Exploring the course of metals between the Sardinian Bronze Age and Iberia. New data from Monte Sa Idda hoard provenance studies

Valera, Paolo;
2019

Abstract

The hoard of Monte Sa Idda (Decimoputzu, Cagliari), is one of the classic metal hoards of Nuragic archaeology in Sardinia (Taramelli 1921). The hoard was uncovered with all its goods grouped into a large pottery container, and located within a Nuragic building. It was composed of over three hundred artefacts, most of them fragmentary, which are characteristic of the Late Bronze Age period in Sardinia. In addition, some of the represented objects within this hoard are usually related with Iberian typologies as, for example, the Sa Idda swords. Furthermore, other Iberian artefacts have been also connected within Sa Idda¿s types like the wax-lost handles. The present study focuses on a group of 11 copper-based artefacts recovered from this hoard and are composed of six copper ingots, one socketed axe, one ferrule, one dagger and two swords. The applied methodology consisted of elemental analysis performed by a pXRF and lead isotope analysis (LIA) performed by MC-ICP-MS in the Frankfurt Laboratory (Klein et al. 2009). The main goal of this research is to approach the provenance of these metal artefacts and, if possible, relate them to the original ore source. Results show that six objects and ingots present isotopic coincidences with three different Iberian copper ore areas and the remaining five artefacts can be related with local Sardinian minerals. These results, in combination with other lead isotopic results from Late Bronze Age metal artefacts in Iberia and also in the Balearic Islands, permit us to reconstruct the trade dynamics that would have connected the Iberian Peninsula and Sardinia during this period. Thus, this information seems to be relevant for a better understanding of the hoarding practices, and also to follow Late Bronze Age metal trade courses in the Central and Western Mediterranean.
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