Interest in the study of early European cultures is growing. These cultures have left us objects made of gold, other metals and ceramics. The advent of metal detectors, coupled with improved analytical techniques, has increased the number of findings of such objects enormously. Gold was used for economic and ceremonial purposes and thus the gold objects are an important key to our understanding of the social and political structures, as well as the technological achievements, of Bronze and Iron Age European societies. A correct interpretation of the information provided by gold and other metal objects requires the co-operation of experts in the fields of social, materials and natural science. Detailed investigation of gold deposits in Europe have revealed the composition and genesis of the deposits as sources of the metal. This book discusses the techniques of gold mining and metallurgy, the socioeconomic importance of gold as coinage and a symbol of wealth and status, and as an indicator of religious habits, as well as a mirror of trade and cultural relations mirrored by the distribution and types of gold objects in prehistoric times.
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