Neolithic Age. 4,000 BC. Hohe Wand mountains, Lower Austria.
One of the most important finds from the New Stone Age was in the region of the Hohe Wand mountains, where Austria’s oldest gold and copper artefacts were buried.
6,000 YEAR-OLD GOLD
In 1864 a shepherd boy in the Hohe Wand mountains above Stollhof happened on an extensive treasure trove from the New Stone Age. Large spectacle spiral pendants, decorative arm spirals, a bent decorative sheet, and spiral rolls of copper were buried with two gold discs on a slope. According to old reports, there were four gold spirals as well as the gold discs, but their whereabouts is now unknown.
Otherwise, nothing more is known about the circumstances of the find, unfortunately. We do not even know if the valuable items were hidden in the earth 6,000 years ago or were sacrifices. The origin of the treasure is equally obscure, although the treasures were probably made by coppersmiths in what is now Romania. The function of the gold discs is also unknown: perhaps they were purely decorative, and the holes at the edge were used to fasten them to material or leather.
The Copper Age – the most recent part of the New Stone Age – was a turbulent period. It was then that people learned how to smelt copper ore to yield pure metal. Major social changes resulted, including the emergence of smiths as an important craft. The wheel was also invented during this period, and wild horses were domesticated. Wagons and carts led to new mobility, and trading relations were intensified. As a result, long-distance trade with central Europe included not only precious items like amber, but also items of jewelry from south-eastern Europe, like those buried near Stollhof.