|28 August 2005
Ancient Egypt gems on Italian isle
A priceless set of ancient jewellery, probably from Egypt, is the latest archaeological jackpot experts have struck on Pantelleria, a southern Italian island. Excavations at the 16th-century BCE settlement of Mursia, on the north-western part of the isle, have uncovered a beautiful oriental style ring, necklace and pair of ear-rings. "We can say that they are jewels made with great craftsmanship and of major archaeological importance," said Sebastiano Tusa, an Italian archaeologist. The finds provide further evidence that Pantelleria was a major trading and cultural crossroads between Italy, Africa, Greece, Crete and Asia Minor in ancient times.
The ear-rings are made of bronze, the ring is composed of a series of flat, convex-shaped pieces, while the necklace is a string of round glass beads with a pointed bronze pendant. "The raw materials probably came from Cyprus or Anatolia, but their style suggests they were made in Egypt," Tusa explained. "This type of broad ring was worn a great deal by women in the Second Intermediate Period of Ancient Egypt (1700-1550 BCE). The archaeologist said further research was necessary to be sure the objects were from Egypt and not another part of the Near East .
Tusa said the jewellery was found hidden in a cloth sack, probably to stop it being stolen by raiders like those who eventually burned down the Mursia settlement. In recent weeks the dig has also unearthed vases, utensils and various other household objects at the site .
Pantelleria, situated between Sicily and Tunisia, is also home to dozens of huge black 'Sesi' funeral mounts of piled rock, which show the island was inhabited in Neolithic times.
Source: ANSA (25 August 2005)
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