| 5 August 2004
4,000-year-old doll found in Pantelleria (Sicily)
A series of ancient children's toys have been found in Pantelleria, an island off the southern tip of Italy. The finds include the head of a small doll, about 3cm tall, and a miniature pot-set. The archaeologists - under the direction of Sebastiano Tusa - found the objects whilst excavating a Bronze Age village.
The excavation started last year at a site called Mursia, one of the most ancient places on the island. The small tools were found under a collapsed hut. The doll's head, found in another hut nearby, clearly shows a carved nose, ears and hair.
"At first we thought they were votive objects," said Fabrizio Nicoletti, archaeologist of Suor Orsola Benincasa University at Naples. "But then, thinking about the place where we found them, we changed our point of view. We are now inclined to believe they were actually toys belonging to the girls living in the village about 4,000 years ago".
In ancient times Mursia was an important centre of the Mediterranean sea, where obsidian and metals - bronze, tin and copper - were sold and bought. Several other teams of archaeologists are still working on excavations in Pantelleria; at Mursia and Scauri many rock-cut tombs and ancient earthenware have been found.
Source: ANSA (4 August 2004)
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