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Naturwissenschaften

, 95:361 | Cite as

Gold and gold working in Late Bronze Age Northern Greece

  • M. Vavelidis
  • S. Andreou
Short Communication

Abstract

Numerous objects of gold displaying an impressive variety of types and manufacturing techniques are known from the Late Bronze Age (LBA) contexts of Mycenaean Greece, but very little is known about the origin and processing of gold during the second millennium b.c. Ancient literature and recent research indicate that northern Greece is probably the richest gold-bearing region in Greece, and yet, very little evidence exists regarding the exploitation of its deposits and the production as well as use of gold in the area during prehistory. The unusual find of a group of small stone crucibles at the prehistoric settlement of Thessaloniki Toumba, one with visible traces of gold melting, proves local production and offers a rare opportunity to examine the process of on-site gold working. Furthermore, the comparison of the chemical composition of prehistoric artefacts from two settlements with those of gold deposits in their immediate areas supports the local extraction of gold and opens up the prospect for some of the Mycenaean gold to have originated in northern Greece. The scarcity of gold items in northern Greek LBA contexts may not represent the actual amount of gold produced and consumed, but could be a result of the local social attitudes towards the circulation and deposition of artefacts from precious metals.

Keywords

Gold Metallurgy Prehistoric Gold composition Greece 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank I. Mavroeidi for help with the study of the artefacts and K. Efkleidou for help with the illustrations. We also thank Professor G. A. Wagner for commenting on an early version of the manuscript and Dr. R. J. Chapman and three more anonymous referees for their comments. The research was partly supported through a grant from the Institute of Aegean Prehistory.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mineralogy, Petrology and Economic GeologyAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece
  2. 2.Department of ArchaeologyAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece

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