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GOLD, a question.

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    Posted: 16 Sep 2015 at 05:26
When is the earliest record of gold being recognised by man as a valuable commodity?
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wolfhnd View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Sep 2015 at 15:39
Do you mean used in trade or as something treasured because it is shiny as in jewelry? 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Sep 2015 at 13:27
Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

Do you mean used in trade or as something treasured because it is shiny as in jewelry? 

Either one.

It occurred to me that gold and silver, of all of the valuable metals, have been used as both decoration as in jewellery and statuary for many millennia, and as currency more recently.

Did gold attract mans attention while he was trying to produce other metals, such as iron or was there a "Gold Age" sandwiched somewhere between other eras?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Feb 2016 at 11:17
[QUOTE] When is the earliest record of gold being recognised by man as a valuable commodity?[Quote]

I posed this question on 16th Sep last year, and to date have received no replies as such.

Doesn't anyone know the answer?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Feb 2016 at 13:48
Originally posted by toyomotor toyomotor wrote:

[QUOTE] When is the earliest record of gold being recognised by man as a valuable commodity?[Quote]

I posed this question on 16th Sep last year, and to date have received no replies as such.

Doesn't anyone know the answer?

Two other metals or alloys are more interesting and their history is just as murky.  I'm referring to bronze and steal of course.

I recently did a search for the origin of iron and there is little agreement on anything other than it was adopted not because it was superior to bronze but because it was more available than tin.  Gold is pretty widely available and it's use was most likely independently discovered everywhere it exists in visible quantities.

Gold because it does not easily compound with other elements is found in it's pure state making it an obvious choice for early metallurgy.  While there is some evidence for the use of copper in the "New" World gold was widely used in various art forms and gold metallurgy with no evidence that it was a transfered technology.  In the New World however it seems to have only been somewhat highly valued by advanced agrarian societies.  Gold is a fairly useless metal for tools that is until dentistry, advanced chemistry and electronics are introduced. 

The value of things is of course a key element of understanding economics.  Gold is perhaps the ultimate example of supply and demand, it's value being closely tied to it's rarity.

There is some evidence that brightly colored shiny things are innately attractive as seen in Bowerbird nests.  
 

It is reasonable to assume that flowering fruits were as attractive to our ancestors as they are to birds and bees.  Transformation of instinct is little different than changing a fin into a leg.  Not all instincts however are useful just as not all residual physical phenotypes that are expressed are useful.  Evolution does a good job of "weeding out" the "useless" but it isn't perfect.

The instinct to horde is of course useful when a food supply is not constant but in the case of gold it is clearly a perversion.  I think this is best illustrated by people who want to return to a gold standard or think it would be reasonable for trust funds such as social security to be fully funded into the future in the current budget.  As with food wealth cannot be indefinitely stored without artificial preservation.

The value of gold and many other things are social constructs beyond their shiny natural appeal.  There value in not entirely intrinsic but relies on elaborate social reinforcement and in many cases by the enforcement of regulations.  The story of king Midas is therefor as relevant today as it was 3000 years ago but people forget.    
 


Edited by wolfhnd - 16 Feb 2016 at 13:51
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Feb 2016 at 10:23
Wolf:-

Thanks for that. I've found some references which say that gold was recognised as being pretty and different as far back as 4000 years ago. But the references don't specify when it was first recognised as valuable.


Edited by toyomotor - 17 Feb 2016 at 10:24
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2016 at 15:39
horde is what mongol invaders do on the steppes, hoard is where you have a mass of precious metals that you bury in the ground for safe keeping.  Most hoards are not in potential archaeological sites.
You might talk about food hoarding as an activity, but you are not going to find "food hoards" except maybe the seed banks, but that is a recent phenomena.  Oh, also Mormons and their canned goods.

Rule of thumb is that economic bubbles tend to sooner or later, pop, but one way to look at gold is that it is a 4000 year old bubble that is still going strong.  
Toyomotor, look at Egypt and Sumer, if gold was used in art in those early cultures, well one could probably surmise that its value started before that.  Egypt had gold, and I am sure that Sumer had trade contacts that supplied it.  Since gold is found in placer deposits along rivers, gold and its value probably predate civilization.  You don't necessarily need to mine it to get at it.
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