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4,000-year-old Children's Rattle Crafted as Bear Cub's Head: And it Still Rattles!

4,000-year-old Children's Rattle Crafted as Bear Cub's Head: And it Still Rattles!

By Tamara Zubchuk | The Siberian Times

A find-of-the-year by Novosibirsk archeologists is a toy that entertained prehistoric babies. The remarkable discovery of one of the oldest toys in the world came from excavations at a Bronze Age settlement in Siberia.

Inside it - and it remains sealed - are little stones 'that make a jingling sound', said Professor Vyacheslav Molodin, deputy head of Novosibirsk Institute of Archeology and Ethnography.

He told The Siberian Times: 'This is a clay rattle with a visible well-made handle - handy for a child to hold it. It was constructed by clay firing, it is hollow inside. There are little stones inside. We don't know what kind of stones these are, but we will be doing an X-ray to find out. The rattle is still working.'

'Inside one of the housings at Vengerovo-2 archeological complex, we found the rattle shaped as a bear head, dating to the end of the third millennium BC which is the beginning of the Bronze Age.'

'Inside one of the housings at Vengerovo-2 archeological complex, we found the rattle shaped as a bear head, dating to the end of the third millennium BC which is the beginning of the Bronze Age.'

'Inside one of the housings at Vengerovo-2 archeological complex, we found the rattle shaped as a bear head, dating to the end of the third millennium BC which is the beginning of the Bronze Age.' Pictures: The Siberian Times, Lyudmila Mylnikova / Institute of Archaeology and Etnography SB RAS

The exciting find at the Vengerovo-2 archeological complex dates to the third millennium BC, making it between 3,800 and 4,000 years old. Might it even include the sculptor's signature?

'The ornament, we think, has a stamp, where with an artist has made a drawing on not completely dried clay, most likely with bone.'

At the site, in the Vengerovo district of Novosibirsk region, archeologists this summer unearthed more than 50 burials, and around 100 ritual pits, with two housing sites, where ancient people lived.

There are little stones inside. We don't know what kind of stones these are, but we will be doing an X-ray to find out. The rattle is still working.' Picture: Lyudmila Mylnikova / Institute of Archaeology and Etnography SB RAS.

There are little stones inside. We don't know what kind of stones these are, but we will be doing an X-ray to find out. The rattle is still working.' Picture: Lyudmila Mylnikova / Institute of Archaeology and Etnography SB RAS.

There are little stones inside. We don't know what kind of stones these are, but we will be doing an X-ray to find out. The rattle is still working.' Picture: Lyudmila Mylnikova / Institute of Archaeology and Etnography SB RAS. Drawing: Elena Shumakova

'Inside one of the housings at Vengerovo-2 archeological complex, we found the rattle shaped as a bear head, dating to the end of the third millennium BC which is the beginning of the Bronze Age. The rattle was made from clay, inside the rattle there are balls that make a jingling sound.'

Another find was a little bronze figurine looking like an incense stand. Dr Molodin says the figurine was shaped like a bird, most likely a crow.

The excavations were led by Academician Molodin and Dr Lyudmila Mylknikova, of the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography.

Another find was a little bronze figurine looking like an incense stand.

Another find was a little bronze figurine looking like an incense stand. Picture: NGS.ru

Top image: 'This is a clay rattle with a visible well-made handle - handy for a child to hold it.' Picture: Lyudmila Mylnikova / Institute of Archaeology and Etnography SB RAS

The article ‘ 4,000-year-old children's rattle beautifully crafted as bear cub's head: and it still rattles! originally appeared on The Siberian Times and has been republished with permission. 

Comments

How did they know there are stones inside, as opposed to something else? Were there other rattles nearby, broken? I didn't see any mention of such in either article.

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