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Dig History and Archaeology Magazine for Kids and Children

Dig History and Archaeology Magazine for Kids and Children July/August 2018

Budding archaeologists are off to new adventures at archaeological sites around the world, where they look over the shoulders of professional archaeologists working in the field to unearth important finds. DIG also brings readers right into working laboratories and museums to learn about cutting-edge conservation techniques. Interviews with onsite archaeologists give children a well-rounded view what archaeology is really all about. Grades 5-9

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United States
Cricket Media, Inc.

in this issue

2 min.
why do we value gold?

What is it about this metal that has driven people to their deaths just in search of it? Why have civilizations through the ages considered it divine and linked it to their gods and goddesses? What is the so-called “gold standard”? Is it still revered today? Is gold used for anything but jewelry or objects that reflect money and wealth? These were the questions swirling in my head as I began research on this issue. I knew the story of Midas and felt it had to be included, no matter what else I found. So, I put it as the lead-in article, but with an addition — there is more than one Midas tale! To follow this article would be the technical article, the one that told readers exactly what…

3 min.
when greed rules

Today, successful performers and business people are often described as having “the Midas touch” because of their ability to make huge profits from their work. After all, how many people would refuse the power to turn everything they touch to gold? Yet, the myth of King Midas is actually a cautionary tale. Which “Midas”? There definitely was more than one King Midas in history. However, the Midas that inspired the myth probably lived during the eighth century B.C.e. According to the fifth-century B.C.e. Greek historian Herodotus, this Midas ruled Phrygia, a land in what is present-day Turkey. Because of his great wealth, he inspired stories that circulated throughout ancient Greece, and later Rome. Probably the best-known version of the story is found in Metamorphosis, a poem written by the Roman writer Ovid and…

4 min.
what is it?

To a chemist, gold is merely a chemical element represented by the symbol Au. These two letters are taken from the Latin noun aurum, which translates into English as “gold.” The composition of this substance makes it a good conductor of heat and electricity and allows it not to tarnish when exposed to air. Pure gold is slightly reddish yellow in color, soft, malleable, and ductile. It has low chemical reactivity. In nature, gold commonly occurs in its native form. Natural gold generally contains traces of silver and may contain traces of copper, palladium, or iron. In rare instances, gold occurs naturally as tellurium compounds or more rarely in chemical compounds with the metals tin, bismuth, or selenium. Gold resists attack from most acids, but dissolves in aqua regia (a…

1 min.

How did the gold in the Universe form? Astronomers recently learned that gold formed in the collisions of neutron stars. This is a type of star that has collapsed until it is only a few miles across. Since Galileo’s first used his telescope in the early 1600s, astronomers have studied the Universe using light. In the 20th century, astronomical observations were made using radio waves, infrared, and other types of waves based on electricity and magnetism. In 2015, gravitational waves, which are traveling distortions of space and time, were detected for the first time. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) has huge equipment in Louisiana and Washington states that can measure distortions that are incredibly small. The first signals were from colliding black holes. Then, in 2018, LIGO picked up…

1 min.
pages of gold

littering crowns, glowing halos, gleaming vines, even G glistening words — all these golden treasures can be found in special book illustrations. These pictures and decorations are called illuminations (see page above from a mid-1400s book). Illuminate means to light up — and centuries ago, real gold was used on the pages of books to make them shine and sparkle. Before the printing press was invented, books were made by hand. Pages came from animal skins, stretched thin and scraped smooth, called parchment. Words were written on the parchment by a scribe, using ink in a pen made from a feather or quill. The scribe left blank spaces on some pages for illustrations. These included decorated margins, big initial letters, and detailed pictures. Next the illuminator carefully added gold to the page.…

5 min.
the divine aspect

Long before gold became equated with a monetary value, people prized it as a symbol of power, prestige, and worthiness. Around the ancient world, people regarded gold as representing excellence and, therefore, without price. Many early civilizations made gold jewelry for the elite to wear for state occasions, ceremonial cups for royal dinners, lavish decorations for palaces and temples, and rich grave goods for high-status burials. All these objects were designed to impress everyone who saw them. Thus, gold’s brilliance and purity came to represent beauty, immortality, youthful health, and overall goodness. An Eternal Symbol Unlike silver and other precious metals, gold resists oxidation, corrosion, and corruption. It is stable and widely distributed around the globe. From early times, gold became a universal emblem. Used to fashion wedding rings, it became and…