Early gold technology as an indicator of circulation processes in Atlantic Europe
UNIVERSAL IDENTIFIER: http://hdl.handle.net/11093/901
DOCUMENT TYPE: bookPart
This paper deals with goldworking technology, more precisely with the manufacturing processes and tools used in Atlantic Europe during the Copper Age and the beginning of the Early Bronze Age. It takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the technological aspects of early fine metalworking crafts. Along with copper, gold was one of the first metals used by early metallurgists. Atlantic Europe is rich in gold artefacts attesting to the use of particular types of ornaments, from southern Portugal up to the north of Scotland. Precious metal objects are valuable goods with symbolic meaning used in rituals as well as in funerary contexts. They also had an important social function for gift exchange between elites and for demonstration of power. Gold artefacts can indicate cultural contact leading to the exchange of technological and artistic knowhow. One purpose of this paper is to investigate the traces of exchange and circulation processes in the archaeological record so as to be able to reconstruct the goldworking craftsmanship of the past. The second purpose is to present an interdisciplinary approach to the analysis and definition of the early art of goldworking. Finally, the role of metal technology in tradition, innovation, contact and cultural change for understanding of early metal-using societies will be discussed.
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