Sunday, October 24, 2010

SWISS ARCHAEOLOGISTS FIND 5,000 YEAR OLD DOOR

Archaeologists in the Swiss city of Zurich have found what may be the oldest ever found in Europe. Chief archaeologist Niels Bleicher says the ancient poplar wood door is "solid and elegant" with well-preserved hinges and a "remarkable" design for holding the boards together. The door has been dated to around 3,100-years B.C.

The door was part of a settlement of so-called "stilt houses" frequently found near lakes about a thousand years after agriculture and animal husbandry were first introduced to the pre-Alpine region. Archaeologists have found traces of at least five Neolithic villages believed to have existed at the site between 3,700 and 2,500 years B.C., including objects such as a flint dagger from what is now Italy and an elaborate hunting bow.

Harsh climatic conditions at the time meant people had to build solid houses that would keep out much of the cold wind that blew across Lake Zurich.

It is similar to another door found in nearby Pfaeffikon, while a third — made from one solid piece of wood — is believed to be even older, possibly dating back to 3,700 B.C., said Bleicher.

The latest find was discovered at the dig for what is intended to be a new underground car park for Zurich's opera house.

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