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Archaeologists show off priceless gold haul

For the first time archaeologists are showing a 1.8-kilo haul of gold they found while performing excavations around a gas pipeline last year. 

Archaeologists in Lower Saxony are, for the first time, displaying a priceless gold haul found during the construction of a natural gas pipeline last year [Credit: DPA]
The bracelets, rings and other objects have been stored at Lower Saxony’s State Conservation Office since they were found in April 2011 near the town of Syke, while engineers prepared for construction of the so-called Nord Stream pipeline. 

The more than 100 pieces consist of everything from bracelets to rings [Credit: DPA]
The haul includes 117 objects, the most recent of which appear to date from the Middle Bronze Age, around 1,000 years before Jesus' birth. 

The gold has aroused interest among researchers and the public alike [Credit: DPA]
Investigations have revealed that the gold likely came from Central Asia, although researchers are still unsure how it ended up in Europe. “Why this gold find was put into the ground is still unknown,” state archaeologist Henning Ha?mann told Die Welt newspaper. 

The haul is being analyzed with x-ray and computer technology and is thought to have come from Asia long before Jesus' birth [Credit: DPA]
According to Die Welt daily, the gold was found by an excavation engineer analyzing the construction site with a metal detector. After it was removed by researchers, high-tech techniques, including x-rays and computer programmes, were used to analyze it. Officials are still trying to nail down a precise date and place of origin. 

Archaeologists are studying more excavation sites as pipeline construction continues [Credit: DPA]
While activists have complained that construction of the Nord Stream pipeline – which stretches from Russia to Germany and will be fully completed later this year – is damaging to the environment, it is proving to be a boon for archaeologists. 

In August 2011, researchers found Stone Age objects while performing excavations and they are currently investigating other sites. 

Source: The Local [February 23, 2012]

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