Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Mysterious Dacian Gold
Ten years ago some Romanian men were caught trying to sell gold bracelets that appeared to be ancient (one is shown above). The men denied that they had dug the bracelets out of the ground, saying that a deceased friend had made them from melted Greek coins, intending to pass them off as lost originals. But the Romanian authorities always thought the men had looted them from graves, and now a study from the Romanian National History Museum confirms this. According to the museum's curators, the gold has a distinctly different elemental profile from that used in Greek or Macedonian coins, and furthermore whoever made the bracelets used a lot more metal than was really necessary. Most of the twelve bracelets that have been recovered weigh more than a kilogram (2.2 pounds). Surely, they say, a modern forger dependent on melted Greek coins for his metal would have chosen designs that used less gold. So it seems that these bracelets are actual treasures of the Dacian people, who occupied the Romanian basin before the Romans conquered them in the 2nd century AD.