Great price: after 4,000 years, scientists are finally ready to unlock the secrets of the beautiful dagger of the Bronze Age, covered with 140,000 small golden shards
- The artefact from the Bronze Age, the Bush Barrow dagger named after the place where it was found, was discovered 200 years ago in the burial mound of a chief man.
- Watercolor painted shortly after discovery of the dagger in 1808 showed handle
- It is estimated that the handle has completed at least 2,500 hours in six phases
Brilliant with dazzling details, the secrets have remained untold for thousands of years.
But now the full story of this once beautifully beautiful jewel made dagger – buried near Stonehenge two millennia before Christ – can finally be revealed.
The artefact from the Bronze Age, the Bush Barrow dagger named after the place where it was found, was discovered 200 years ago in the burial mound of a chief man.
A watercolor painted shortly after the discovery of the dagger in 1808 showed the handle in its golden glory.
Mystery: The dagger with a modern reconstruction of the handle
However, within a few hours of excavation, the handle began to disintegrate and be exposed to the sky, leaving only the golden fragments.
Archaeologists have long been astonished by the intricate handwork of the handle, which was inlaid with more than 140,000 gold studs, individually barely visible to the naked eye, each one millimeter long and no more than a third of a millimeter in diameter.
The studs were glued into pre-drilled holes with tree resin and formed into zigzag patterns with an incredible density of 1000 studs to a square centimeter.
Experts believe that only children of no more than ten years of age would have been able to do such delicate handiwork. Tightening to see such small details may have won a heavy prize, ruining their eyesight. Until now, the source of the gold was unknown. But the scientist Dr. Christopher Standish of the University of Southampton is conducting tests to find out the exact origin.
One stud is bombarded with X-rays to analyze the small amount of lead contaminants mixed with the gold to reveal a significant signature specific to one location. It is possible that the gold came from Cornwall, Wales, Ireland or Brittany.
Minute gold shards: a stud will be bombarded with x-rays to analyze the small amount of lead impurities mixed with the gold to reveal a significant signature specific to one location. It is possible that the gold came from Cornwall, Wales, Ireland or Brittany
The dagger blade and the remains of the handle can be seen at the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes, near Stonehenge. Museum Director David Dawson said: “Our spectacular gold-studded dagger is one of the most remarkable prehistoric objects in the world, but we have no real idea who made it, or where.
& # 39; There are other daggers with golden handles from the same period. Six were found in Britain and 22 in Brittany.
& # 39; The other British were pretty nonsense, while those from Brittany were pretty good, but none of them is like our dagger from Barrowrow. It is probably from France. & # 39;
The dagger blade and the remains of the handle can be seen at the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes, near Stonehenge
Mr. Dawson believes that only someone with very serious myopia could have done such complicated close-up work. He said: & # 39; There would have been Bronze Age metalworkers who had remained myopic for their adult lives. They could only have seen a few centimeters.
& # 39; They could not have done other work than making small artifacts and should be supported by the community. & # 39;
It is estimated that the handle has completed at least 2,500 hours in six phases.
A painting of the dagger from 1808
First the gold should be rolled in wire as thin as a human hair. One end would be flattened to form the round head of the post and the wire would be cut with a fine flint blade.
A small bronze awl would have been used to drill holes in the wooden handle, which would then be covered with sticky resin. Only then would the nubs be placed with a small pair of tweezers.
The results of the tests will be announced in November.
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