British Early Bronze Age gold has traditionally been dominated by the splendid antiquarian finds from Wessex. This dominance is illusory, based on historically benevolent conditions of survival and preferential recovery through antiquarian barrow digging. Recent decades have seen the steady rise of a range of Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age gold artefacts from a wide geographical spread; meanwhile, new finds within Wessex have been at an all time low, the Amesbury Archer and his Companion being exceptions. Our paper will draw attention to selected new finds and the significant re-dating of others to illustrate crucial changes in perspective on the distribution and modes of utilisation of gold during the period. We will also point to important compositional changes that question the past assumption that all early gold originated in Ireland. Further questions will be asked of the value of defining a ‘Wessex’ goldworking tradition.
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