The Spanish Excalibur? Archaeologists pull "incredibly well-preserved" 3,200-year-old sword from a rock near the megalithic site of Mallorca
- The sword was accidentally discovered near a stone megalith known as a talaiot
- Mysterious Tailiotic culture flourished on Mallorca and Menorca from 1000 to 6000 BC
- The astonishing find offers a rare context and insight into this ancient culture
Archaeologists working on the Spanish holiday island of Majorca (Mallorca) have accidentally encountered a 3,200-year-old sword, one of the few Bronze Age weapons to be found on the island, better known for its sunny beaches.
The sword was found near a stone megalith known locally as a talayot (or talaiot), which were built by the mysterious Tailiotic culture that flourished on the islands of Mallorca and Menorca around 1000-6000 BC.
The team prepared the site for a museum site when two archaeologists picked up a rock and saw something sticking out of the ground. To their surprise, a sword appeared after carefully removing mud and earth from the object.
& # 39; It was a big surprise. We did not expect to find such a thing because the area had already been excavated & one of the chief archaeologists told CEN.
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Archaeologists were surprised to dig the well-preserved sword from the old Tailiotic culture from a rock and mud
The sword is in pretty good condition with only one break-in, even though it is 3,200 old
The sword is expected to be exhibited shortly at the Museum of Majorca
The megalith had been looted by Romans and others in the old past and has been dug up thoroughly since the 1950s, so no one expected to find any further remains.
Apart from a broken point, the sword is in good condition even though it is more than 3000 years old. The team thinks it dates from around 1200 BC.
They believe that the sword was deliberately left in place, possibly buried as a sacrifice by a noble or aristocratic family among the megaliths who are thought to have been an important religious and ceremonial site.
Ruins of a talayot on Mallorca, similar to where the sword was found
Talayot megalith structures, as seen in the distance, were probably used as places of religious worship
What was Talayotic culture?
The prehistoric Talayotic civilization existed on the Balearic island in the Bronze Age
It is an excellent example of a pre-Roman culture of this time, consisting of construction sites, pottery and weapons
The word "talayotic" is related to one of the most typical elements of this culture, buildings in the shape of a tower and known to the islanders as "TALAYOT"
Talayan culture of Menorca, consisting of 25 archaeological sites, has been proposed for inclusion on the provisional list of world heritage of the Spanish state
Talayots in nearby Mallorca and Minorca are similar, but also differ in technical building solutions: the Minorcan, for example, had crowned inside rooms with a false dome, something that is not present in Mallorca
The sword could also have stood there for defense; experts believe the weapon was buried when the Talaiotic culture was in serious decline.
Only about ten such weapons from the Talaiotic culture have been found before, mostly by farmers and builders who usually dug them up accidentally and then handed them over to authorities. This meant that experts could not properly investigate the artifacts because they did not know where and how they were found & # 39 ;.
The fact that the sword was found at an archaeological site, researchers now know in which context it was found, which is essential to understand the origin of the sword and its possible symbolic role in Talaiotic civilization.
The find, for example, seems to show that weapons were used as a sacrifice and also underlines the role of the Talaiots as places of religious worship instead of as signal towers or defenses as some have suggested.
The sword is expected to be exhibited shortly at the Museum of Majorca.
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT BRONZE AGE BRITAIN?
The Bronze Age in Great Britain began around 2,000 BC. And lasted nearly 1500 years.
It was a time when refined bronze tools, pots and weapons were brought from continental Europe.
Skulls discovered from this period differ enormously from skulls from the Stone Age, suggesting that this period of migration brought new ideas and new blood from abroad.
Bronze is made from 10 percent tin and 90 percent copper, both of which were in abundance at the time.
Crete appears to be a center of expansion for the bronze trade in Europe, and weapons first came from the Mycenaeans in southern Russia.
It is generally believed that bronze came to Britain for the first time with the Beaker people who lived in the temperate zones of Europe about 4,500 years ago.
They took their name from their characteristic bell-shaped cups, decorated in horizontal zones with finely toothed stamps.
The decorated pots can be found almost everywhere in Europe and can be used as drinking cups or ceremonial urns.
Believed to be originally from Spain, the Beaker people soon spread to Central and Western Europe in their search for metals.
Textile production was also ongoing at the time and people were wearing wrap skirts, tunics and coats. Men were generally shaved smooth and had long hair.
The dead were cremated or buried in small cemeteries near settlements.
This period was followed by the Iron Age, which began around 650 BC and ended around 43 AD.
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT EUROPEAN MIGRATIONS DURING THE BRONZE AGE?
Experts combine data from data from archeology, anthropology, genetics and linguistics to determine likely migration patterns.
According to the Kurgan hypothesis shown below, people who lived on the Pontic steppe north of the Black Sea were the most likely speakers of a Proto-Indo-European language.
Experts combine data from data from archeology, anthropology, genetics and linguistics to determine likely migration patterns. A map of the supposed Indo-European migrations from 4000-1000 BC
Most modern Europeans are descendants of a mixture of European hunter-gatherers, Anatolian early farmers and Steppe herders.
However, the DNA of the ancient Siberians can also be found in European speakers of Uralic languages, such as Estonian and Finnish.
A 2015 study in nature suggested that there was a large migration of people from the north of the Black Sea to Eastern, Central and Western Europe that started around 2,800 BC.
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