miércoles, 17 de septiembre de 2014

Stonehenge's most intricate archaeological finds were probably made by children

Bush Barrow Copper Dagger. This copper dagger, 27 cms long, was also found near the right arm of the skeleton and was possibly already an antique at the time it was placed in the grave. It was made also in Brittany, had a wooden scabbard lined with sheepskin and a wooden handle inlaid with thousands of minute gold pins arranged in a zig-zag design. wiltshiremuseum.org.uk

Gold micro-working is probably too detailed for adults

Some of the most high-status pieces of prehistoric "bling", prized by Stonehenge’s Bronze Age social elite, are likely to have been made by children, according to new research.

An analysis of intricately decorated objects found near the ancient stone circle shows that the craftwork involved such tiny components that only children – or extremely short-sighted adults – would have been able to focus closely enough on the ultra-fine details to make them.

The research into the human eyesight optics of micro-gold-working in the Bronze Age has considerable implications for understanding society in Western Europe 4,000 years ago.

The Stonehenge-area object with the largest number of ultra-small gold components is a dagger made in around 1900BC, now on display in Wiltshire Museum  in Devizes.

Crafted more than 1,100 years before the invention of the first magnifying glass, the dagger’s 12cm handle was adorned with up to 140,000 tiny gold studs – each around 1mm long and around 0.2mm in diameter.

They were set, with great manual dexterity and remarkable skill, into the surface of the wooden dagger handle – with more than a thousand studs neatly embedded in each square centimetre.

“The very finest gold work involved the making and positioning of tens of thousands of tiny individually made components,” said David Dawson, director of the museum.

“Only children and teenagers, and those adults who had become myopic naturally or due to the nature of their work as children, would have been able to create and manufacture such tiny objects,” said Ronald Rabbetts, a leading authority on the optics of the human eye.

“There would almost certainly have been a small section of the Bronze Age artisan class who, often as a result of their childhood work, were myopic for their adult life. They would therefore have been unable to do any other work apart from the making of tiny artefacts and would have had to be supported by the community at large.”

Mr Rabbetts has been assessing the eyesight implications of Bronze Age micro-gold-working for a BBC Two documentary ‘Operation Stonehenge’, due to screen this evening.

The gold-studded daggers were discovered in 1808 inside Bush Barrow, a substantial Bronze Age burial mound, almost a thousand metres from Stonehenge. However, it is only now that the implications of its manufacture have been examined in detail.

The prehistoric gold micro-working was a long process involving at least five stages.

“We estimate that the entire operation – wire manufacture, stud-making, hole-making, resin pasting and stud positioning – would have taken at least 2,500 hours,” said Mr Dawson.

The dagger, and another similar weapon found with it, are believed to be the only such ultra-fine micro-worked artefacts to have survived from the prehistoric period in the world.

But the high level of skill involved suggests they were not one-off creations but products of a wider tradition in at least part of Bronze Age Western Europe. independent.co.uk

Actualización 19-09-14: La artesanía más compleja de Stonehenge pudo haber sido obra de niños – RT
Los hallazgos arqueológicos de mayor calidad en los alrededores de Stonehenge fueron "probablemente hechos por niños", asegura una nueva investigación llevada a cabo por especialistas del museo británico de Wiltshire.


Según David Dawson, director del museo, un análisis de los objetos hallados cerca del antiguo círculo de piedra del sur del Reino Unido muestra que la artesanía ultrafina requería componentes tan pequeños que solo pudieron haber sido realizados por niños o por adultos miopes, informa el diario 'The Intependent'.

Algunas de las piezas de mayor estatus, que gozaban de la estima de la élite de la edad de bronce de Stonehenge, fueron probablemente realizadas por niños, según una nueva investigación.

La investigación sobre la óptica de visión humana en diminutos objetos de oro realizados durante la Edad de Bronce tiene importantes implicaciones para comprender mejor la naturaleza de la sociedad en Europa occidental hace unos 4.000 años.

"Sólo los niños y los adolescentes y los adultos que se hubieran vuelto miopes naturalmente o debido a la naturaleza de su trabajo siendo niños habrían sido capaces de crear y fabricar esos objetos minúsculos", aseguró el conocido experto en la óptica del ojo humano Ronald Rabbetts. El especialista ha estado evaluando las implicaciones de la visión humana en la elaboración de micropiezas de oro de la Edad de Bronce, las cuales quedan explicadas en detalle en un documental de la BBC titulado 'Operación Stonehenge' –presentado la tarde de este jueves.

"A menudo, como resultado del trabajo hecho durante la niñez, eran miopes en su vida adulta. Por lo tanto, habrían sido incapaces de hacer cualquier otro trabajo aparte de la realización de pequeños artefactos y habrían tenido que recibir el apoyo de la comunidad en general ", aseveró.

El objeto arqueológico encontrado en el área de Stonehenge con mayor número de componentes ultrapequeños de oro es una daga realizada en torno al año 1900 antes de Cristo. El hallazgo se exhibe ahora en el museo de Wiltshire, en la localidad inglesa de Devizes.

Realizado a mano más de 1.100 años antes de la invención de la primera lente de aumento, el mango de 12 centímetros de largo de una daga estaba adornado con unos 140.000 pequeños clavos de oro –cada uno de un milímetro de largo y alrededor de 0,2 milímetros de diámetro.

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Actualización: La artesanía más compleja de Stonehenge pudo haber sido obra de niños – RT