Archeologists make a surprising discovery in southern Peru after they unearthed the oldest gold necklace ever found.
Archeologists Locate Oldest Gold Necklace
Archeologists make a surprising discovery in southern Peru after they unearthed the oldest gold necklace ever found. Tests on the ancient bit show that it’s around 4,000 years old, when hunter-gatherers lived in the area.
The finding marks the earliest known gold jewelry made in the Americas which shows that gold was being used as a status symbol much earlier than previously thought.
“This was a big surprise to us,” lead author Mark Aldenderfer of the University of Arizona said. “It was not expected in the least,” said Mark Aldenderfer, one of the experts. “It’s always fun to find something and go, ‘Wow, what is that doing here?'”
It is unknown how the necklace was made but experts believe that it appears a nugget of native raw gold was pounded flat in a stone mortar and pestle. The gold was then wrapped around a piece of wood and pounded until it was folded into a tube.
The necklace has nine small gold tubes with a series of round stones, identified as either greenstone or turquoise. The necklace’s gold beads are thick and cylindrical in shape with different lengths. The beads varied in length from 11.5 to 29 millimeters and weigh from 1.5 to 5.2 grams. The edges of the beads showed distinctive hammer marks and were folded over rather than cut.
The next oldest gold ornaments found in this hemisphere date to about 600 years later than this necklace, Aldenderfer said adding that the site is also located in Peru but farther north.
The gold necklace discovery was announced in today’s issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.