People had a lust for shiny things ever since the early stages of history, new research reveals. A detailed analysis of Western Europe’s most wonderful gold artefacts highlights Cornwall as a miniature gold trade market in the early Bronze Age.
Archaeologists found evidence of a golden route taking shape between the south-west of UK and Ireland, showing how people were gaining marketing skills ever since the beginning of times.
Back in the days, prospectors and gold rushers were diving deep into the area to extract gold from rivers and streams, only to export them afterwards to Ireland and France, hence be used in the manufacture of beautiful ornaments.
The interesting research was performed by archaeologists at the Universities of Bristol and Southampton, by using new technologies to analyze the texture, quality and structure of gold used in those precious artefacts found on the fertile terrains in Ireland. After thorough analysis, they discovered the gold hadn’t originated locally, as previously thought, but came across the ocean in Cornwall, neighboring west.
The geological estimates reveal that no less than 200 kg of gold was extracted from Cornwall and West Devon’s rivers between 22nd and 17th centuries BC. That quantity is worth a fortune today, with numbers surrounding £5 million. True value is never depreciated as history shows and the efforts made to discover the priceless treasures are immensely valuable still.
This is only the tip of the golden iceberg, so to speak, as only a very small proportion has been identified from the total estimates of volume and weight traded in the area. 270 gold artefacts including jewelry, breast plates and plaques were analyzed and concluded to be a consequence of early stages of trading. The rest is thought to have been melted and turned into new items that are yet to be discovered.
Even back then people were used to developing sophisticated ways of doing business, as the evidence suggests that in Bronze Age Cornwall and West Devon, the two main places where gold was extracted, tin wasn’t obtained through mining, but extracted from the rivers through panning most probably or very complex damming and sluicing systems.
And news don’t stop here, as the prehistoric gold production was only a by-product of a highly developed industry, namely tin production. Gold was indeed culturally and politically significant, turning into the main trade value for the areas.
Anyways, those golden times are now long gone, as the gold deposits in the waters of Cornish and West Devon rivers are much more limited, if not completely drained now, as Simon Camm, a geologist who took part in the research mentioned.
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