Showing “no economy of gold at all,” craftsmen shaped each spiral cuff from an entire ingot, study author Bogdan Constantinescu said.
Most of the 2,000-year-old accessories tip the scales at about 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) each, more than some laptops—a heft that materials scientist Paul Craddock found “surprising.”
“Yes,” Craddock concluded, “they did have a lot of gold.”
“They” are the Dacian people, mysterious contemporaries of the ancient Romans. Ruling Transylvania centuries before Bram Stoker dreamed upDracula, the Dacians left behind no writings but, the bracelets suggest, were apparently flush with treasure—as historians have long suspected, given the mineral wealth of the region’s mountains and rivers.
Story: National Geographic | Photo: Mihai Barbu, Reuters