Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-59b7f5684b-vh8gq Total loading time: 0.358 Render date: 2022-09-26T17:10:18.500Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "displayNetworkTab": true, "displayNetworkMapGraph": false, "useSa": true } hasContentIssue true

Article contents

A new interpretative approach to the chemistry of copper-alloy objects: source, recycling and technology

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2015

P.J. Bray
Affiliation:
Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, University of Oxford, Dyson Perrins Building, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QJ, UK (Email: peter.bray@rlaha.ox.ac.uk; mark.pollard@rlaha.ox.ac.uk)
A.M. Pollard
Affiliation:
Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, University of Oxford, Dyson Perrins Building, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QJ, UK (Email: peter.bray@rlaha.ox.ac.uk; mark.pollard@rlaha.ox.ac.uk)

Extract

The metal composition of bronze alloys has been routinely examined as a means of inferring the source of the ore. But bronze is recycled, and the quantity of some components, such as arsenic, is depleted every time the alloy is melted down. Since the Early Bronze Age of the British Isles was largely supplied from a single mine on Ross Island, Co. Kerry, tracking arsenic content shows the number of re-melts and this gives the object a biography and a social context. Applying this ingenious new procedure to their large database, the authors also winkle out other sources of supply and new insights about the technology involved.

Type
Research article
Copyright
Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd. 2012

