BORNHOLM, DENMARK—According to a report in Live Science, a small piece of copper has been found at the 5,000-year-old Vasagard archaeological site, which may have been a center of sun worship during the Neolithic period. The site consists of traces of several round timber structures within an earthen-wall enclosure. Hand-sized, polished stones inscribed with connected radiating lines resembling spider webs, and fragments of stones that may have been inscribed with symbolic maps, have also been recovered from the site. The piece of copper was found in what had been one of ten postholes for the largest timber structure.
Michael Thorsen of the Bornholm Museum said the metal may have been part of a larger ax that had been buried as part of a sacrifice. He suggests the ax had not been made locally, but was imported from the Mediterranean or the Balkans, where people were producing copper objects at that time. The building may have been used for rituals or as a place for housing the dead before it was ceremonially demolished and its postholes filled in with burned grain, burned stone axes, and the copper ax. “For me, it just makes the structure even more important, because they were offering a rare piece of copper like this,” Thorsen said.