A recent article in Archaeology Magazine details recent work by David Peterson (Idaho State U) on a remarkable example of depletion gilding on a pendant from the Late Bronze Age site of Spiridonovka II on the Eurasian steppe.
“Evidence of depletion gilding at this time in this area is a big surprise and stands to greatly impact our understanding of the technical sophistication of Srubnaya pastoralists,” says Peterson. “A kind of technological sleight of hand or dissembling was used in covering the copper ornaments with a very thin gold and silver foil, and then altering the surface to make it look more like pure gold, a strong indication of the high valuation of gold.”
More on Peterson’s discovery here: Ancient Alchemy? – Archaeology Magazine.