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Ambert, P. 1991. L’émergence de la métallurgie chalcolithique dans midi de la France. Archéologie en Languedoc 10/11: 5158.Google Scholar
Ambert, P. & Barge-Mahieu, H.. 1991. Les mines préhistoriques de Cabriéres (Herault), in Mohen, J.-P. & Éluére, C. (ed.) Découverte du métal: 259–77. Paris: Picard.Google Scholar
Anderson, C.T. 1930. The heat capacities of arsenic, arsenic trioxide, and arsenic pentoxide at low temperatures. Journal of the American Chemical Society 52: 2296–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Beeley, P. 2001. Foundry technology. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.Google Scholar
Bray, P.J. 2009. Exploring the social basis of technology: re-analysing regional archaeometric studies of the first copper and tin-bronze use in Britain and Ireland. Unpublished PhD dissertation, University of Oxford.Google Scholar
Bray, P.J. In press. Before 29Cu became copper: tracing the recognition and invention of metalleity in Britain and Ireland during the third millennium BC, in Allen, M. (ed.) Is there a British Chalcolithic? People, place and polity in the later 3rd millennium (Prehistoric Society research paper 4). Oakville (CT): The Prehistoric Society.Google Scholar
Britton, D. 1963. Traditions of metalworking in the later Neolithic and Early Bronze Age of Britain: Part 1. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 29: 258325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Budd, P. & Taylor, T.. 1995. The fairie smith meets the bronze industry: magic versus science in the interpretation of prehistoric metal-making. World Archaeology 27: 133–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Budd, P., Haggerty, R., Ixer, R.A., Scaife, B. & Thomas, R.G.. 2000. Copper deposits in south-west England identified as a source of Copper Age metalwork. Available at: http://goodprovenance.com/provenance.html (accessed 17 April 2012).Google Scholar
Burgess, C. 1980. The age of Stonehenge. London: Phoenix Press Google Scholar
Case, H.J. 1954. Studies of Irish and British early copper artefacts: second series. Man 54: 1827.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Charles, J.A. 1980. Recycling effects on the composition of non-ferrous metals. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series A 295: 5768.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Coghlan, H.H. 1970. British and Irish Bronze Age implements in the Borough of Newbury Museum. Newbury: Newbury Museum.Google Scholar
Coghlan, H.H. 1979. Analyses of Bronze Age artefacts from Irish museums. Historical Metallurgy 13: 98105.Google Scholar
Coghlan, H.H. & Case, H.J.. 1957. Early metallurgy of copper in Ireland and Britain. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 23: 91123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Coghlan, H.H. & Cook, M.. 1953. Studies of British and Irish Celts: first series. Man 53: 97101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Copper Development Association. 2011. Annual data 2011. Copper: brass: bronze. Copper supply and consumption 1990-2010. Available at: http://www.copper.org/resources/market data/pdfs/annual data.pdf (accessed 17 April 2012).Google Scholar
Earl, B. & Adriaens, A.. 2000. Initial experiments on arsenical bronze production. Journal of the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society 52: 1416 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Friedman, A.M., Conway, M., Kastner, M., Milsted, J., Metta, D., Fields, P.R. & Olsen, E.. 1966. Copper artifacts: correlation with some types of copper ores. Science 152: 1504–506.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Gowland, W. 1906. Presidential address: copper and its alloys in prehistoric times. Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 36: 1138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hampton, D.F.G., Bennett, P., Brown, D., Lancaster, R., Rice, J.L., Sharp, A.L., Stephens, H.A. & Bidwell, H.T.. 1965. Metal losses in copper-base alloys. The British Foundryman 58: 225–40.Google Scholar
Hodges, H.W.M. 1959. The Bronze Age moulds of the British Isles, Part 1: Scotland and northern England—moulds of stone and clay. Sibrium 4: 129–37.Google Scholar
Hodges, H.W.M. 1960. The Bronze Age moulds of the British Isles, Part 2: England and Wales—moulds of stone and bronze. Sibrium 5: 153–62.Google Scholar
Ixer, R.A. 1999. The role of ore geology and ores in the archaeological provenancing of metals, in Young, S.M.M., Pollard, A.M., Budd, P. & Ixer, R.A. (ed.) Metals in antiquity (British Archaeological Reports international series 792): 4352. Oxford: Archaeopress.Google Scholar
Ixer, R.A. & Budd, P.. 1998. The mineralogy of Bronze Age copper ores from the British Isles: implications for the composition of early metalwork. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 17: 1541.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ixer, R.A. & Pattrick, R.A.D.. 2003. Copper-arsenic ores and Bronze Age mining and metallurgy with special reference to the British Isles, in Craddock, P.T. & Lang, J. (ed.) Mining and metal production through the ages: 920. London: British Museum Press.Google Scholar
Junghans, S., Sangmeister, E. & Schröder, M.. 1960. Metallanalysen kupferzeitlicher und fürhbronzezeitlicher Bodenfunde aus Europa (Studien zu den Anfängen der Metallurgie 1). Berlin: Gebr. Mann.Google Scholar
Junghans, S., Sangmeister, E. & Schröder, M. 1968. Kupfer und Bronze in der frühen Metallzeit (Studien zu den Anfängen der Metallurgie 2). Berlin: Gebr. Mann.Google Scholar
Junghans, S., Sangmeister, E. & Schröder, M. 1974. Kupfer und Bronze in der frühen Metallzeit Europas (Studien zu den Anfängen der Metallurgie 4). Berlin: Gebr. Mann.Google Scholar
Killick, D. 2001. Science, speculation and the origins of extractive metallurgy, in Brothwell, D.R. & Pollard, A.M. (ed.) Handbook of archaeological sciences: 483–92. Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
