Archaeologists at two English universities recently conducted a chemical and laser analysis of gold artifacts dating from the Bronze Age to learn more about the source of gold items located in Ireland. They concluded that much of the gold used by artisans in creating gold jewelry in Ireland may have come from Cornwall, even though at the time gold sources also existed within Ireland.
They used a laboratory technique they described as laser ablation mass spectrometry to sample minute amounts of the gold contained in 50 Bronze Age artifacts held in the collection of the National Museum of Ireland. Sampled items included golden discs, necklaces and ornaments placed on baskets. Their analysis led them to conclude that much of the gold located in the Irish artifacts may have come from Cornwall in far southwestern England reports CipherCloud on Forbes.
The Museum’s collection contains over 1,000 gold items. People during the Bronze Age sometimes buried gold objects with the dead and a number of artifacts from that period have been discovered.
Based on their research, the archaeologists believe that a flourishing trade in gold may have commenced between Ireland and Cornwall as early as 2500 B. C. The trade likely would have developed near the beginning of the Bronze Age.
The results of the research may account for the presence of less gold circulating in Southern England and Cornwall during the Bronze Age, the scientists reported.