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Multidisciplinary approaches to ancient tin research. 

Multidisciplinary approaches to ancient tin research. 

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Conference Paper
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The northwestern Iberian Peninsula has been well known for its mineral wealth since classical times, including for gold and for tin. In fact, the Iberian tin belt is the largest in western Europe (covering an area of c.200,000 km2), containing tin deposits that were accessible from ancient times. Nevertheless, few archaeological studies have been d...

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Context 1
... records on ancient tin mining, The Early Tin Iberian Group was formed in 2010 as a synergy between researchers from several institutions in Spain, Portugal and France, sharing an interest for tin in antiquity. Being an interdisciplinary group it aims to broaden the study of ancient tin in North West Iberia in a variety of directions ( Fig. 1), such as documentary research, archaeometallurgical analysis and fi eld survey to recognise ancient mining works and sample cassiterite, relying on the expertise of each researcher and institution. The group also integrates ethnological data to generate interpretative models and perform experiments with the aim of producing tin and ...
Context 2
... developed; nevertheless, the presence of tin slags has now been confi rmed. The results even show some similarities with the Centum Cellas examples (see above; Merideth 1996): the tin content varies considerably although is frequently upwards of ~30%, and the signifi cant percentages of the elements niobium, titanium and tantalum are also present (Fig. 10), which are common occurrences in cassiterite from the Iberian tin ...
Context 3
... resulting list was used to prepare a map (Fig. 11), which presents the recorded mining sites, distinguishing the ancient ones from the modern or undated ones. 7 The wide, spatial spread of tin mining works is notable, despite the empty zones that result from the limitations of geological surveys. Another point of interest is the known location of ancient works in many areas, despite ...
Context 4
... of tin. All the experiments were conducted in small-scale open fi re structures, as a small pit dug into the ground. Fluxes were never added, and in some cases clay crucibles were used, while in others the reduction was made directly at the bottom of the pit. Two bellows were always used, with the tuyeres directed to the centre of the pit (Fig. 12). Variations in the bellows design, size and depth of the pit were included in some of the ...

