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Sophisticated 9,500 years old obsidian bracelet


Asikli Höyük is the location in Turkey where the oldest known obsidian bracelet was found in 1990s.

Researchers at the Institut Français d’Etudes and the Laboratoire de Tribologie Dynamiques et des Systèmes (LTDS) were in charge of the examination of this rare object.

The archaeological site where this artifact was found is located more than 1100 meters above sea level and it is covered by the volcanic tuff of central Cappadocia.

The first inhabitants of this area were hunter-gatherers who decided to abandon their nomadic lifestyle and settle in one place. As soon as they formed their villages, they started producing their own goods, but using techniques that we today cannot fully understand.

There was a deposit of obsidian near Asikli Höyük. This is why this place became the trading base. Locals were very good traders, they managed to develop trading connections all the way to Cyprus and Iraq.

This very location was the site where more than 5,000 obsidian objects were discovered. However, the obsidian bracelet is special, because it is very old, it was probably made around 7,500 BC, and because of the artistry needed for manufacturing this bracelet.

It was made of obsidian, a naturally occurring volcanic glass, using sophisticated techniques very unspecific to ancient civilizations.

The natural process of producing obsidian involves extrusion of felsic lava, which cools quickly with minimum crystal growth. This volcanic glass can be found within the obsidian flow (margins of rhyolitic lava flows).

This bracelet is the oldest obsidian object ever discovered. The largest number of obsidian objects was produced during the sixth and seventh millennium BC. People used this material to make glasses, mirrors, etc.

The bracelet is 10 cm in diameter and 3.3 cm in width, with outstanding central annular decoration.

After being discovered, this bracelet was examined by experts who used advanced computer technology in order to identify every single detail on its surface.

Their conclusion was that the ancient master was very skillful and exceptionally precise. This was confirmed after examining the symmetry of the decorative central part of the bracelet. Scientists said it was possible to calculate the precision of the object in micrometers.

The surface of the bracelet was impeccably polished, with a quality that can be compared to the quality of telescope lenses.


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