Scientists have discovered a copper awl, which is the oldest metal artifact ever, in a grave having corpse of a woman in the Middle East.
The copper awl is 1.6 inches long with the tip being just 0.3 inches from side to side.
According to the scientists, the obsolete metal tool provided crucial clues about the residents of the Middle East including their trading behavior.
The tool showed that the residents crafted metal goods around 6000 years ago, which is centuries before beginning of the practice.
The ancient metal tool was unearthed in a village called Tel Tsaf, situated along Jordan River, which existed between BCE 5100 and 4600. The awl was discovered from a grave of a woman who was around 40-year-old at the time of her death. Researchers say the grave was located inside a silo and roofed with large stones. The woman inside the grave was wearing a belt made from 1668 ostrich shell beads.
Elaborating upon the unearthed items, Danny Rosenberg of the University of Haifa in Israel, said, “The appearance of the items in her grave testifies to both the importance of the awl and the importance of the woman. This represents one of the most elaborate burials we have seen in our region from that era. It’s possible that we are seeing here the first indications of social hierarchy and complexity.”
Sariel Shalev, an archaeologist at the University of Haifa, studied the tiny tool with chemicals and found that the new copper tool might have been from caucasus region.
The archaeologists also said that the tool revealed much about the ancient village. They believe it had a series of wheat silos having capacity to store 15 to 30 tonnes of grains. The village is also believed to have public courtyards with fireplaces. The remains of animals surrounded these ancient ovens. This connotes that the residents depended on big feasts in plazas. The homes in the village were made from mud bricks. The archaeologists have strong belief that the ancient village would once have been a hub for tourism with a wealthy native population.
The findings of study have been published online in the journal Plos One.