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We look forward to collaborating with Donegal County Council and County Museum in ensuring maximum public engagement with the treasure. Following their discovery, the artefacts were immediately removed from the site and transferred to the National Museum of Ireland.

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They will be put on display as soon as initial investigations are concluded. Skip to site content Return to Graphics Version Text only.

Science unlocks the legacy of the Mapungubwe gold artefacts

When the numbers didn't match, he looked to gold sources in southwestern Britain. Indeed, they matched closely, showing that the gold circulated in prehistoric Ireland did not come from Ireland. Although there are many possible sources of gold in Ireland, evidence of Irish gold has not been found. The mysterious, foreign gold — which was often molded into circular, sunlike shapes — complements belief systems revolving sun worship, as it would have been ideal material for sacred objects, Standish told Live Science.


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Knowing the source of the gold could help archaeologists learn more about the religious and functional reasons for these artifacts. Similar gold artifacts from the early Bronze Age have not yet been discovered in Britain, indicating that people there likely viewed gold as more of a commodity.

The gold was likely exported from Britain and then worked up into artifacts in Ireland, Standish said. The next steps in his research will be to measure the lead isotopes of other possible sources in southwestern Britain and Wales to form a comprehensive regional picture of the different gold deposits. Whereas gold had previously been traded with the East Coast, it became symbolic of power, wealth and status at Mapungubwe Hill.

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This possibly protected the site, keeping it in the realm of legend, where it remained undisturbed until its rediscovery in To subscribe email subscriptions creamermedia. Mining Weekly is a product of Creamer Media.


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Farmer finds prehistoric gold artefacts in Donegal

Science unlocks the legacy of the Mapungubwe gold artefacts. About Mining Weekly is a product of Creamer Media. Subscriptions are available via the Creamer Media Store.


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