Last month, a beet farmer in the Czech Republic unearthed a Bronze Age statue. It was well preserved in the ground and the anonymous farmer took the gold treasure and then sent the pictures to archaeologists at the Silesian Museum in Opava, a town in the Moravian-Silesian Region.
The gold coin is believed to have been invented about 2,500 years ago.
Bronze Age goldsmith’s appearance before preservation. ( Muzeum Bruntál )
Made with magical ideas in mind
Dr. Jiří Juchelka is an Opava geologist who heads the archaeological collection of the Silesian Museum. The researcher told Radio Prague International (RPI) that the gold piece measured “51 centimeters (20 inches) in length” and contained a “close match” with silver, copper, and iron. The artist says, “it is decorated with raised concentric circles and studded with rose-like knobs at the end.”
According to Live Science, museum conservator Tereza Alex Kilnar said that although no one can be sure, the goldsmith may have been “the first of the leather belt.” But this is no ordinary belt buckle, as archaeologists believe it was built with cosmological/supernatural ideas.
3,500 years old and still shining
Dr. Kilnar is currently maintaining and monitoring the tape recorder at the Bruntál Museum. According to the museum website, this is an auxiliary organization of the Moravian-Silesian Region that serves the important cultural heritage sites in northern Moravia – Bruntál Chateau, Sovinec Castle, and the Scythe Maker’s House in Karlovice in Silesia.
Without testing for gold, and based on the art alone, Kilnar suggests the gold belt dates around the middle to the Bronze Age, meaning it was used area around the 14th century BC. At this time, small communities of farmers lived in wooden houses and did not begin to create large agricultural buildings that were created in the past centuries.
Researchers believe that the gold belt dates back to the middle to late Bronze Age. ( Muzeum Bruntál )
Put a face to a vision
Earlier this year, a team of Czech archaeologists published a photo of a Bronze Age woman reconstructed after DNA analysis. The woman was discovered from an ‘elite burial’ in Mikulovice, in East Bohemia. According to a report on Expat.cz, he had “fair skin, red hair, wide-set black eyes, a prominent chin, a small figure,” and died around 35 years old.
It has been described as “one of the most valuable [Bronze Age burials] known in Europe,” the woman belonged to the Únětice culture, and was seen wearing bronze and gold jewelry, including a sacred amber necklace. This group of early farmers lived in Central Europe from 2300 to 1600 BC, and they are similar to the culture that produced the Bronze Age gold belt.
Elite connections with the rest of the world
It is not possible to determine exactly which group made the golden tea, because at that time (2000 BC to 1200 BC) Central Europe was a rich group of different cultures. Small communities began to join together and establish a commercial business where animals and crops such as wheat and barley were traded.
This period saw the emergence of new social divisions. Those who controlled the lands around the emerging trading centers were the basis of the societal elite. At that time silver and gold became symbols of the economic class and Kilnar told RPI that gold was probably something for someone in a “higher position in society, because it was not valuable things are made at that time.”
Australian National University Professor Catherine Frieman specializes in European Bronze Age metalwork. He agreed, telling RPI that the owner of the gold belt “is a person of high status, socially or spiritually.”
For a person who was “high in society, because things of value were not often produced at that time.” ( Muzeum Bruntál )
Making Cosmology the Golden Bronze Age
Live Science reports that during the Bronze Age, gold objects, as well as hoards of gold, were buried “in specific and isolated locations indicating a form of gift exchange between cultural and God.” Frieman told LiveScience in an email that gold objects with circular patterns are often associated with the “Bronze Age cosmological system that is believed to focus on solar cycles.”
In 2013, Dr. Joachim Goldhahn at the University of Western Australia published a paper “rethinking cosmology in the Bronze Age using a Northern European perspective.” This researcher concluded that the cosmologies of the Bronze Age world were based on “pragmatic practices, which were constantly created and repeated in certain periods and times.”
Therefore, the gold belt buckle represents the annual cycle of the sun. But it is more central to regular worship, and is used at “times and times” of the year, for example, to mark important stages of the solar cycle, such as the equinoxes and solstices.
Top photo: Bronze Age artefact found in a beet field in the Czech Republic. Source: Muzeum Bruntál
By Ashley Cowie