Skip to comments.Oldest Swords Found In Turkey (3,300BC)
Posted on 03/30/2003 4:37:06 PM PST by blam
Oldest Swords Found in Turkey
By Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News
March 25, 2003 The most ancient swords ever found were forged 5,000 years ago in what is today Turkey, according to Italian archaeologists who announced the results of chemical analysis at a recent meeting in Florence.
Digging at Arslantepe, a site in the Taurus mountains of southeast Anatolia, Marcella Frangipane, professor at the department of historical science, archaeology and anthropology of antiquities of Rome University, found nine swords dating back to about 3,300 B.C.
Blade and hilt were cast in one piece; moreover, three swords were beautifully inlaid with silver.
"Their length ranges from 45 to 60 cm, and this leaves no doubt about their use. They predate of 1,000 years the most ancient swords found in Alaca Hoyuk, still in Turkey," Frangipane told Discovery News.
Analysis of the arsenic-copper alloys indicated great metallurgy skills. When forging the swords, arsenic was used as a deliberate alloying element in order to change the properties of copper and produce a stronger metal.
The swords were found in a large, palace-like complex, along with eleven lance tips, made of the same alloys, driven into a wall.
Dating from 3,350-3,000 B.C., the complex represents the most ancient administrative palace in the Near East.
"In Mesopotamia there are several temple areas, but only at Arslantepe we found a complex with connected buildings, storerooms, and decorated walls. A storeroom contained hundreds of mass-produced bowls, probably used to distribute food to workers," Frangipane said.
The archaeologists also found 2,000 clay lumps, or sealings, which worked like receipts when the contents of bags, jars, and sacks were taken out. Archived and disposed, the sealings made up an administrative and accounting system which worked without any writing but established one of the first examples of bureaucracy.
The swords and the lances were not some accidental findings. Frangipane and her team found other weapons, including another sword, in a royal tomb built right after the destruction of the palace in about 3,000 B.C. It contained a fortune in copper, silver and gold.
"This tomb is not important simply for its weapons and precious metals, but for the detailed insight it can give into the events which destroyed this center. Through the work of Frangipane's team, we can understand, as closely as one can in prehistory, the actions and decisions of people who transformed societies," Henry Wright, professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan and a leading scholar in the study of complex societies and the emergence of civilizations, told Discovery News.
"I believe this is the best work known being done on an early state administrative center in southwest Asia," he said.
Most likely visited by David and Saul
Gene flow and Indo-Europeans
Date: Sat, 08 Jul 1995 07:36:17 Gene flow and Indo-Europeans
Subject: Gene flow and Indo-Europeans
H. M. Hubey has made readers of this list aware of an interesting article which appeared in the June 24, 1995, issue of Science News concerning evidence from DNA data indicating a gene flow from Anatolia into Europe beginning around 9,000 years BP. Hubey also points out that there is genetic evidence that nomads from the central Eurasian Yamna culture spread westward into Europe approximately 5,500 years ago.
While it is indeed reasonable to link the first migration with the spread of agriculture, it does not follow that those who migrated spoke any form of Indo-European ("Pre-", "Proto-", or dialects thereof). Nor does it follow that "[i]t is possible that both expansions were responsible for the spread of different subfamilies of Indo-European languages..."
We know from cuneiform records that by 3,000 BCE Anatolia was populated (at least in part, if not in full) by people speaking Caucasian languages. In eastern Anatolia, Hurrian and the later attested and closely-related Urartean were spoken. These languages have been convincingly shown by Sergej Starostin and Igor Diakonoff to be related to Northeast Caucasian. In central Anatolia, Hattic was spoken -- this was later replaced by Hittite, an Indo-European language. Diakonoff maintains that Hattic was also a Caucasian language. Finally, Diakonoff has claimed that the language spoken by the Gutians (Qutians) was a Caucasian language.
Moreover, there are no unambiguous references to Indo-European people or languages in written records from the ancient Near East until just before 2,000 BCE, and the first references are to Hittites. It is generally agreed by specialists (for example, Gamkrelidze, Mellaart, Puhvel, Steiner, among others) that the Hittites were invaders who imposed themselves upon populations speaking Caucasian languages (in particular, Hattic).
Thus, there is much stronger evidence that prior to about 2,000 BCE, Anatolia was populated by speakers of Caucasian languages than by speakers of Indo-European languages. Thus, it follows logically that if one were to attempt to correlate gene flow at about 9,000 BP from Anatolia to Europe with language spread that one would tend to think more about very early forms of Caucasian rather than Indo-European.
Allan R. Bomhard
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Call it a hunch, but if he hasn't come through in 3,000 years, I don't think he's gonna.
Time to whip out some nukes.
LOL!! I was thinking exactly along those same lines!
I wonder about the "deliberate"part?
Does he mean they actually cooked off & collected arsenic to add in measured amounts back into the fairly pure molten copper?
Or, does he mean they deliberately smelted their copper from a more/less constant mixture of copper (or other metallic) arsenates/arsenides and other copper ores? Trial & error blending of ores, noting empirical differences, then sticking to 1 part reddish rock to 5 parts shiny rock, etc?
Either way, the alloying and the inlaying speak to a long history of painfully learned craftsmanship prior to the making of these blades & points.
Yup, the 'mad-hatters' comes to mind.
Due to the sad neglect of most of Turkey's museums and the rampant trade in stolen antiquities these swords do not have much of a future in Turkey unless they are protected abroad.