Archaeologists have discovered in Hungary a treasure of almost a thousand objects of the Eneolithic era

(ORDO NEWS) — Archaeologists have investigated a treasure found in Hungary in a garbage pit of an early Eneolithic settlement. The cooking pot contained nearly a thousand items, 704 of which were found to be copper.

The collection of finds includes beads, pendants, bracelets and spirals made from a faded ore that seems to have come from the Slovak Ore Mountains. The hoard has been dated to around 4235-3775 BC.

The beginning of the Eneolithic (Copper Age or Chalcolith) in the Danube region was marked by a number of important cultural changes in people’s lives. Traditionally, the main marker of the beginning of this period was considered the transition to the use of copper products.

Today, however, archaeologists are focusing more on other cultural changes. So, in the field of agriculture, slash-and-burn agriculture begins to be replaced by plowing, settlement complexes are changing, burial grounds are arranged outside the settlements.

In addition, copper and salt deposits began to be developed at this time.

In the 5th millennium BC, a complex of Eneolithic cultures arose in the eastern part of Central Europe and in the west of the Carpathian basin. Among them is the Lasin culture (or the Balaton-Lasinya culture), which existed around 4400/4350-3950 BC.

Her monuments are known in the territory of modern northern Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Austria and Hungary. Archaeologists have discovered in these regions a dense network of small settlements associated with this (and close to it) culture.

The finds from these monuments led to the conclusion that the importance of animal husbandry in the economy increased among these people, and they themselves began to lead a more mobile lifestyle.

Archaeologists have discovered in Hungary a treasure of almost a thousand objects of the Eneolithic era 3
Computed tomography findings
Archaeologists have discovered in Hungary a treasure of almost a thousand objects of the Eneolithic era 2
Clay pot containing artefacts

Zsuzsanna Siklosi from Lorand Eötvös University, together with colleagues from Hungary, Italy and Switzerland, explored the Early Eneolithic treasure, named after the village of Magyaregrese.

It was discovered in 2016 during excavations of an ancient settlement in South Transdanubia, located on a hilltop.

At this monument, the researchers recorded the remains of eight rectangular buildings measuring 7.9–9.7 × 11.7–13 meters, ditches, and various kinds of pits.

During the survey of the garbage pit, archaeologists discovered a whole pot for cooking, placed upside down there.

The researchers drew attention to the fact that the vessel was very heavy – 11.4 kilograms, so they decided to send it for x-rays and computed tomography.

The latter showed that inside the pot there are a large number of various kinds of artifacts, which, apparently, were originally wrapped in some kind of organic material.

Archaeologists have discovered in Hungary a treasure of almost a thousand objects of the Eneolithic era 4
Copper beads

During the analysis of the filling of the vessel, scientists found 264 limestone beads, one from the shell of a mollusk from the genus Spondylus, as well as 681 small copper beads two to six millimeters long and about 2.5–4 millimeters in diameter.

In addition, the pot contained 19 copper spiral tubes 16–95 millimeters long and about nine to ten millimeters in diameter, three spiral copper bracelets (two of them were part of one piece of jewelry) and two large spiral copper pendants resembling glasses in their appearance. .

Since the hoard itself did not contain samples suitable for radiocarbon analysis, scientists used animal bones found in the settlement for these purposes.

Judging by the calibrated dating, the settlement arose around 4235 BC and lasted until 3775 BC.

The study of the finds showed that casting was not used for their manufacture. So, metal beads and bracelets and other artifacts were made from copper sheets or strips rolled around cylindrical rods.

Archaeologists have discovered in Hungary a treasure of almost a thousand objects of the Eneolithic era 5
Spiral copper tube

Of the 705 copper items, ten were selected for chemical and isotope analysis. It turned out that faded ore was used to make artifacts. Perhaps this raw material was mined in the Slovak Ore Mountains.

At the settlement itself, archaeologists have not found any evidence of metallurgical production. Apparently, copper products were already there in the form of finished products.

By their type, the discovered objects are similar to some other finds of the turn of the 5th-4th millennium BC, made in Central Europe, for example, with a treasure from the Austrian village of Stollhof.

According to the researchers, the placement of the treasure in a cooking pot is a rather rare phenomenon for the Eneolithic, although not unique.

The items from the collection were identified by scientists as decorations, but they found it difficult to explain the reason why they were hidden, and also to determine to whom they belonged.

At the same time, the researchers did not find signs of wear and tear from frequent wear on any of the metal objects. However, this does not apply to stone artifacts – among them there are also heavily worn items.


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