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First-ever proof of trade between Egypt and Greece found in ancient queen’s silver bracelets.


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Bracelets found in the tomb of the Egyptian queen Hetepheres I, mother of Khufu, the pharaoh who ordered the construction of the Great Pyramid, revealed information about trade networks that linked Ancient Egypt with Greece.

After analyzing samples taken from the jewelry, an international team of archaeologists found that the bracelets contain copper, gold and lead.

Bracelets of an ancient Egyptian queen contain the first evidence of long-distance trade between Egypt and Greece

— Live Science (@LiveScience) June 1, 2023

The statement said there were gemstone inlays such as turquoise, lapis lazuli and agate that were common in ancient Egyptian jewelry.

However, the pieces, including one depicting a butterfly, also contain traces of silver, although there are no known local sources of the precious metal in ancient Egypt in 2600 BC when the jewelry was made.

The team looked at the ratio of isotopes — atoms with a different number of neutrons than usual in their nuclei — in lead. Based on this analysis, the scientists hypothesized that the materials “correspond to ores from the Cyclades,” a group of Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, as well as ores from Lavrion, a city in southern Greece, according to a study published in the June issue of the journal Archaeological Science: Reports.

“The origin of silver used in artifacts in the third millennium is still a mystery,” says lead author Karen Sawada, Lecturer in History and Archeology at Macquarie University in Sydney, “this new discovery demonstrates, for the first time, the possible geographical extent of the trading networks that used it. “. Ancient Egypt during the heyday of the era of the construction of the pyramids.

Scholars have speculated that the silver now comes through the port of Byblos in Lebanon, and they have pointed out that the tombs of Byblos, which date back to the late fourth millennium, contain many ingots of silver and that there was activity between that port and Egypt. at that time. They added that the silver on the bracelets was the first evidence of long-distance trade between Egypt and Greece.

The study also provides insight into how bracelets are formed. Study co-author Damien Gore, a professor at University A’s College of Life Sciences, explained in a statement: “The bracelets were made by cold forging metal with re-annealing (heating process) to prevent breakage. it is possible that the bracelets were alloyed with gold to improve their appearance and ability to shape during manufacture.

It is noteworthy that Queen Hetepheres was one of the most influential queens of Ancient Egypt. She was the wife of Snefru, the first pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty (2575-2465 BC). The scientists mentioned in the study that her tomb, discovered at Giza in 1925, contained many treasures such as gilded furniture, gold utensils and jewelry, including 20 such bracelets.

Some bracelets are now part of the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Source: Living Science

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