Monday April 23, 2018

Bronze Age gold workers in Ireland made artifacts from imported material, says a study

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London: Archaeologists have found evidence of an ancient gold trade route, dating to the early Bronze Age (2500 BC), between the southwest of Britain and Ireland.

Using a new technique to measure the chemical composition of some of the earliest gold artifacts in Ireland, the researchers determined that the objects were actually made from gold imported from Cornwall in Britain.

“This is an unexpected and particularly interesting result as it suggests that Bronze Age gold workers in Ireland were making artifacts out of material sourced from outside of the country, despite the existence of a number of easily-accessible and rich gold deposits found locally,” said lead author Chris Standish from University of Southampton in Britain.

“It is unlikely that knowledge of how to extract gold did not exist in Ireland, as we see large scale exploitation of other metals. It is more probable that an ‘exotic’ origin was cherished as a key property of gold and was an important reason behind why it was imported for production,” Standish said.

The researchers used an advanced technique called laser ablation mass spectrometry to sample gold from 50 early Bronze Age artifacts in the collections of the National Museum of Ireland, such as basket ornaments, discs and lunula (necklaces).

They measured isotopes of lead in tiny fragments and made a comparison with the composition of gold deposits found in a variety of locations.

After further analysis, the archaeologists concluded that the gold in the objects most likely originates from Cornwall, rather than Ireland — possibly extracted and traded as part of the tin mining industry.

The study appeared in the journal Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. (IANS)

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Britain To Ban Sale Of Plastic Straws In Bid To Fight Waste

Britain planning to ban the sale of Plastic products

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An alternative for plastic straws.
Stainless steel straws are displayed at the cooperative Sin Plastico (Without Plastic), which offers environmentally friendly household items free from plastic materials and packaging, in Bilbao, Spain, April 6, 2018. Britain plans to ban the sale of plastic straws and other single-use items. VOA

Britain plans to ban the sale of plastic straws and other single-use products and is pressing Commonwealth allies to also take action to tackle marine waste, the office of Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May said.

It said drink stirrers and cotton buds would also be banned under the plans.

May has pledged to eradicate avoidable plastic waste by 2042 as part of a “national plan of action.”

“Plastic waste is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world, which is why protecting the marine environment is central to our agenda at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting,” May said in a statement ahead of a Commonwealth summit Thursday.

A woman drinking from plastic straw
A woman drinks from a paper cup through a plastic straw on Westminster

Leaders from the Commonwealth — a network of 53 countries, mostly former British colonies — are meeting in London this week.

May is looking to deepen ties to the Commonwealth as Britain seeks to boost trade and carve out a new role in the world ahead of the country’s departure from the European Union in March next year.

Britain will commit 61.4 million pounds ($87.21 million) at the summit to develop new ways of tackling plastic waste and help Commonwealth countries limit how much plastic ends up in the ocean.

“We are rallying Commonwealth countries to join us in the fight against marine plastic,” May said.

Also Read: Plastic-Eating Enzyme Accidentally Developed By Scientists

“Together we can effect real change so that future generations can enjoy a natural environment that is healthier than we currently find it.”

The statement said environment minister Michael Gove would launch a consultation later this year into the plan to ban the plastic items. It gave no details who the consultation would be with.  VOA

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