Utilizing a new procedure to quantify the substance of some of the earliest gold curios in Ireland, the scientists discovered that the items were really produced using gold imported from Cornwall in Britain.
“This is an unexpected and particularly interesting result as it suggests that Bronze Age gold workers in Ireland were making artefacts out of material sourced from outside of the country, despite the existence of a number of easily-accessible and rich gold deposits found locally,” said lead author Chris Standish from University of Southampton in Britain.
“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,” Standish said.
The analysts used a highly advanced method called laser ablation mass spectrometry to test gold from 50 early Bronze Age antiques. After further examination, the archeologists concluded that the gold in the items without a doubt was from Cornwall, and not Ireland — conceivably taken and used as trading object as part of the tin mining industry.