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Thread: Cornish gold traded into Ireland in the Bell Beaker period

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    Cornish gold traded into Ireland in the Bell Beaker period

    A paper published online in April has just hit the headlines. No doubt there was a well-written press release.

    Here's the paper:
    Christopher D. Standish, Bruno Dhuime, Chris J. Hawkesworth and Alistair W. G. Pike, A Non-local Source of Irish Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age Gold, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, Published online: 08 April 2015 http://journals.cambridge.org/action...ct?aid=9637063

    Lead isotope analyses of 50 Irish Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age gold artefacts favour a gold source in southern Ireland. However when combined with major element analysis, the artefacts are not consistent with any Irish gold deposit analysed to date. Understanding the lead isotope signatures of ore deposits within a study region allows informed inferences to be drawn regarding the likelihood that an unanalysed ore deposit was exploited in the past. If an Irish gold source is assumed, then the gold is most likely to have originated from deposits hosted by Old Red Sandstone in the Variscan ore field of south-west Ireland. However, based on our current understanding of mineralisation in the region, this scenario is considered unlikely. A non-Irish source for the gold is therefore preferred – a scenario that may favour cosmologically-driven acquisition, ie, the deliberate procurement of a material from distant or esoteric sources. Available geochemical data, combined with current archaeological evidence, favour the alluvial deposits of south-west Britain as the most likely source of the gold.
    Here are some of the articles about it:

    Past Horizons: A group of archaeologists led by Dr Christopher Standish from the University of Bristol and the University of Southampton suggests people were trading gold between the south-west of the UK and Ireland as far back as the early Bronze Age (2500 BC).Evidence of prehistoric gold trade route between Ireland and Cornwall : http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index....d-and-cornwall

    Archaeologists at the University of Southampton have found evidence of an ancient gold trade route between the south-west of the UK and Ireland. A study suggests people were trading gold between the two countries as far back as the early Bronze Age (2500BC).

    The research, in collaboration with the University of Bristol, used a new technique to measure the chemical composition of some of the earliest gold artefacts in Ireland. Findings show the objects were actually made from imported gold, rather than Irish. Furthermore, this gold is most likely to have come from Cornwall.

    Lead author Dr Chris Standish says: “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. “It is unlikely that knowledge of how to extract gold didn’t 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.”
    Sci-News: Archaeologists Find Evidence of 4,500-Year-Old Gold Trade Route: http://www.sci-news.com/archaeology/...and-02880.html

    A group of archaeologists led by Dr Christopher Standish from the University of Bristol and the University of Southampton suggests people were trading gold between the south-west of the UK and Ireland as far back as the early Bronze Age (2500 BC).
    Eureka Alert: Archaeologists discover evidence of prehistoric gold trade route: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releas...-ade060515.php

    Archaeologists at the University of Southampton have found evidence of an ancient gold trade route between the south-west of the UK and Ireland. A study suggests people were trading gold between the two countries as far back as the early Bronze Age (2500BC).

    The research, in collaboration with the University of Bristol, used a new technique to measure the chemical composition of some of the earliest gold artefacts in Ireland. Findings show the objects were actually made from imported gold, rather than Irish. Furthermore, this gold is most likely to have come from Cornwall.
    Last edited by Jean M; 06-05-2015 at 08:03 PM. Reason: Correction

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    Interesting - dont know how this chimes with the recent article placing a source for early Irish gold in the Mourne Mountains of NE Ireland. Interesting though if this article is correct considering Irish copper from Ross Island in SW Ireland was passing the other direction to Britain and to a lesser degree northern France. Some sort in interesting network going on there.

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    It reminds me of Cunliffes Bronze Age Atlantic Trading Routes which included Gold, Bronze, Tin, Copper, Swords, Axes, Shields and the Maritime Beaker Complex between Ireland, Britain, Cornwall, Brittany, SW France, Iberia and generally along Atlantic Europe.
    The recent NW France DNA study would tend to support this idea.

    https://www.pinterest.com/gerardcorc...onze-age-gold/
    Gerard Corcoran
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heber View Post
    It reminds me of Cunliffes Bronze Age Atlantic Trading Routes which included Gold, Bronze, Tin, Copper, Swords, Axes, Shields and the Maritime Beaker Complex between Ireland, Britain, Cornwall, Brittany, SW France, Iberia and generally along Atlantic Europe.
    The recent NW France DNA study would tend to support this idea.

    https://www.pinterest.com/gerardcorc...onze-age-gold/
    Interesting that many of the metal rich areas in the Isles also match the core zone of Atlantic megaliths during the Neolithic. This must be down to the geology, and for the megaliths, availability of local stone.

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