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Archaeology & Anthropology: Open Access

New Insights on Bronze Age Metallurgy in the Eastern Baltic Region: Archeometallurgical Investigations Based on EDXRF And Lead- Isotope

Submission: December 13, 2022; Published: January 05, 2023

DOI: 10.31031/AAOA.2023.04.000608

ISSN: 2577-1949
Volume4 Issue4


In this article, we present archeometallurgical studies of Bronze Age metalwork in Lithuania. Situated on the Eastern Baltic region, Lithuania belongs to the geographical area, which is far away from any metal sources, that have been exploited in the Bronze Age. Yet, the local population required bronze artefacts and metal supply as much as its neighbors. The scarcity of bronze artefacts in the Eastern Baltic raises several questions about the significance of the region during the Bronze Age. However, evidence of metal casting at the fortified hillforts suggests that we may need to reconsider the importance of metal as a raw material. The scope of investigations undertaken here is to ascertain the kind of materials used for the production of bronze artefacts in the Eastern Baltic. In so doing, we apply the Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence (EDXRF) technique, which is used to determine the chemical composition of artefacts to the end of classifying their metallurgical groups. Furthermore, we identify the possible origin of raw materials (deposits) using Pb-isotope analysis as a common practice in order to be able to make statements about trade, import, and or independent production of Bronze Age metal artefacts in the nonmetalliferous region. The interpretations of the results clarify the provenience of copper ores, which were used to produce bronze artefacts in the Eastern Baltic region.

Comparatively, we first studied lead isotope of copper ore deposits in Western Carpathian, Serbia, and the Eastern Alps. Second, we compared lead isotope of bronze artefacts in the same regions. The results indicate that the Western Carpathian and Alpine regions were the principal sources of copper ore used in Lithuania and the Eastern Baltic region. Also, some of the objects from the Late Bronze Age may emanate from Slovakian deposits of the Western Carpathians. We concluded that there are different types of trade and communication such as intraregional, circum-Baltic and interregional connections based on archaeological evidence in the Eastern Baltic region from the Late Bronze Age. We understand metallurgy as a late-emerging sector of the economy driven by innovations such as the development of agriculture and new forms of livestock.

Keywords:Bronze artefacts; Copper ores; Lead isotopes; Chemical composition; Recycling; Import; Trade; Metallurgy; Bronze age economy

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