Beyond Provenance

New Approaches to Interpreting the Chemistry of Archaeological Copper Alloys

Edited by Mark Pollard

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Human intentionality in chemical patterns in Bronze Age metals

For the last 180 years, scientists have been attempting to determine the ‘provenance’ (geological source) of the copper used in Bronze Age artefacts. However, despite advances in analytical technologies, the theoretical approach has remained virtually unchanged over this period, with the interpretative methodology only changing to accommodate the increasing capacity of computers. This book represents a concerted effort to think about the composition of Bronze Age metal as the product of human intentionality as well as of geology. It considers the trace element composition of the metal, the alloying elements, and the lead isotopic composition, showing how a combination of these aspects, along with archaeological context and typology, can reveal much more about the life history of such artefacts, expanding considerably upon the rather limited ambition of knowing where the ore was extracted.

Beyond Provenance serves as a ‘how-to handbook’ for those wishing to look for evidence of human intentionality in the chemical patterning observed in bronzes.

Ebook available in Open Access.
This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).

Table of Contents

Chapter 1
Previous Approaches to the Chemistry and Provenance of Archaeological Copper Alloys 

Chapter 2
Developing a New Interpretative Framework 

Chapter 3
Legacy Datasets and Chemical Data Quality 

Chapter 4
Trace Elements and ‘Copper Groups’ 

Chapter 5
Alloying Elements and ‘Alloy Types’ 

Chapter 6
Lead Isotope Data from Archaeological Copper Alloys

Chapter 7
The FLAME GIS-Database 

Chapter 8
Summary: Beyond Provenance? 


Bibliography of Sources of Chemical and Isotopic Data Used in the FLAME Database 


Format: Edited volume - free ebook - PDF

234 pages

full colour

ISBN: 9789461662668

Publication: November 20, 2018

Series: Studies in Archaeological Sciences 6

Languages: English


Mark Pollard is Edward Hall Professor of Archaeological Science at the Research Laboratory for Archaeology, School of Archaeology, University of Oxford, and PI on the ERC Advanced Grant ‘FLAME’.