Stones found near Stonehenge turned out to be jeweler’s tools

(ORDO NEWS) — Archaeologists claim that the mysterious artifacts from the Bronze Age burial mound were used to work gold almost four thousand years ago.

The journal Antiquity published a work by archaeologists from the University of Southampton and Leicester (UK), which presents the results of a study of bronze axes and figured cobblestones from a mound excavated at the beginning of the 19th century.

The mound is a fairly large burial ground, approximately 3800 years old. It is located in the south of England, near the village of Upton Lovell – near Stonehenge.

This burial immediately attracted the attention of archaeologists due to the large number of perforated animal bones found in it, which were interpreted as a spectacular shaman costume.

Stones found near Stonehenge turned out to be jewelers tools 2
Neolithic battle axes in the Bronze Age became a tool of creation

But other burial items, including flint cups, two broken battle axes and an awl made of copper alloy, remained unexplored for a long time.

Now this gap is being filled with the help of new technologies that were inaccessible even a few decades ago, not to mention the century before last.

Using these techniques, the researchers found minute traces of gold on the surfaces or edges of five tools that made up a nearly four thousand year old set.

This proved that stone and copper objects were indeed used to shape and manipulate gold in liquid or metallic form, a process that must have relied on the experience of goldsmiths trained to work with this substance.

According to archaeologists, the master made jewelry from amber, jet and wood and covered them with thin sheets of gold – scientists know examples of such artifacts from the corresponding period.

In flint cups, in their opinion, resins and glue were mixed, and perforations and patterns were created with an awl.

The scientists also found that gold has an elemental characteristic that directly links it to other Bronze Age gold items found elsewhere in the UK.

Stones found near Stonehenge turned out to be jewelers tools 3
Microscopic analysis of the findings

The mound is attributed to the Wessex culture that flourished after the construction of Stonehenge.

At the same time, four Neolithic axes were found in the grave, that is, they were already several thousand years old when they were buried together with the goldsmith.

The analysis showed that one of them was used to process Bronze Age gold.

Now it is almost impossible to answer the question why the Bronze Age jeweler worked with such an ancient instrument.

The authors of the work suggest that the axes could be family heirlooms, passed down from generation to generation.

However, in this case, the question arises: why were they buried with the master, and not passed on to his descendants?

Another possible option: they were simply found in the river and decided that they could be used in the craft.

As mentioned above, the mound was first excavated in 1801. The burial contained the skeletal remains of only two people. One was buried lying on his back, the second – in a sitting position.

It is noteworthy that the first body during burial was dressed in some kind of official or ceremonial attire, embroidered with the bones of various animals, as well as boar tusks. Judging by their arrangement, these bones and fangs were once attached to the clothing, but fell off when it decayed.

It is generally believed that the two bodies in the mound were not placed there at the same time. Archaeologists suggest that the first skeleton is the remains of a high-status person, perhaps a shaman or metalworker.

Less speculation has been made about the identity of the second buried person, as there are not many artifacts that can be directly linked to him.

The Wessex culture is the period of completion of Stonehenge, which was erected in several stages over 1500 years.

According to the results of archaeological excavations, it is known that people of this culture left extensive sets of grave goods in the mounds of leaders and other important people.

They often included items made of gold, which were not found in this particular burial. But there were tools designed to create these products. How can one not remember the shoemaker without boots.


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