Krause, R. 2003. Studien zur kupfer- und frühbronzezeitlichen Metallurgie zwischen Karpatenbecken und Ostsee (Vorgeschichtliche Forschungen 24). Rahden: Leidorf.Google Scholar
Krause, R. & Pernicka, E.. 1996. Das neue Stuttgarter Metallanalysenprojekt ‘SMAP’. Archäologisches Nachrichtenblatt 1: 274–91.Google Scholar
Lee, Y.Y., Tseng, H.W., Hsiao, Y.H. & Liu, C.Y.. 2009. Surface oxidation of molten Sn (Ag, Ni, In, Cu) alloys. Journal of the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society 61: 5258.Google Scholar
Merkel, J.F. 1982. Reconstruction of Bronze Age copper smelting, experiments based on archaeological evidence from Timna, Israel. Unpublished PhD dissertation, Institute of Archaeology, University of London.Google Scholar
Mckerrell, H. & Tylecote, R.F.. 1972. Working of copper-arsenic alloys in the Early Bronze Age and the effect on the determination of provenance. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 38: 209–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Müller, R. & Pernicka, E.. 2009. Chemical analyses in archaeometallurgy: a view on the Iberian peninsula, in Kienlin, T.L. & Roberts, B. (ed.) Metals and societies. Studies in honour of Barbara S. Ottaway: 296306. Bonn: Rudolf Habelt.Google Scholar
Needham, S.P. 1983. The Early Bronze Age axeheads of central and southern England. Unpublished PhD dissertation, University College, Cardiff.Google Scholar
Needham, S.P. 1996. Chronology and periodisation in the British Bronze Age, in Randsborg, K. (ed.) Absolute chronology: archaeological Europe 2500-500 BC (Acta archaeologica 67): 121–40.Google Scholar
Needham, S.P. 1998. Modelling the flow of metal in the Bronze Age, in Mordant, C., Pernot, M. & Rychner, V. (ed.) L’atelier du bronzier en Europe du XXe au VIIIe siécle avant notre ére, III: production, circulation et consommation du bronze: 285307. Paris: CTHS.Google Scholar
Needham, S.P. 2002. Analytical implications for Beaker metallurgy in northwest Europe, in Bartelheim, M., Pernicka, E. & Krause, R. (ed.) Die Anfänge der Metallurgie in der alten Welt: 99133. Rahden: Marie Leidorf.Google Scholar
Needham, S.P., Bronk Ramsey, C., Coombs, D., Cartwright, C. & Pettitt, P.. 1997. An independent chronology for British Bronze Age metalwork: the results of the Oxford radiocarbon accelerator programme. Archaeological Journal 154: 55107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Needham, S., Parker Pearson, M., Tyler, A., Richards, M. & Jay, M.. 2010. A first ‘Wessex 1’ date from Wessex. Antiquity 84: 363–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Niedershchlag, E., Pernicka, E., Seifert, T. & Bartelheim, M.. 2003. The determination of lead isotope ratios by multiple collector ICP-MS: a case study of Early Bronze Age artefacts and their possible relation with ore deposits of the Erzgebirge. Archaeometry 45: 61100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Northover, P. 1980. The analysis of Welsh Bronze Age metalwork, in Savory, H. (ed.) Guide catalogue of the Bronze Age collections: 229–43. Cardiff: National Museum of Wales.Google Scholar
Northover, P. 1999. The earliest metalworking in southern Britain, in Hauptmann, A., Pernicka, E., Rehren, T. & Yalcin, U. (ed.) The beginnings of metallurgy (Anschnitt Beiheft 9): 211–26. Bochum: Deutsches Bergbau-Museum.Google Scholar
O’brien, W. 2004. Ross Island. Mining, metal and society in early Ireland. Galway: National University of Ireland.Google Scholar
Ottaway, B.S. 2002. Towards interpretive archaeometallurgy, in Bartelheim, M., Pernicka, E. & Krause, R. (ed.) Die Anfänge der Metallurgie in der alten Welt: 713. Rahden: Marie Leidorf.Google Scholar
Pernicka, E. 1999. Trace element fingerprinting of ancient copper: a guide to technology or provenance, in Young, S.M.M., Pollard, A.M., Budd, P. & Ixer, R.A. (ed.) Metals in antiquity (British Archaeological Reports international series 792): 163–71. Oxford: Archaeopress.Google Scholar
Pickles, C.A. 1998. Selective oxidation of copper from liquid copper-silver alloys. Metallurgical and Materials Transactions B 29: 3951.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rohl, B. & Needham, S.P.. 1998. The circulation of metal in the British Bronze Age: the application of lead isotope analysis. London: British Museum.Google Scholar
Rutland, R.A. & Coghlan, H.H.. 1972. Bronze Age flat axes from Berkshire. Berkshire Archaeological Journal 66: 4559.Google Scholar
Schmidt, P.K. & Burgess, C.B.. 1981. The axes of Scotland and northern England. Munich: C. H. Beck'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung.Google Scholar
Tanahashi, M, Fujinaga, T., Zhijian, S., Takeda, K., Hong Yong, S. & Yamauchi, C.. 2005. Effects of coexisting oxygen and antimony in molten copper on rate of arsenic elimination from the copper phase by the use of Na2CO3 slag. Materials Transactions 46: 2180–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Timberlake, S. 2002. Ancient prospection for metals and modern prospection for ancient mines—the evidence for Bronze Age mining within the Biritish Isles, in Bartleheim, M., Pernicka, E. & Krause, R. (ed.) Die Anfänge der Metallurgie in der alten Welt: 328–57. Rahden: Marie Leidorf.Google Scholar
Timberlake, S. 2003. Excavations on Copa Hill, Cwmystwyth (1986-1999); an Early Bronze Age copper mine within the uplands of central Wales (British Archaeological Reports British series 348). Oxford: Archaeopress.Google Scholar
79
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

A new interpretative approach to the chemistry of copper-alloy objects: source, recycling and technology
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

A new interpretative approach to the chemistry of copper-alloy objects: source, recycling and technology
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

A new interpretative approach to the chemistry of copper-alloy objects: source, recycling and technology
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *