World's oldest gold artefact?

It may be just a tiny gold bead (above) - 4mm in diameter - but it is an enormous discovery for Bulgarian archaeologists who say they have found Europe's - and probably the world's - oldest gold artefact. The bead, found at a pre-historic settlement
The bead, found at a pre-historic settlement (above) in southern Bulgaria.PHOTOS: REUTERS
It may be just a tiny gold bead (above) - 4mm in diameter - but it is an enormous discovery for Bulgarian archaeologists who say they have found Europe's - and probably the world's - oldest gold artefact. The bead, found at a pre-historic settlement
It may be just a tiny gold bead (above) - 4mm in diameter - but it is an enormous discovery for Bulgarian archaeologists who say they have found Europe's - and probably the world's - oldest gold artefact. PHOTOS: REUTERS

It may be just a tiny gold bead - 4mm in diameter - but it is an enormous discovery for Bulgarian archaeologists who say they have found Europe's - and probably the world's - oldest gold artefact.

The bead, found at a pre-historic settlement in southern Bulgaria, dates back to 4,500-4,600BC, the archaeologists say, making it some 200 years older than jewellery from a Copper Age necropolis in the Bulgarian Black Sea city of Varna, the oldest processed gold previously unearthed, in 1972.

Associate Professor Yavor Boyadzhiev of the Bulgarian Academy of Science believes the bead was made at the site, just outside the modern town of Pazardzhik, which he says was the first "urban" settlement in Europe.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 11, 2016, with the headline 'World's oldest gold artefact?'. Print Edition | Subscribe