Hall of Fame Member
- Oct 9, 2004
Rare 5,000-year-old crystal dagger is uncovered in Prehistoric Iberian megalithic tomb that may have been used by a high-ranking person to gain 'magical powers'By Stacy Liberatore
Ancient tools that once belonged to prehistoric civilizations have been found all over the world, but a discovery in Spain is unlike those traditionally made of stone or flint.
A team excavating the megalithic tomb of Montelirio tholos in 2007 through 2010 uncovered a dagger formed from rock crystal that experts say is the ‘most technically sophisticated’ ever to be uncovered in Prehistoric Iberia and would have taken enormous skill to carve.
The artifact, which is about 5,000 years old, is nearly 8.5 inches long and was found along with 10 arrowheads, four blades and a core for making weapons, all of which were rock crystal.
The weapon’s final resting place is far from crystal mines, which suggests they once belonged to an elite individual who paid a hefty price to have the materials sourced and shaped.
Researchers also speculate that rock crystal during this time may have had a symbolic significance and such societies used it for vitality, magical powers and connections with ancestors.
‘They probably represent funerary paraphernalia only accessible to the elite of this time-period,’ reads the study published in the journal Quaternary International.
‘The association of the dagger blade to a handle made of ivory, also a non-local raw material that must have been of great value, strongly suggests the high-ranking status of the people making use of such objects.’
The excavation in southwester Spain was a collaboration of researchers from the University of Granada, the University of Seville and the Spanish Higher Research Council.
The teams worked at the site from 2007 through 2010, and published their findings in 2015 that details the trove of crystal weapons.
The tomb is located in the lower Guadalquivir valley that sits within the metropolitan area of Seville – the settlement is called ‘Valencina de la Concepcion Castilleja de Guzman.'
Valencina is revered as the most significant site from Copper Age Iberia and is also the largest.
A 5,000-year-old dagger made of rock crystals was uncovered during an excavation of a massive tomb in Spain. Experts says it took empirical knowledge and skill to make such a weapon.