Tuesday 14 July 2020

Sicilian amber

Well you learn something every day. Amber is fossilised tree resin, which has been appreciated for its colour and natural beauty since Neolithic times. Here is a Baltic amber pebble with three fossilised flies preserved inside 

For most people, including me until now, the word “amber“ meant Baltic amber. I should have payed more attention to the "science bits" from the Jurassic park 🙂 Amber is actually found all over the world

Not all amber is even "amber" in colour... 

Indonesian amber is blue 

Canadian amber is red 

One of the places where amber is found in Europe is Sicily. It is known as simetite, and is named for the locality where it is found, the mouth of the Simeto river in Catania city, Sicily 

Local amber appears in Sicily in the 4th millennium BC. And at the exactly the same time Sicilan amber also appears in Iberia. Like these beads from Los Millares, Llano de la Sabina, Valle de las Higueras... 

This means that during the 4th millennium BC there was a sea trading route connecting Sicily and Iberia. Is this how the amber beads used to make this dress made of amber and shell beads from the tholos of Montelirio

Basically all amber found in Iberia before the 2nd millennium BC comes from Sicily. It is only during the 2nd millennium BC that we find Baltic amber in Iberia

C = Cretaceous (Iberia) S = Simetite (Sicily) B = Succinite (Baltic)

Now here is the "interesting big": 

Irish oral histories, claim that the first metal workers came to Ireland around 2500 BC from Ghotia via Anatolia, Greece, Sicily, and Iberia. BY SEA. Following the same existing Neolithic, Chalcolithic sea trade route?

We actually have proof of the existence of this sea link between the Balkans and Ireland at the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC...More in these articles about Montenegrian tumuluses 

By the way this is the same trade route later used by the Phoenicians...Who could have been the people in Horse head boats depicted on Bronze Age petroglyphs from the Baltic...Like these ones from Bohuslan, Sweden


  1. I love the whole amber thing, the trade, the art. Very good article.😊

  2. The Nordic boat petroglyphs don't have sails, so it's unlikely they represent Phoenician boats. Similar animal heads appear on earlier neolithic boat petroglyphs too.