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“Discovery of a lifetime” golden sun bowl discovered in prehistoric settlement

Archaeologists conducting excavations in a prehistoric settlement in Ebreichsdorf, Austria, have discovered a golden sun bowl dating from 3,000 years ago.

Excavations in Ebreichsdorf have been carried out since September 2019, where archaeologists found an ancient settlement dating from between 1300-1000 BC, which researchers associate with the urn field culture (related to the cremation type of funeral rites).

The bowl was found close to the wall of a prehistoric house and is decorated with a sun motif depicting the rays of the sun. It is made of very thin sheet metal, consisting of approximately 90 percent gold, 5 percent silver, and 5 percent copper.

Inside the bowl was coiled golden wire wrapped with organic material clumps that was originally fabric sewn with gold thread. The research team suggests that the fabric could have been decorative scarves, used during religious ceremonies for the worship of the sun.

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bowl
Image Credit : Andreas Rausch

Archaeologist Dr. Michał Sip from Novetus said: “This is the discovery of a lifetime”, who believes that the bowl is one of the most important archaeological discoveries in Austria in recent decades.

The bowl is the first of its kind found in Austria, and the second to the east of the Alpine line, with only thirty or so such golden bowls ever being discovered throughout all of Europe.

Since excavations began in 2019, up to five hundred bronze objects consisting of pins, daggers, and knives, and various ceramic clay vessels, shells, and animal bones have been discovered near to the settlement.

bowl3
Image Credit : Andreas Rausch

It is suggested that these finds were deposited in an ancient swamp or dried up riverbed, and were thrown into the water during religious rituals by the inhabitants of the settlement.

The bowl will be placed on display at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, with excavations of the settlement site to continue for the next six months.

PAP

Header Image Credit : Andreas Rausch

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Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 7,500 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.

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