Bracelet reveals amazing craftsman’s skill from 7500BC (so good it couldn’t be bettered today)
A 9,500-year-old bracelet has been analysed using the very latest computers – and the results show that it is so intricate even today’s craftsmen would struggle to improve it.
Researchers from the Institut Français d’Etudes Anatoliennes in Istanbul and Laboratoire de Tribologie et de Dynamiques des Systèmes studied the bracelet’s surface and its micro-topographic features revealing the astounding technical expertise of the maker.
The bracelet is obsidian – which means it’s made from volcanic glass – and the researchers analysis of it sheds new light on Neolithic societies, which remain highly mysterious.
Polished skills: The obsidian bracelet contains remarkable detail
Discovered in 1995 at the site of Asıklı Höyük in Turkey, it was analysed by software designed to characterise the ‘orange peel effect’ on car bodywork.
This process revealed that the bracelet – 10cm in diameter – was made and polished using highly specialised manufacturing techniques.
In fact, the surface was polished to a degree equal to that of today’s telescope lenses.
Asikli Hoyuk: The Neolithic site where the bracelet was found
The bracelet is the oldest known example of an obsidian item, common during the Neolithic period.
The obsidian craft reached its peak in the seventh and sixth millennia BC with the production of all kinds of ornamental objects, including mirrors and vessels.
Neolithic people – or those leaving in what’s sometimes termed as the New Stone Age – were essentially skilled farmers, who could also turn their hand to the manufacture of various ornaments.
The result of the study is published in the December 2011 issue of Journal of Archaeological Science.