Researchers at the Institut Français d’Etudes and the Laboratoire de Tribologie Dynamiques et des Systèmes (LTDS) have analyzed the oldest known obsidian bracelet that has been discovered in the 1990s at the site of Asikli Höyük, Turkey.
Asikli Höyük is situated 1119.5 meters above sea level, covered by the volcanic tuff of central Cappadocia, in Aksaray Province. This archaeological sites dates back to 8,000 BC.
According to Hurriyet Daily News, the great importance of the site is its role in the history of the region, as early hunter-gatherers changed their nomadic lifestyle to more permanent villages.
People started producing their own goods with techniques that we still do not understand today.
The findings suggest that the inhabitants changed their lifestyle abruptly, taking a giant leap towards a more effective way of life. Asikli Hoyuk is located near a source of obsidian, and became a base of trade that stretched to modern-day Cyprus and Iraq.
At the archaeological site, over 5,000 obsidian objects were found. This count finally included fragments of the mysterious obsidian bracelet, significant because of its age (dated to 7,500 BC) and the high level of craftsmanship involved in the production.
The brilliant piece, made of volcanic glass is very difficult to craft and requires specialized techniques. Researchers have no idea how this ancient civilization managed to achieve such quality, 9,500 years ago.
Obsidian is a naturally occurring volcanic glass formed as an extrusive igneous rock.
It is produced when felsic lava extruded from a volcano, cools rapidly with minimum crystal growth. Obsidian is commonly found within the margins of rhyolitic lava flows known as obsidian flow.
Tests have shown that the person who created this incredible bracelet had very sophisticated methods and skills, on par with polishing techniques today.
It is the earliest evidence of obsidian work, which reached its peak in the sixth and seventh millennium BC, with the production of numerous ornamental objects, including mirrors and glasses.
The bracelet has a complex shape and a remarkable central annular crest, it measures 10 cm in diameter and 3.3 cm in width.
Discovered in 1995 at the incredible ancient site of Asikli Höyük in Turkey, the bracelet has been submitted to numerous tests.
Researchers at the CNRS and the IFEA, studied the bracelet using very powerful computer technology using methods known as multi-scale analysis of tribology, which have been adapted to the study of micro-topographic features of archaeological objects. They aimed to identify each incision made on the surface of this object.
Researchers found out that the bracelet was made using highly specialized manufacturing techniques, showing that the bracelet was nearly perfectly regular. The symmetry of the central part of the bracelet is very accurate to the point that researchers could calculate its precision in micrometers.
This suggests that the craftsmen of the time used models to control how these objects were made. The surface finish of the bracelet requires the use of complex grinding techniques, capable of obtaining a nano scale surface quality worthy of telescope lenses today.
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