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Evaluating Trace Elements Analysis as a Means to Identify Early Metalworkers
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Archaeological Research Laboratory.
(English)In: International journal of osteoarchaeology, ISSN 1047-482X, E-ISSN 1099-1212Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

This paper presents the results from Flame Atomic absorption spectroscopy Trace elements analyses for lead, zinc and copper in human bone samples from 31 Scandinavian inhumation graves from the Iron Age and Early Medieval Period (c 200-1100 AD). The analyses were undertaken to evaluate the evidences of a possible connection between raised levels of – primarily – skeletal lead and ante mortem exposure during working of non-ferrous metals. The result showed that significantly elevated levels of skeletal lead were present in samples from two individuals whose burials included tools for metalworking whereas a third individual with elevated lead levels had not been buried with any metalworking insignia. Previous studies have connected increased levels of lead with post mortem diagenetic alteration but despite that it is cautiously argued that the increased levels of skeletal lead should rather be seen as a result of involvement in non-ferrous metalworking.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Hoboken.
Keyword [en]
Iron Age, Early Medieval Scandinavia, Flame Atomic absorption spectroscopy, Trace elements analysis, Skeletal lead, Metalworking
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-96061OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-96061DiVA: diva2:663122
Available from: 2013-11-09 Created: 2013-11-09 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Casting Identities in Central Seclusion: Aspects of non-ferrous metalworking and society on Gotland in the Early Medieval Period
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Casting Identities in Central Seclusion: Aspects of non-ferrous metalworking and society on Gotland in the Early Medieval Period
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis has been to investigate and interpret late Iron Ageand Early Medieval traces of non-ferrous metalworking on the islandGotland, Sweden. Gotland was not, based on the archaeological record, anintegrated part of the common Scandinavian culture. Instead a local,endemic cultural expression had developed; a seclusion which lasted forcenturies despite the islands central position in the Baltic Sea. In thepast, key elements for the understanding of local settlement- and burialpractices as well as the local material culture were mainly recovered andreported by local farmers. A specific category of such finds – so-called‘bronze slag’ is discussed and partly reinterpreted in the first study ofthis thesis. Two further studies treat different aspects of metalworkingand metalworkers – one discusses common archaeological notions ofScandinavian workshops, production sites and metalworkers from a criticalperspective while the other mainly focuses on the Gotlandic finds frommetal-detector surveys carried out over the last 35 years. Based on whereand to which extent, both from a quantitative and a qualitative point ofview, these finds occur a hierarchical classification into four sub groupsis presented – ordinary farm sites with traces of non-ferrous metalworking,workshop sites, potential workshop sites and last, extrovert harboursettlements. A fourth study presents an attempt to evaluate the usefulnessof magnetometry in delimiting extant traces of high-temperature crafts,such as metalworking. The last study of the thesis presents an attempt touse trace elements analysis of skeletal lead in human bone to identifypotential non-ferrous metalworkers.

As the wearing of endemic Gotlandic jewellery appears to have been centralin the manifestation of the local identity it is argued that themetalworking artisans played a crucial role in defining how this identitywas signalled and displayed via the jewellery and dress-related metalobjects. It is further suggested that these artisans might have played animportant role in upholding the local economy before the advent of localminting.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Stockholm University, 2013. 175 p.
Series
Theses and papers in scientific archaeology, ISSN 1400-7835 ; 15
Keyword
Archaeometallurgy, Non-ferrous, Archaeological prospection, Metal detection, Geophysical survey, Sweden, Magnetometry, Gotland, Iron Age, Viking Period
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeological Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-95380 (URN)978-91-7447-804-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-12-18, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 5: Manuscript.

Available from: 2013-11-26 Created: 2013-10-28 Last updated: 2013-11-25Bibliographically approved

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