A new study has revealed that Southwest England may have been home to a significant gold rush during the Bronze Age. Archaeologists analyzed gold artifacts in Ireland, and found that the objects were made from gold, which had been imported from Britain’s Cornwall region.
The findings indicated the existence of gold trading route 4,500 years ago, and suggest that the gold’s origin was celebrated as an important asset of the precious metal. Dr. Christopher Standish from the University of Bristol and the University of Southampton lead the team of archaeologists that led to this discovery. Dr. Standish stated that it is unlikely that knowledge of how to extract gold did not exist in Ireland, as they see large-scale exploitation of metals.
“Bronze Age gold workers in Ireland were making artifact out of material sourced from outside of the country,” said Standish.
Despite the existence of gold deposits locally, the “exotic” origin was cherished as a key property of gold. Scientists used a technique called laser ablation mass spectrometry, to analyze the gold artifacts in the collections of the National Museum of Ireland. The researchers utilized the technique to measure isotopes of lead in tiny fragments, and were compared with the composition of gold deposits in different locations. Then, the researchers concluded their study that gold originated in Cornwall, not Ireland.
Chris Standish of the University of Southampton in Britain, lead author of Journal mentioned
“This is an unexpected and particularly interesting result as it suggests that Bronze Age gold workers in Ireland were making artifacts out of material sourced from outside of the country, despite the existence of a number of easily-accessible and rich gold deposits found locally. It is unlikely that knowledge of how to extract gold did not exist in Ireland, as we see large scale exploitation of other metals. It is more probable that an ‘exotic’ origin was cherished as a key property of gold and was an important reason behind why it was imported for production.”
Study co-author Alistair Pike said that the results of the study show there was no universal value of gold, at least until perhaps the first gold coins started to appear nearly two thousand years later. In another archaeological study, researchers discovered a ring inscribed with the word “Allah” in Arabic Kufic from a ninth century Swedish grave. The discovery revealed that there were ancient encounters between Islamic culture and Scandinavians, dating back about 1,000 years ago.
As a result of test, the researchers finally found that, the artifacts found in the Ireland are exported from Cornwall and the same were traded with Ireland during the bombing of tin mining in the history. The researchers mentioned that, people who used to live in the regions derived more benefits from the gold export process and they are considered as the most precious metal of that time.[ Source ]