HOW DID THEY DO THAT 2700 YEARS AGO? Were the boars made by
hammering gold into a mold carved into stone? Shaping raw gold
into that many exact pieces would be impossible to do without some
If the objects are not entirely 3-dimensional, chasing sheet into a
carved pattern in stone (repousse) was probably exactly how they did
it. Ancient metalsmithing and lapidary work are interests of mine.
Some of the finest metalsmiths in the New World were the Moche who
lived in coastal Peru until their farmlands were washed away in an El
Nino event many hundreds of years ago.
The Moche duplicated many gold, silver and pottery objects with very
clever molds. They were able to do virtual production-line work using
repousse, as were the Egyptians and probably many other cultures back
to far antiquity. Goldsmithing became sophisticated at a very early
It=92s possible the items were cast. Casting using beeswax for
models, mud or clay for investment and a muscle-operated centrifugal
casting sling =93machine=94 goes back far beyond written historical
records. My little library is in chaos at the moment due to interior
painting but I have a book on Scythian gold that might explain more
when I can locate it.
I=92ve often wondered just how the notion of casting occurred to the
earliest artisan. It=92s possible some observant person noticed a
footprint or other recognizable indentation in the dirt filled with
water, then frozen into ice the next morning, leaving a =93casting.=94=
Most Bronze-Age axes, like the one carried by the 5300-year-old
Iceman =93Otzi=94 found in the Italian glacier, were cast in stone mol=
Casting is a very ancient craft.