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The origins of metallurgy in central Italy: new radiometric evidence

  • Andrea Dolfini (a1), To the memory of Lawrence Barfield (a1) and Renato Peroni (a1)
Abstract

Precision radiocarbon dating continues to bring historical order into key moments of social and economic change, such as the use of metals. Here the author dates human bone in graves with metal artefacts and shows that copper, antimony and silver were being fashioned into daggers and beads in west central Italy by the early to mid fourth millennium cal BC; but the new-fangled objects had not reached contemporary cemeteries on the other side of the Apennines. We can perhaps look forward to a time when the arrival of metallurgy in Europe is neither diffusionary nor piecemeal, but the result of real historical events and social contacts, mapped for us by radiocarbon.

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