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Archaeologists unearth golden enigma in Denmark

Archaeologists have discovered about 2,000 little gold spirals from the Bronze Age in a field near Boeslunde in Zealand.

Archaeologists unearth golden enigma in Denmark
Bronze Age gold spirals found in Boeslund, 900-700 BC 
[Credit: Morten Petersen/Zealand Museum]
The longest of the many spirals are around 3 cm in length and are all produced from thin and flat golden thread dating from 700-900 BC.

Archaeologists unearth golden enigma in Denmark
Gold spirals lay in situ surrounded by flakes of birch pitch, see large, gray-black flake 
at the top left [Credit: Flemming Kaul/National Museum of Denmark]
The find, in an area of Zealand considered one of northern Europe’s best places to find gold artefacts from the Bronze Age, remains as mysterious as it is sensational.

Archaeologists unearth golden enigma in Denmark
The gold spirals are all produced from thin and flat gold thread dating from 
700-900 BC [Credit: Flemming Kaul/National Museum of Denmark]
“The fact is that we don’t know what they were for, but I lean towards them being used as part of a priest king’s clothing or head piece,” Flemming Kaul, a curator with the National Museum of Denmark, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

Archaeologists unearth golden enigma in Denmark
Gold spiral in situ [Credit: Flemming Kaul/
National Museum of Denmark]
The spirals were unearthed during two separate digs in the area. The digs also revealed a couple of golden fibulae, which allowed for a precise dating of the find. The remains of what archaeologists believe is a fur-lined wooden box were also found.

Archaeologists unearth golden enigma in Denmark
Flakes of birch pitch found under the gold spirals [Credit: Flemming Kaul/
National Museum of Denmark]
Two years ago four golden oath rings were found in the area, while six other larger gold rings have also been found in the area. In the 1800s six gold bowls were also discovered in the vicinity by Borgbjerg Bakke, leading archaeologists to believe that the area by Boeslunde was once a Bronze Age place for ritual sacrifice.

Archaeologists unearth golden enigma in Denmark
Six gold bowls from the Bronze Age found in Boeslunde in the 1800s 
[Credit: Kit Weiss/National Museum of Denmark]
Archaeologists from Museum Vestsjælland are continuing to excavate in the area in co-operation with a group of amateur archaeologists.

Source: The Copenhagen Post [July 08, 2015]
TANN

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7 comments :

  1. They are a treasury. Those golden spirals are common among Bell Beaker culture burials particularly and they are believed to have been used as coin, not usually in whole but breaking apart bits of them as needed.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Umm.. how about they are shavings from machining gold to make gold bowels and such. Collected for later re-melt, that got stolen or moved and forgotten.

    ReplyDelete
  3. In Persian thay are called Sermeh ( Persian سرمه ) and Guolabatton ( Persian گلابتون ). They have been being used since thousands of years.

    ReplyDelete
  4. In Persian thay are called Sermeh ( Persian سرمه ) and Guolabatton ( Persian گلابتون ). They have been being used since thousands of years.

    ReplyDelete
  5. @John: the idea of "machining" sounds totally out of place in the Copper Age. Anyhow, these golden spirals (sometimes described as finger-rings but no reason to believe they were so) are often found as grave goods in Bell Beaker contexts all around Europe (just make a search for "golden spirals Bell Beaker" to find a bunch of references), and you would not place "scraps" in someone's tomb, would you?

    A common interpretation is the one I outlined above: they were proto-money or versatile mini-ingots, which you could easily carry in a purse (or maybe even worn as adornments) and cut bits off to pay for whatever you needed to buy. It was probably the first "money" Western Europe knew, at least in metallic form.

    ReplyDelete
  6. @Maju: You think that the copper age was 700-900 BCE? and that people didn't use machines? The lathe (known back then as "turning") dates back to 1030 BCE Search "The Copper Age" and "Origin of Lathe" for your references to these.

    ReplyDelete
  7. @John: No the Chalcolithic (copper and stone age) was in most of Europe between c. 4000 or 3500 BCE until c. 1800 BCE, when the Bronze Age begins west of the Balcans. For Western Europe it corresponds, roughly, with Megalithism and Bell Beaker, including the first civilizations in Southern Iberia and also the Kurgan invasions in Central Europe and Scandinavia.

    I have no idea what "Lathe" is and I won't make any search (too busy). If you want to call my attention to anything specific, please post a link and save my time.

    ReplyDelete


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