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Where can I find an approximate chart of total mass of metallic gold in possession of humans by centuries starting with Neolithic?

I also would like to see this detailed by civilization/culture.

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I don't know if such a chart exists, but I'd love to see it too! –  Joe Nov 16 '12 at 6:00
    
OK, we know who the alien invaders in our midst are now. –  RI Swamp Yankee Nov 16 '12 at 12:34
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How is this answerable??? Starting with the Neolithic?! –  American Luke Nov 16 '12 at 13:46

1 Answer 1

The wonderful thing about gold is that it is completely indestructible and imperishable. The gold we see today is the same gold that existed bilions of years ago. The same goes for silver. Even though gold has a boiling point, the vapor created is still gold.

A count of gold in possession by humans would be impossible. There have been large ships of gold that have sank to the bottom of the ocean during the Spanish Conquests for example. Also, such chart would require that every human possesing gold throughout the history of the world would have had to reveil it. Humans are fallible and have their own thoughts, so there is a very likely chance that a lot of these gold census reports, if such reports even existed, lack a few people due to them not wanting to participate.

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Exactly my thoughts. There is no possible way to get any real numbers. –  American Luke Nov 19 '12 at 2:58
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I think it can be safely assumed that the portion of gold possessed by private persons now is a tiny portion of that possessed by states and banks which is counted by hundreds of tons. Even if somebody has much gold, he is likely to store it in a bank. I think this was the case for ancient ages as well. The gold was stored in the temples and in the king's treasury. –  Anixx Nov 19 '12 at 5:05
    
The amount of gold in possession of ancient civilizations can be found by excavating the graves. –  Anixx Nov 19 '12 at 5:10
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Excavation of graves only measures the gold in possession of ancient civilizations that didn't get stolen/inherited/sold to modern civilizations, and doesn't measure graves that haven't been discovered/excavated. Thus it is a small fraction. –  Mark C. Wallace Nov 19 '12 at 18:26

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