Scientists said that gold found in ancient Troy, Poliochni, and UR had the same origin. They have used an innovative mobile laser method to find this out.
Researchers from several institutions used a portable laser ablation system (pLA) to analyse samples. The samples were Bronze Age jewellery, found in Troy and Poliochni. This research was led by Ernst Pernicka, scientific director of the Curt-Engelhorn Center for Archaeometry (CEZA) at the Reiss-Engelhorn Museums in Mannheim and director of the University of Tübingen’s Troy project.
The origin of the gold has been a mystery since Heinrich Schliemann discovered Priam’s Treasure in Troy in 1873.
Professor Pernicka and his international team have now proven that it came from secondary deposits such as rivers. Its chemical composition is identical with that of gold objects from the settlement of Poliochni on Lemnos and the royal tombs in Ur in Mesopotamia. It is also identical with that of objects from Georgia.
The portable laser ablation system (pLA) allowed the team to extract samples from jewellery. The experiment happened in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens in a minimally invasive manner. The museum’s necklaces, pendants, earrings, and chokers were very valuable. This is why they cannot be transported to a laboratory or subjected to any examination that leaves a visible mark on the objects.
In addition to gold, historic pieces of jewellery always contain silver, copper, zinc, palladium, and platinum. The high concentrations of zinc, palladium, and platinum, for example, in Troy jewellery are a clear indication that gold was used to create the pieces. And it was washed out of a river in the form of gold dust.
The researchers were also able to demonstrate that the jewellery was mass-produced by workshops rather than being sold individually. The amounts of platinum and palladium found in gold necklaces of the same design found at different locations.
The researchers examined 61 artefacts dating from the Early Bronze Age (between 2,500 and 2,000 BCE). This is also the time of Priam’s Treasure.
Experts have long debated the origin of the gold from Ur’s royal tombs. There are no natural gold sources in Mesopotamia, West Anatolia. So, Troy was thought to be a possible source.
Comparative archaeological studies have revealed that these items were used in the Early Bronze Age across a large geographical area. The area was stretching from the Aegean to the Indus valley in what is now Pakistan.