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Strange Ancient Treasure Discovered in Transylvania

In southern Transylvania, Romania, two sizable hoards of bronze jewelry and weaponry from the ninth century B.C. have been found.

The hoards date back to a time before minted currency had been invented or writing had spread to this part of Europe.

The collections, which contained 300 and 50 items, contained double axes, short swords, and spears, which the researchers found. They also discovered hairpins, beads, pendants, torques (a type of neck ring), foot and arm bracelets, and brooches. (All the jewelry was made of bronze). Additionally, the researchers discovered pieces of horse harnesses as well.

Bronze brooches, Tărtăria – Podu Tărtăriei vest (Alba County), Transylvania, Romania. (Corina Bors)

Accidental Archaeological Discoveries

In the summary of a presentation she recently gave at the European Association of Archaeologists annual meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, senior archaeologist Corina Bors of the National History Museum of Romania wrote that “The majority of the objects are made of bronze, yet there are also weapons and tools made of iron”.

The hoards were found in a little ravine with springs strewn around on the southern border of a 25-acre archaeological site today known as Tartaria-Podu Tartariei vest (10 hectares).  This site was initially uncovered in the spring of 2012, during archaeological research done before the construction of a motorway in the area.

At the location, numerous other discoveries were uncovered, including offering pits filled with shattered ceramics and a burial site with numerous bodies.

Gift for the gods?

The hoards’ origin and intended use are unknown, according to the researchers. Bronze hoards have been discovered in caves, springs, marshes, and rivers throughout Europe, according to Bors. “Such bronze hoards might be seen as votive depositions, or, in other words, gifts to the deities of that time”, Bors told Live Science.