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A Reappraisal of Iberian Copper Age Goldwork: Craftmanship, Symbolism and Art in a Non-funerary Gold Sheet from Valencina de la Concepción

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 May 2015

Mercedes Murillo-Barroso
Affiliation:
University College London, Institute of Archaeology, 31–34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PYUK Email: m.murillo-barroso@ucl.ac.uk
Manuel Eleazar Costa Caramé
Affiliation:
Department of Prehistory and Archaeology, University of Seville Maria de Padilla, s/n. 41004 SevilleSpain Email: eleazarcosta@us.es
Marta Díaz-Guardamino Uribe
Affiliation:
Department of Archaeology, University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BFUK Email: M.M.Diaz-Guardamino-Uribe@soton.ac.uk
Leonardo García Sanjuán
Affiliation:
Department of Prehistory and Archaeology, University of Seville, Maria de Padilla s/n. 41004 Seville, Spain Email: lgarcia@us.es
Coronada Mora Molina
Affiliation:
Department of Prehistory and Archaeology, University of Seville, Maria de Padilla s/n. 41004 Seville, Spain Email: coronada_mora@hotmail.com

Abstract

Taking as a point of departure the in-depth analysis and description of an exceptional discovery, consisting of a large hammered gold sheet decorated with embossed motifs from the well-known Chalcolithic settlement of Valencina de la Concepción (Seville, Spain), this article presents a general appraisal of the social and ideological role of gold in Copper Age Iberia. The information available for this find, including both its context and its inherent characteristics, opens up new perspectives for research into the technology, use, sociology and symbolism of gold during this time period. We describe and analyse this unique item in detail, including the characterization of the raw material used and the manufacturing process (via SEM-BSE and LA-ICP-MS), as well as an extensive reconstruction of the graphic motifs that are represented, by using digital imaging processing techniques (RTI). We compare this find with the data currently available for the (approximately) 100 Chalcolithic golden artefacts (or fragments of artefacts) found in Iberia to date. Finally, we present an appraisal of the social and ideological framework in which gold was used in Copper Age Iberia, discussing its relevance in aspects such as the dynamics of social complexity, worldviews or artistic creations.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research 2015 

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A Reappraisal of Iberian Copper Age Goldwork: Craftmanship, Symbolism and Art in a Non-funerary Gold Sheet from Valencina de la Concepción
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A Reappraisal of Iberian Copper Age Goldwork: Craftmanship, Symbolism and Art in a Non-funerary Gold Sheet from Valencina de la Concepción
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A Reappraisal of Iberian Copper Age Goldwork: Craftmanship, Symbolism and Art in a Non-funerary Gold Sheet from Valencina de la Concepción
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