Irish artisans preferred British gold instead of their own resources, newly found artifacts indicate.
Recent discoveries of prehistoric gold artifacts help scientists date the first gold rush. Based on their estimations, the Bronze Age has had its origins in Ireland, where the recently discovered jewelry were produced, archeologists confirm.
For centuries is was believed that the Bronze Age started in the United States of America. This belief was mainly grounded on the American Wild Wild West stories, but recent reports suggest that the Europeans might have been the first to look for gold.
This conclusion was reached after a team of archeologists working at the Universities of Bristol and Southampton have discovered a set of gold artifacts. The jewelry is made out of British gold, which was processed by Irish workers.
The findings have made scientists all the more curious, as they would normally expect Irish workers to recur to their natural resources of gold when producing new artifacts. Although results are inconclusive, researchers believe Irish artisans used this metal because it was considered to be generally better than the one of other gold producers.
Further analyses of the newly-discovered artifacts suggest that the precious metal was imported through specific routes. Based on the traces that were found with the help of laser ablation mass spectrometry, the gold used to be transported through Ireland, Cornwall, and Devon.
Archeologists were further able to determine that the artifacts belong to the Bronze Age period. They have used the models of the artifacts, the processing technique and other possible marks on the ornaments as reference points indicating their age.
There are more than 50 jewelry in the collection; therefore, scientists have reached the conclusion that gold was just an important back then as it is nowadays. Moreover, the precious metal was used both as a material for high society embellishments and as a means of commercial trades.
Lead author Chris Standish was particularly satisfied with the results of the recent findings. He told the press that the fact that Irish artisans preferred British gold is an aspect that needs not be neglected. They will continue to investigate the matter to find out the reasons behind Irish workers’ preferences.
The unanswered questions intrigues experts as they believe Ireland had no real reasons to rely on British gold deposits instead of their own resources. Bronze Age artisans used to pay approximately 440 pounds, that is, $7.6 billion in our own currency, so they might have had strong reasons to pay so much money on Britain’s precious metal.
In the future, researchers plan to compare the newly-found ornaments with the ones produced around the same period in Britain. Thus, they hope to identify the qualities of the British gold.
The 50 Bronze Age gold artifacts will be exposed in the Natural Museum of Ireland as soon as investigations are over.
Image Source: The Jeweler Blog