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17 November 2012
One of the oldest hoards in Europe

Archeologists from the University of Tuebingen's Institute of Prehistory are working with the Serbian Archeological Institute in Belgrade to analyse the most comprehensive Early Neolithic hoard ever found - a nearly 8000 year old collection of jewellery and figurines.
     The unique hoard is composed of some 80 objects made of stone, clay and bone. "This collection from Belica, in all its completeness, provides a unique glimpse into the symbols of the earliest farmers and herdsmen in Europe," says Tuebingen archeologist Doctor Raiko Krauss, who heads the German side of the project.
     The objects include stylised female figures, parts of the human body, as well as miniature axes and abstract figures. The stone objects are mainly of rock was washed out of the mountains and worn smooth by rivers and streams. Neolithic artists then selected the pebbles they wanted from the valleys.
     Archeologists mapped the outline of an Early Neolithic settlement in June of this year using the distribution of finds on the surface as a guide. In the middle, they found the largely undisturbed hoard. Using modern geophysical prospecting methods, they were able to bring buried parts of the settlement to light during summer excavations.

Edited from ScienceDaily (6 November 2012)

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