Archaeologists stumble on sensational find
4 October 2007
Prokuplje — Serbian archaeologists found evidence of what could be the oldest metal workshop in all of Europe.
According to National Museum archaeologist Dušan Šljivar, experts found a “copper chisel and stone ax at a location near Prokuplje in which the foundation has proven to be 7,500 years old, leading us to believe that it was one of the first places in which metal weapons and tools were made in prehistoric times.”
Archaeologists hope that this find in southern Serbia will prove the theory that the metal age began a lot earlier than it was believed to have, Šljivar told Beta news agency. He leads the team of archaeologists that have been investigating the site over the past decade.
Šljivar said that this finding, along with 40 similarly valuable ones before it, among which there were more parts of metal tools and weapons, as well as a smelter and furnace, prove that people inhabiting this territory began working with metal more than 5,000 years before the new era.
Prokuplje Museum archaeologist Julka Kuzmanović-Cvetković said that the site “shows that the people living on our territory started a civilization that presented the basics of the technological revolution.”
“We want to prove that the site was a metal works center in the central part of the Balkans,” she said.
The Ministry of Culture has set aside some EUR 12,500 for this year’s excavation at the site near Prokuplje, called Pločnik.
Šljivar said that these funds have enabled experts to investigate with more detail the 25 square meters and find new specimens.
Pločnik was uncovered accidentally in 1927 while the Niš-Priština railway was built and has been actively investigated with great interest since 1996 by Serbian and international experts.