It’s the world’s oldest “Matchbox” car.
Archeologists have reportedly discovered a 5,000-year-old handmade toy chariot in the depths of a child’s grave while excavating a group of tombs in southern Turkey.
The ancient toy was found among a rattle and other objects when scientists searched the large underground necropolis and came upon the tomb of a young child.
“In one of these tombs, we found a four-wheeled miniature horse carriage, a children’s toy, as well as a rattle with a bird motif,” Yusuf Albayrak, Assistant Professor at Harran University’s Archaeology Department, told the Hurriyet Daily News.
“Children’s toys were buried in children’s tombs. We thus know that rattles existed for children 5,000 years ago.”
The chariot, made from earthenware pottery, was found in a place thought to be one of the world’s oldest settlements, about 50 miles from the Turkish province of Urfa. The toy was found after scientists conducted a cleaning of the area in 2016.
Celal Uludag, the head of the Sogmatar excavations, told Turkish news agency Anadolu that the toy dates back to the Bronze Age and was made for the children of kings.
“It shows us the sense of art and children’s sense of play 5,000 years ago,” Uludagğ said
“This finding is very important to us and will be displayed at Turkey’s largest museum complex. We think we will get more important findings as long as the excavations continue,” he said.
The group is excavating more than 100 tombs spread around a mound they discovered five years ago. The area appears to be the religious center of an ancient civilization that worshiped the god of the moon.
“We found some 120 tombs in 2012. Seven in particular were really remarkable and almost all of the 120 tombs had a view of the mound,” Uludagğ said. “We carried out searches in the mound and ceramic findings showed that this place was a settlement.”
Scientists have so far opened 45 tombs.
“We found more than 100 pieces in the tombs, delivering all of them to the museum,” Uludagğ said.