Copper exchange at the end of the Bronze Age in western Mediterranean: relationships between the Iberian Peninsula and Sardinia

 

Hacha-lingote procedente de Elche (Alicante).MAN

Copper exchange in the western Mediterranean reflects highly complex patterns between 1500-550BC due to several interactions happening in an area which acted as a crossroad between the Atlantic and the Eastern Mediterranean worlds.

Ox-hide ingots would be an example of this. These ingots of Cypriot origin are abundant in Sardinia but apparently they were not used in the manufacture of nuraghic objects.

Exogenous metals documented in Sardinia whose provenance should be sought in Northern Europe is linked to the current debate in the archaeological science literature on the identification of Sardinia and Iberia as provenance sources of metals in Northern Europe. We have to add to this scenario the possibility that Sardinian copper is also reaching Iberia.

Lingote de cobre procedente de Ibiza (Baleares). MAN

This project have three main goals. On the one hand, we aim to define the way in which these metals exchange were conducted: either as raw metal (ingots) or as finished objects. On the other hand we seek to investigate the different factors which determine the mechanisms of metal exchange between Sardinia and Iberia and between these two areas with the rest of Europe and Eastern Mediterranean. Finally we will explore how commercial circuits were configured in pre-colonial times and how they were modify or potentiate by Phoenicians interests as well as the social changes generated by these contacts.
The main objective is the determination of the provenance of metals by means of archaeometric analyses (elemental composition and lead isotope analysis). Our main focus will be on copper ingots and objects of foreign typology, with a sampling strategy representative enough to answer the questions raised.

Research centres of Spain, Italy and Portugal are involved in this project.