Picture above: Herzsprung shield from Fröslunda, analysed within this project.
This project is financed by the Swedish Research Council (2009-1419)
A classic issue has been whether copper was imported to Scandinavia or mined locally during the Bronze Age. Some scholars favour the import theory while others prefer the idea of local extraction.
The aim of this study is to further this discussion. For this purpose, we have carried out lead isotope and chemical analyses of, to date, 33 bronze items dated between 1600BC and 700BC. Among these are the famous Fröslunda shields, the large scrap hoard from Bräckan and other items from three regions in southern Sweden which are also renowned for their richness in copper ores.
The analytical results show that it is obvious from a comparison that the element and lead isotope compositions of the studied bronze items diverge greatly from those of spatially associated copper ores. Nor is there any good resemblance with other ores from Scandinavia, it is therefore concluded that the copper used for the bronze items must have been imported from elsewhere. The results furthermore indicate that there are variations in metal supply that are related to chronology, in agreement with other artefacts from Scandinavia as well as from other parts of Europe. These circumstances opens up a discussion regarding Scandinavia's role in maritime exchange systems during the Bronze Age.
In the next phase of the project we are about to analyse 30 additional objects comprising material from the eastern part of Sweden, including Mälardalen and other sites in adjacent ore bearing districts. Coupled to this, a literature survey of published lead isotope data for ore districts in Europe and other regions known to have had trade links with Sweden during the Bronze Age period will be conducted.
Johan Linga, Eva Hjärthner-Holdarb, Lena Grandinb*, Kjell Billströmc and Per-Olof Perssonc
aDepartment of Historical Studies:Archaeology, University of Gothenburg, Box 200, SE-405 30 Göteborg, Sweden, firstname.lastname@example.org
Preliminary results from the project have frequently been presented at seminars and conferences. These include specialized international archaeometallurgic conferences as well as seminars for archaeology researchers at universities.
This project involves several international scholars, projects and works dealing with the same topic. For instance the project Forging Identities: the Mobility of Culture in Bronze Age Europe. A Marie Curie training networks project. (www.forging-identities.com). Regarding recent lead isotopes analyses in Northern Europe, the project has already established contact with Prof. Zofia Stos-Gale in UK and Prof. William O'Brien, at University College Cork, Ireland. The project will also cooperate with the Institute of Anthropology, Archaeology and Linguistics, Department of Prehistoric Archaeology, University of Aarhus, Denmark, the Eurasia-department of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) & the Free University Berlin, Germany, Deutsches Bergbau-Museum, Bochum & Institute of Archaeological Science, Bochum Uni-versity, Germany, Statens Historiska Museum, Värmlands museum, Arvika Museum samt Göteborgs Stadsmuseum. Through the Comité pour la Sidérurgie Ancienne de l´UISPP, of which Eva Hjärthner-Holdar is a member, GAL has numerous contacts in the circle of archaeometallurgists throughout the world.
The following scholars will be included in the project’s reference group.
Prof. Helle Vandkilde, University of Aarhus. Prof. William O'Brien, University College, Cork, Irland. Prof Kristian Kristiansen, University of Gothenburg, Prof. Christopher Prescott, University of Oslo. Ph.D sLene Melheim, University of Oslo. Ph.D Peter Northover, Oxford University. Ph.D Ulf Bergström, SGU Gothenburg. Ph.D Per Andersson, environmental geo-chemist, senior research fellow, Laboratory for Isotope Geology at the Swedish Museum of Natural History.
Box 200, 405 30 GÖTEBORG,
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