-shaped copper awl, found in Tel Tsaf in Israel

Cone-shaped copper awl discovered at Middle Chalcolithic burial site in Tel Tsaf, Israel. The awl is World’s oldest metal object found.

Aug 25, 2014 14:14 IST
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World’s oldest metal object, cone-shaped copper awl was discovered by archaeologists at Middle Chalcolithic burial site in Tel Tsaf, an archaeological site in Israel’s Jordan Valley. The team of archaeologists unearthed the oldest metal on the Earth from a woman’s grave.

The copper awl is 1.6 inches (4.1 centimeters) long and its tip is just 0.03 inches from side to side. It dates back between 5100 BC and 4600 BC.

As per the archeologists the woman was aged about 40 years at the time of her death. She also had a necklace around her waist made of 1668 ostrich-egg shell beads. Her grave was covered by several large stones inside a built mud-brick silo at Tel Tsaf.


Conclusion of the discovery
Danny Rosenberg, an archaeologist at University of Haifa explained that appearance of the metal discovered from the woman’s grave testifies two things, first, the importance of the awl and second, the importance of woman. The discovery is the first indication of social hierarchy and complexity.

About the archaeological site of Tel Tsaf
First time Tel Tsaf was discovered as an archaeological site in 1950 AD and the process of digging was started from the end of the 1970s and is being done till now. The area was a village from about 5100 BC to 4600 BC.

Some discoveries in the area suggests that the place was an ancient international centre of commerce with great wealth. These include
• Large buildings made of mud bricks
• Numerous silos that could each store 15 to 30 tons of wheat and barley
• Roasting ovens filled with burnt animal bones
• Several items made of obsidian, a volcanic glass with origins in Anatolia or Armenia and shells from the Nile River in Egypt and pottery from either Syria or Mesopotamia

Detail of the discovery was published in the journal PLOS ONE.

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