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Archaeological science and object biography: a Roman bronze lamp from Kavastu bog (Estonia)

  • Ester Oras (a1) (a2), Thomas F.G. Higham (a3), Lucy J.E. Cramp (a4) and Ian D. Bull (a5)

Objects imported over long distances often have rich biographies, not least a collection of bronze objects found in a peat bog in Estonia that included an elaborate lamp of Roman origin. Combining new scientific approaches with earlier observations and traditional archaeological analysis, the authors reconstruct the provenance, possible itinerary and changing use of the lamp over half a millennium, and across thousands of kilometres. They highlight its variable roles, from luxurious illumination to valuable raw material. The results demonstrate the importance of looking beyond the original time and place of manufacture, and beyond the primary function when constructing the biographies of imported objects.

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