Citations

... These areas suffer from a process of changing needs since these soils and the materials that grow on them have allowed for other soils, the so-called fertile ones, to be used for centuries, even millennia, which is why people from Minho can still work on these lands. The occupation of the territory that today is the municipality of Guimarães comes from the most remote prehistoric times, but the kind of practices to which the populations dedicated themselves to ensure their subsistence, given the lack of archaeological records, cannot be determined with certainty [69][70][71]. In the period corresponding to the Bronze Age, the archaeological records are much more detailed, indicating complex and organized settlements, such as the one identified at the archaeological station of Penha [72]. ...
Article
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The occupation of a territory combines a set of variables which affect the development of the mode by which populations have been organized throughout history. How this occupation takes place demonstrates much of a territory’s past and shows how the populations managed to make the most out of the available resources. The region of Entre-Douro-e-Minho (Northern Portugal), similarly to what happens in other regions, such as Galicia (Northern Spain), Brittany (Northern France), or Ireland, presents a type of dispersed land use, with an alternation of urban, agriculture, and forest areas. On one hand, this proximity allows urban populations to come into contact with a rural environment. On the other hand, this proximity also causes a set of problems, namely those related to rural fires, which are now enhanced by climate change, and associated phenomena, such as heatwaves and the lack of precipitation. The present work analyzes the evolution of rural fires in 1975–2019, in the municipality of Guimarães (Northern Portugal), to understand how these events have been distributed over time and evolved in a climate change scenario. Based on the results and discussion presented, it can be concluded that there is an increasing trend in the occurrence of rural fires in the territory under study, and that this can also be associated to climate change, in the form of a gradual increment in temperature, particularly in the autumn months, and a decrease in rainfall. This situation is responsible for the increment of the risk caused by the proximity of the populations to forest and agricultural areas because rural fires can jeopardize the safety of people and goods.
... Alrededor del cambio de era, Estrabón recoge en su Geografía una descripción de las islas Casitérides. Según este texto, se trata de diez islas, una de ellas deshabitada y las otras pobladas por ganaderos que proponen estaño y pieles a 2 Comendador Rey et al. 2016;Comendador Rey et al. 2017. 3 Meunier 2011. ...
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Se propone aquí una primera síntesis de los datos disponibles acerca de la producción antigua de estaño en el Noroeste ibérico. Desde los autores griegos y latinos hasta los informes de los ingenieros de minas contemporáneos, pasando por los tratados de la Ilustración, la información es muy diversa. Los datos arqueológicos son los más escasos. El catálogo de minas obtenido con esta revisión bibliográfica permite darse cuenta del potencial de la región para la producción de estaño entre la Edad del Bronce y el periodo Romano. La escasez de datos cronológicos precisos pone sin embargo de manifiesto la necesidad de investigaciones de campo. Terminamos con una propuesta sobre el papel que esta producción pudo tener en las sociedades del Noroeste, en base a los datos reunidos. La base de datos completa del catálogo de sítios con sus respectivas referencias bibliográficas se pueden descargar como anexo a esta dirección: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02871961
Article
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A multidisciplinary approach has been applied to investigate the production technology of a collection of copper-based artefacts found during archaeological excavation campaigns carried out in the Almohad neighbourhood of Mārtulah, the Islamic name of modern Mértola (South of Portugal). In stark contrast to other Islamic materials found in the same site such as common and finely decorated pottery, glass, and bone artefacts, metal objects have received less attention despite the high number of artefacts recovered. This study focuses on the chemical characterisation of 171 copper-based artefacts dating back to the 12th and the first half of the thirteenth centuries. The artefacts are daily use objects and consist of personal ornaments (earrings, rings, and casket ornaments), tools (spindles, spatulas, and oil lamp sticks) and artefacts with unknown functions. The analytical results by X-ray fluorescence Spectroscopy (XRF) provided information not only about technological issues but infer as well on the socio-economic implications of metal consumption in Islamic Mértola. Results revealed that metals were produced using a variety of Cu-based alloys, namely unalloyed copper, brasses (Cu + Zn), bronzes (Cu + Sn), and red brasses (Cu + Sn + Zn), with a variable concentration of Pb, without any apparent consistency, as a likely result of recurrent recycling and mixing scrap metals practices or use of mineral raw materials available locally.
Article
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Northwest Iberia can be considered as one of the main areas where tin was exploited in antiquity. However, the location of ancient tin mining and metallurgy, their date and the intensity of tin production are still largely uncertain. The scale of mining activity and its socio-economical context have not been truly assessed, nor its evolution over time. With the present study, we intend to present an integrated, multiscale, multisensor and interdisciplinary methodology to tackle this problem. The integration of airborne LiDAR and historic aerial imagery has enabled us to identify and map ancient tin mining remains on the Tinto valley (Viana do Castelo, northern Portugal). The combination with historic mining documentation and literature review allowed us to confirm the impact of modern mining and define the best-preserved ancient mining areas for further archaeological research. After data processing and mapping, subsequent ground-truthing involved field survey and geological sampling that confirmed cassiterite exploitation as the key feature of the mining works. This non-invasive approach is of importance for informing future research and management of these landscapes.
Article
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During the last quarter of a century, progress on the understanding of metallurgical practices of the Baiões / Santa Luzia cultural group of Central Portugal produced results that allowed us to better understand and characterize a fundamental cultural group of the Iberian Late Bronze Age (LBA). However, the study of the foundry moulds lacks a convenient interpretive synthesis. The discovery of a new exemplar of metallic mould for single-faceted palstaves – one of the types that characterize Central Portugal LBA metallurgy – creates the opportunity to, starting with its archaeometallurgical characterization, produce an overview of Baiões / Santa Luzia moulds and foundry procedures, namely for the palstaves moulds that, until now, are mostly known in the area of this cultural group.
Article
During the last quarter of a century, progress on the understanding of metallurgical practices of the Baiões / Santa Luzia cultural group of Central Portugal produced results that allowed us to better understand and characterize a fundamental cultural group of the Iberian Late Bronze Age (LBA). However, the study of the foundry moulds lacks a convenient interpretive synthesis. The discovery of a new exemplar of metallic mould for single-faceted palstaves – one of the types that characterize Central Portugal LBA metallurgy – creates the opportunity to, starting with its archaeometallurgical characterization, produce an overview of Baiões / Santa Luzia moulds and foundry procedures, namely for the palstaves moulds that, until now, are mostly known in the area of this cultural group.