Archaeologists have uncovered the tomb holding the skeletal remains of a man and woman and several treasures, including a silver tiara atop the woman's head, silver jewelry, ceramics and many other artifacts. The discovery was made at the site of La Almoloya in southeastern Spain. Check out these photos, courtesy of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), of the glittering treasures discovered. [Read full article on the Bronze Age tomb]
A silver diadem discovered in the Spanish Bronze Age tomb, perched atop the head of a female skeleton. The tomb is at the site of La Almoloya, which was a power center for the El Argar civilization of this era. Several other precious items, including silver and gold ear dilators, were found in the tomb.
The sprawling site of La Almoloya, near Pliego, Murcia in southeastern Spain. During the Bronze Age, La Almoloya was a center of power and wealth, with dense urban living. Since the 1940s, multiple buildings and tombs have been discovered at the site. Most recently, archaeologists found a tomb containing a male and female skeleton, the female wearing a silver crown on her head. The tomb was next to a large government hall, and the proximity suggests that the couple inside were considered important people in the society.
La Almoloya's Great Hall
The stone-and-mortar walls of a high-ceilinged great hall measuring about 750 square feet (70 square meters) in size. The stone benches around the perimeter would have provided seating for at least 65 people. Archaeologists suspect that this hall was used for government hearings and meetings during the Bronze Age, which would make it the oldest governmental building ever found in Europe.
The skeletons of a Bronze Age couple found in a La Almoloya tomb. The rings seen near the skulls are gold and silver ear dilators, which would have been used to expand piercings in the earlobe (not unlike modern ear gauges). The female skeleton was found wearing a silver diadem, and other silver jewelry was found around the bodies.
A detailed shot of a gold ear dilator found in the La Almoloya tomb. The corpses were decorated with baubles including silver rings, earrings and bracelets. The couples' treasures and the proximity of the tomb to the main government hall suggest that they were nobility, or at least very wealthy and powerful.
This ceramic cup, rimmed and decorated with silver, was found in the La Almoloya tomb. The El Argar civilization of southeastern Spain, of which La Almoloya was a part, is known for its sophisticated ceramics. This cup, however, is one of the earliest examples of silverwork on a vessel ever found in Europe.
Grave of treasures
The tomb of a wealthy, powerful couple in La Almoloya. The silver diadem can be seen encircling the female skeleton's head (right). The bodies are flexed and huddled together, wearing silver and gold jewelry. Other objects, such as a ceramic-and-silver cup and a bronze-and-silver dagger, can also be seen in the grave.
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Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.