Amber Alert: The Iberian Imitation Game
Beads recovered from prehistoric burial sites reveal a secret history of counterfeiting
Matthew Hallam | | Quick Read
Amber jewellery was highly valued amongst early humans, and historians have used it to identify those of wealth or status. But not all “amber” found in prehistoric sites is quite what it seems…
Carlos P. Ordiozola and colleagues employed electron probe analysis, infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopy to study amber beads recovered from two Iberian burial sites dated from the 2nd and 3rd millennia BC (1). The team were surprised to find that neither sample produced the characteristic spectra of the Baltic or Sicilian amber traded at that time.
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