Project Part 09: Archaeometallurgical and Geochemical Survey of Historic Mining

 

Head:

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ernst Pernicka1, 2

Staff:

Dr. Joachim Lutz2

1Universität Tübingen
Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte und Archäologie des Mittelalters 
Schloss Hohentübingen
D-72070 Tübingen

2Curt Engelhorn-Zentrum Archäometrie gGmbH 
An-Institut der Universität Tübingen
D6, 3
D-68159 Mannheim

Publications PP09

Abstract:

In prehistoric and modern times copper deposits in the Eastern Alps were mined on a large scale. Especially fahlores (tennantite-tetrahedrite) and chalcopyrite ores were mined and smelted and the produced metal was distributed over large distances. The initial phase of extractive metallurgy in the end of the Neolithic and in the Early Bronze Age as well as the comparatively industrial copper production in the Middle and Late Bronze Age are periods of particular importance for archaeometallurgical research. An additional focus of our research is the silver and copper production in the Late Middle Ages up to modern times in the lower Inn valley (region of Schwaz).

The basis of a thorough archaeometallurgical investigation of prehistoric copper-mining sites in the Eastern Alps is a comprehensive mineralogical/geological survey of all known copper deposits in view of their potential for the exploitation in prehistoric periods. In order to perform provenance studies of the metals used and thus trace prehistoric trade routes, it is a prerequisite to obtain mineralogical and geochemical data of the ores and metallurgical remains such as slags.

In addition to the mineralogical and geochemical research of the copper deposits and mining sites and in order to assess their possible exploitation for metal production, it is necessary to investigate contemporaneous archaeological and historic metal artifacts. This requires metallurgical, chemical and isotopic analyses of archaeological metal objects from throughout the East Alpine region and from prehistoric up to medieval sites.

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