Polished stones at Stonehenge may represent 4,000-year-old goldsmith’s tools.

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By Creative Media News

Experts assert that polished stones discovered at Stonehenge may have been part of a 4,000-year-old goldsmith’s toolset.

Archaeologists from the University of Leicester discovered evidence of gold on their surfaces, indicating that they were formerly employed as hammers or anvils for metalworking.

The artifacts were initially unearthed in 1801 from a Bronze Age burial in the Wiltshire village of Upton Lovell, where they had been interred during the Bronze Age.

At the time, it was believed that a shaman and his wife were laid to rest in this ‘barrow’ or burial mound.

Polished stones at stonehenge may represent 4,000-year-old goldsmith's tools.
Polished stones at stonehenge may represent 4,000-year-old goldsmith's tools.

This is because one set of skeletal remains was wearing an “ornate costume” consisting of a ceremonial cloak, necklaces of beads, and animal bone ornaments.

Some of these bones had holes, indicating they were previously part of a necklace or garment’s fringe.

In the Early Bronze Age, shamans were believed to be able to communicate with the spirit world, and their power was represented by bones, which were associated with death and rebirth.

The bones also included a battleaxe made of greenstone and a purse ornamented with boar’s tusks that housed tattooing implements.

At his feet lay a set of hammers and grinding stones for polishing and brushing gold, indicating that the shaman was also a metalsmith.

The curator of the Wiltshire Museum, Lisa Brown, stated, “The man buried at Upton Lovell, near Stonehenge, was a very competent goldsmith.”

His ceremonial garment, which was adorned with animal bones that had been punctured, further suggests that he was a spiritual leader and one of the few people in the early Bronze Age who understood the magic of metalworking.

The woman standing next to him was adorned with a necklace of polished shale beads and a shale arm ring.

Additionally, their tomb contained three polished flint axes and a black dolerite battleaxe, all of which are on show at the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes.

Inexplicably, they date back to the Neolithic era, which means they were already thousands of years old at the time of the burial.

The burial site, which dates to between 1850 and 1700 B.C., is located on a ridge overlooking a river valley that leads to the Stonehenge monoliths.

In the 2000s, gold was discovered for the first time on one of the grave goods, suggesting that it was originally used to flatten the precious metal into sheets.

To examine the other stone and copper-alloy artifacts for their study, which was published this week in Antiquity, the researchers wished to employ more modern techniques.

They employed sophisticated microscopes to examine traces on the surfaces of the instruments to gain a better understanding of how they were created and utilized.

Four other artifacts were found to have traces of gold, which was determined to be prehistoric and consistent with Bronze Age goldwork discovered in the United Kingdom.

The wear on the tools indicated that they were used for various purposes, such as hammers, anvils, and polishing.

In addition to gold, they were also used to form amber, wood, copper, jet, and shale.

It has been proposed that they would form the cores of devices such as belt hooks and clasps, which would then be covered with a thin gold coating.

The finds provide credence to the notion that this shaman was renowned for his metalworking talents and spiritual connections, and that his society deemed it essential to bury him with his tools.

Dr. Rachel Crellin, the study’s lead author, remarked, “This is a very exciting discovery for our project.”

Our research has uncovered the basic stone toolbox that was utilized thousands of years ago to fashion gold artifacts.

Dr. Oliver Harris, the co-author, stated, “Our research demonstrates how much more we can learn about how ancient things were manufactured and utilized when we examine them with cutting-edge modern tools.

This demonstrates the enduring significance of museum collections by allowing us to comprehend the highly sophisticated techniques involved in the Bronze Age production of gold artifacts.

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