Neolithic cemetery is unearthed in Transylvania where bodies were buried with vessels on their heads to use as offerings in the afterlife 6,000 years ago

  • A Neolithic cemetery uncovered in Transylvania dates back 6,000 years 
  • The area is on historical land, in which industrial construction is set to happen
  • Archaeologists found a number of bodies with vessels on their head or feet
  • The vessels were used as offerings for when the dead traveled to the afterlife
  • The team also found a Celtic settlement on top of the Neolithic civilization 

A Neolithic cemetery dating back 6,000 years has been unearthed in Transylvania by researchers working at a historical site in Romania prior to industrial construction on top of the land.  

The skeletons have pottery vessels atop their skulls or feet, which researchers say were used as offerings into the afterlife.  

Excavations on the more than 10,000-square-foot area began in July and numerous graves were recently uncovered that still include the deceased’s remains. 

A large pit was also found nearby that was used to store food, which eventually turned into a landfill where household waste was discarded.

Along with the Neolithic settlement, the team also found remains of a Celtic civilization that lived on the same plot of land about 2,200 years ago.

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The skeletons have pottery vessels atop their skulls or feet, which researchers say were used as offerings into the afterlife

The ancient cemetery was unearthed in Iclod, a commune in Cluj-Napoca – the unofficial capital of the Transylvania region.   

‘Their story must be told, revealed, through such excavations. By learning more about them, we will know more about ourselves. We are the first to get our hands on these fragments, after thousands of years,’ Paul Pupeză, an archaeologist at the Transylvania National History Museum, told gherlaininfo.ro in a translated interview.  

‘The field work is quite hard, we work in the dust, in the heat or in the rain, and the results are not always very spectacular. But we are privileged to take this look into the past and reveal something special!’

The Celts, who lived in these areas during the Dacian times – between 2,200 and 2,000 years ago – left traces of an incineration cemetery. 

https://youtube.com/watch?v=H6I6ic2rCMA%3Frel%3D0%26showinfo%3D1

The ancient cemetery was unearthed in Iclod, a commune in Cluj-Napoca – the unofficial capital of the Transylvania region

A large pit was found nearby that was used to store food, which eventually turned into a landfill where household waste was discarded

A trove of pottery vessels were uncovered from the cemetery and from the a large pit found nearby

Unlike the Stone Age inhabitants, the Celts burned the dead and buried them in urns, which were buried in the ground along with other offerings, such as goods made of iron.

Romania has revealed several Neolithic artifacts over the past few years, including one discovery in 2014 where archaeologists found some of Europe’s oldest human footprints.  

Excavations on the more than 10,000-square-foot area began in July and numerous graves were recently uncovered that still include the deceased’s remains

Romania has revealed several Neolithic artifacts over the past few years, with one interesting discovery in 2014 where archaeologists found some of Europe’s oldest human footprints (pictured)

Archaeologists originally spotted the prints in 1965 in Romania’s Ciur-Izbuc Cave. Located in the Carpathian Mountains, and were thought to belong to a man, woman and child and dated to 10,000 to 15,000 years old. 

Radiocarbon measurements conducted in 2014 of two cave bear fossils unearthed just below the footprints suggests that these early humans left their impressions 36,500 years ago.

The technique involved measuring carbon-14, a radioactive isotope of the element that, unlike other more stable forms of carbon, decays away at a steady rate.

Writing in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, the researchers claim that published research on footprints in Europe only go back as far as 33,000 years ago.  

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE STONE AGE?

The Stone Age is a period in human prehistory distinguished by the original development of stone tools that covers more than 95 per cent of human technological prehistory.

It begins with the earliest known use of stone tools by hominins, ancient ancestors to humans, during the Old Stone Age – beginning around 3.3 million years ago.

Between roughly 400,000 and 200,000 years ago, the pace of innovation in stone technology began to accelerate very slightly, a period known as the Middle Stone Age.

By the beginning of this time, handaxes were made with exquisite craftsmanship. This eventually gave way to smaller, more diverse toolkits, with an emphasis on flake tools rather than larger core tools.

The Stone Age is a period in human prehistory distinguished by the original development of stone tools that covers more than 95 per cent of human technological prehistory. This image shows neolithic jadeitite axes from the Museum of Toulouse

These toolkits were established by at least 285,000 years in some parts of Africa, and by 250,000 to 200,000 years in Europe and parts of western Asia. These toolkits last until at least 50,000 to 28,000 years ago.

During the Later Stone Age the pace of innovations rose and the level of craftsmanship increased.

Groups of Homo sapiens experimented with diverse raw materials, including bone, ivory, and antler, as well as stone.

The period, between 50,000 and 39,000 years ago, is also associated with the advent of modern human behaviour in Africa.

Different groups sought their own distinct cultural identity and adopted their own ways of making things.

Later Stone Age peoples and their technologies spread out of Africa over the next several thousand years.

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