A team of archaeologists led by Álvaro Arrizabalaga of the University of the Basque Country has unearthed a pendant, which they believe to be 25,000 years old.
This stone pendant was found at the Irikaitz dig site, according to a press release from the University of the Basque Country. The Irikaitz archaeological site is located in town of Zestoa in the Basque Country, Spain, 14 m away from a bank of the Urola River.
The pendant is 9 cm long and has a hole for hanging it from the neck. However, apart from being adornment, it was probably used to sharpen tools.
It is the oldest artifact of this kind found at open-air excavations throughout the whole Iberian Peninsula.
“When we started it was like a lottery. We did not know what to expect – either about its chronology or about the kinds of remains likely to be uncovered,” said Dr. Arrizabalaga.
Archaeologists were fascinated by the presence of totally exotic raw material – volcanic stones.
“In the first dig, we thought at first that someone may have brought the rocks there when they were building the Urola railway, to use them as ballast. It was all so surprising and incredible.”
“It is a geological rarity. In the Urola River valley there is a layer of volcanic stones. The river cut through these, took them to the surface and brought them to this place. This is why humans from prehistory came here – there was no other place in the Basque country with stones like these,” concluded Dr. Arrizabalaga.