February 26, 2024

Gold treasures from the ancient, legendary cities of Troy, Poliochni, and Ur come from the same source

Now, Pernicka and his group might lastly show that the treasure stemmed from secondary deposits, such as rivers, which its chemical structure is identical to that of gold objects from Poliochni and from the royal burial places in Ur in Mesopotamia. This implies there were most likely trade links between these far areas, the researchers said.

The mythical city of Troy (in contemporary called Hisarlik, in Canakkale, Turkey) comprises a multi-period site, now partially buried. It was the well-known setting for Homers Iliad (among the oldest works of Western Literature) which tells the story of the city being sieged. Poliochini was an ancient settlement on the island of Lemos, preceding the building of Troy I.

The gold samples evaluated by the researchers come from the legendary “Treasure of Priam,” excavated in 1873 by the German innovator of Troy and linguistic specialist Heinrich Schliemann. Since it was discovered, the origin of the gold (now held in museums in Russia and Germany) has actually been a secret and the subject of examination.

Image credit: The researchers.

Ernst Pernicka, scientific director of the Curt-Engelhorn Center for Archaeometry (CEZA) at the Reiss-Engelhorn Museums in Mannheim, dealt with an international group of scientists to examine samples of the Early Bronze Age jewelry from Troy and Poliochini– made possible thanks to a portable and ingenious laser ablation system.

It was probably an odd thing to see– a group of researchers coming into a museum with a portable measuring device, shining a laser beam on a few of the most crucial gold items in the history of archaeology and burning small holes in them. It was all worth it as with this, they discovered prehistoric trade routes in between the cities stretching from the Aegean to the Indus.

Studying gold samples

The research study was released in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Previous research studies have shown similar items used in the Early Bronze Age across a big geographical location, going from the Aegean to the Indus valley in what is now Pakistan. Gemstones such as lapis lazuli, main seals, standardized weights, and earrings with the exact same spiral patterns, for example. The exact origin of the gold from Troy still remains a mystery.

For their study, the team used the portable laser ablation system to undertake minimally invasive extraction of the gold. The high concentration of palladium, zinc, and platinum in the fashion jewelry from Troy was a clear sign that the gold was cleaned out of a river in the form of gold dust. Experts have actually long debated the actual origin of the gold from the royal burial places of Ur. There are no natural sources of gold in Mesopotamia, which makes West Anatolia, the website of Troy, a possible source. The precise origin of the gold from Troy still stays a secret.

The high concentration of palladium, zinc, and platinum in the fashion jewelry from Troy was a clear indication that the gold was rinsed of a river in the kind of gold dust. The researchers might also show that the samples were mass-produced and not as individual items. This is the only explanation, for instance, of the same amount of platinum in samples discovered in different sites.

For their research study, the team used the portable laser ablation system to carry out minimally invasive extraction of the gold. The bigger melts a small, tiny hole in the samples, which were then evaluated for their structure using mass spectrometry. The scientists studied 61 artifacts utilizing this method, all from the Early Bronze Age (2,500-2,000 BC).

“If we observe the share of trace elements in the gold from Troy, Poliochni and Ur, Bronze Age gold from Georgia correlates the closest with the specified discover websites. We still lack information and studies from other regions and from other things to develop this assumption,” Barbara Horejs, director of the Austrian Archaeological Institute, and one of the scientists, stated in a statement.

Professionals have actually long debated the actual origin of the gold from the royal tombs of Ur. There are no natural sources of gold in Mesopotamia, that makes West Anatolia, the website of Troy, a possible source. “However, other rather various areas which are known to have actually had strong trade links with Ur have likewise been considered,” said Pernicka.