3,000-year-old Golden Bowl Found at Austrian Dig Site

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October 3, 2021

Archaeologists have found a 3,000-year-old golden sun bowl at a settlement in Austria.

Urnfield golden bowl

The 20-centimeter-in-diameter bowl, which sports a depiction of the rays of the Sun, is one of hundreds of objects found near Ebreichsdorf, at which archaeologists have been digging since 2019. The bowl, which is 5 centimeters tall, is made of 90 percent gold; the rest is silver and copper. Coiled golden wire lay inside the bowl, which the archaeologists found near the wall of a home found at the prehistoric settlement.

Dr. Michal Sip, the Polish archaeologist leading the excavations, said that such bowls had been found elsewhere in Europe but that that this one was the first such bowl found in what is now Austria. European archaeologists have found 30 such bowls in all.

Among the hundreds of other artifacts found at the site are clay containers, daggers, knives, pins, shells, and animal bones. Also among the finds are remains of several homes and of storage buildings.

The people who lived at Ebreichsdorf belonged to the ash field culture (also known as Urnfield culture) and lived there from 1300 B.C. to about 1000 B.C. The name comes from the people's practice of cremating their dead and placing the ashes in urns that were buried in individual graves, often with grave goods, such as ceramic bowls and cups and metal weapons and personal items like bracelets and pendants. People in this proto-Celtic culture lived throughout out much of Central Europe.

The excavations themselves were at first a formality, a requirement before the Austrian Federal Railways could construct a railway station in the area. Discovery of artifacts prolonged the dig, which officials expect will finish early in 2022.

Officials said that the bowl would soon be on display at the Kunsthistoriches Museum in Vienna.

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