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30 August 2014
Neolithic oven discovered in Croatia

Prehistoric experts in Croatia have found a 6,500-year-old oven. It was unearthed in a ancient home during an archeological dig at a Neolithic site in Bapska, a village in eastern Croatia. Experts say the oven provided cooked food, hot water and central heating for their dwelling, just like a modern-day Aga cooker.
     Marcel Buric - from the Department of Prehistoric Archaeology at Zagreb's Faculty of Philosophy - said the find was significant because the kiln was covered to protect the rest of the building from fire.
     Mr Buric said: "This discovery is important. Because the houses of this period are made of wattle and daubed with a roof made of hay using an open fireplace was dangerous. But a roofed fireplace, like the one in Bapska, besides being safer, also had other advantages. It was permanently heated all day long and as the residents came home after a day in the fields they ate hot food cooked by the oven, washed in warm water, and went to sleep in a room heated by the same kiln. Just like some kitchen ovens today."
     Archaeologists also found a smelted piece of iron ore by the kiln, thought to date back thousands of years before man learned to smelt and work iron. But elsewhere in the same prehistoric house, scientists found the scene of a more sinister fire. The cremated remains of a baby aged around 15 months are believed to be the result of a human sacrifice. Mr Buric said: 'We know that such sacrifices were made to ensure the growth of crops by giving a life and putting it back into the earth. The more treasured the life, say a baby, the better the result, or so they thought.'
     Earlier excavations on the site had revealed a set of deer antlers on the walls of one home, believed to be the world's first known hunting trophy.

Edited from Mail Online (25 August 2014)

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