|A Bronze Age folding chair found in northern Germany and now in Hamburg's Helms Museum.|
Roughly 3,500 years ago, folding chairs remarkably similar to ones found in Egypt suddenly became must-have items in parts of northern Europe. Scholars are now looking into this potential case of ancient industrial espionage.
When Tutankhamen died, his tomb was filled with all manner of precious objects, including two folding chairs. The more attractive one is made of ebony and has ivory inlays.
Such ingenious chairs were already being used in Egypt more than 4,000 years ago. The brilliantly simple design consists of two movable wooden frames connected to each other with pins and with an animal hide stretched between -- a kind of ur-camping stool.
It isn't surprising, given the advanced nature of their society, that the Egyptians were familiar with such comfortable seating. Astonishing, however, is that the gruff chieftains of northern Europe also sat on such chairs.
Some 20 Nordic folding stools have been discovered so far, most of them north of the Elbe River in Germany. The majority were found by mustachioed members of the educated classes, who burrowed into their native soils in the 19th century in search of "national antiquities." The wood had usually rotted away, leaving only the golden or bronze clasps, rivets and knobs.
The only complete specimen was found in 1891 in Guldhøj (Golden Hill) near Kolding on the Jutland peninsula, which forms modern-day mainland Denmark. The chair, made of ash wood and with an otter-skin seat, was found lying in a tree-trunk coffin. Dendrochronologists have dated the specimen, made by a local carpenter, to 1389 B.C.
But folding chairs clearly originated in the Orient. The oldest depiction of one is found on roughly 4,500-year-old Mesopotamian seals. Egyptians were also familiar with folding chairs at any early date. Dignitaries used them as mobile thrones, and the long stretchers at their bases prevented the chairs from sinking into the sand.
¿Un caso de “espionaje industrial” de hace 3.500 años?
La revista alemana Der Spiegel recoge un artículo en el que se plantea esta curiosa teoría para dar respuesta al hallazgo de sillas plegables de 3.500 años de antigüedad en tierras germanas con un diseño idéntico al que utilizaron los egipcios hace cuatro milenios.
Alrededor de 20 piezas de este tipo han sido halladas en el norte de Europa, la mayoría en Alemania. Sólo una ha sido hallada completa. Fue en 1891 en Guldhøj, cerca de Kolding (Dinamarca), conservada en el interior de una tumba. Realizada en madera de fresno y piel de nutria para el asiento, presentaba un estado de conservación excepcional. Gracias a técnicas de dendrocronología, los arqueólogos determinaron que fue realizada por un carpintero local en el año 1389 a.C.
El diseño de las piezas encontradas en Alemania es sorprendentemente similar al de las sillas egipcias, con dos marcos de madera móviles unidos entre sí a través de un par de ejes y con una piel de animal uniendo dos de los extremos... [Leer más]