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Bronze Age Metalwork: Techniques and traditions in the Nordic Bronze Age 1500-1100 BC by Heide W. Nørgaard. Paperback; 205x290mm; xii+502 pages; 290 figures (244 plates in colour). 474 2018. Available both in print and Open Access. Printed ISBN 9781789690194. £85.00 (No VAT). Epublication ISBN 9781789690200. Book contents pageDownload

Bronze ornaments of the Nordic Bronze Age (neck collars, belt plates, pins and tutuli) were elaborate objects that served as status symbols to communicate social hierarchy. The magnificent metalwork studied here dates from 1500-1100 BC. An interdisciplinary investigation of the artefacts was adopted to elucidate their manufacture and origin, resulting in new insights into metal craft in northern Europe during the Bronze Age. Based on the habitus concept, which situates the craftsmen within their social and technological framework, individual artefact characteristics and metalworking techniques can be used to identify different craft practices, even to identify individual craftsmen. The conclusions drawn from this offer new insights into the complex organisation of metalcraft in the production of prestige goods across different workshops. Several kinship-based workshops on Jutland, in the Lüneburg Heath and Mecklenburg, allow us to conclude that the bronze objects were a display of social status and hierarchy controlled by, and produced for, the elite – as is also seen in the workshops on Zealand. Within the two main metalworking regions, Zealand and central Lower Saxony, workshops can be defined as communities of practice that existed with an extended market and relations with the local elite. Attached craft, in the sense that the craftspeople fully depended on a governing institution and produced artefacts as a manifestation of political expression, was only detected on Zealand between 1500-1300 BC.

The investigation presented here showed that overall results could not be achieved when concentrating only on one aspect of metalwork. Highly skilled craft is to be found in every kind of workshop, as well as an intensive labour input. Only when considering skill in relation to labour input and also taking into account signs of apprenticeship and cross-craft techniques, as well as the different categories of mistakes in crafting, can a stable image of craft organisation be created.

About the Author
HEIDE W. NØRGAARD is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies at the University of Aarhus, Denmark, where she graduated and received her PhD in 2014. With the background as an educated goldsmith, she is working with metal artefacts trying to solve craft technical problems from the Bronze to the early Iron Ages in Northern Europe. Heide W. Nørgaard is currently working on reconstructing the earliest metal trading routes towards Scandinavia, based on over 500 lead isotope analysis of the first half of the 2nd millennium BC.
The Classification of Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age Copper and Bronze Axe-heads from Southern Britain by Stuart Needham. 74 pages; illustrated throughout in black & white with 3 plates in colour. 43 2017. Available both in print and Open Access. Printed ISBN 9781784917401. £22.00 (No VAT). Epublication ISBN 9781784917418. Download

This work presents a comprehensive classification of the morphology of early metal age axe-heads, chisels and stakes from southern Britain. It is illustrated by a type series of 120 representative examples.

Despite their relative simplicity, flat and early flanged axes from Britain and Ireland show considerable diversity in form. The main variation lies in outline shapes and the classification scheme arrived at therefore depends on careful evaluation of condition, followed by rigorous analysis of shape using metrical ratios. This ensures objectivity in both the formulation of the scheme and future object attributions, for which guidelines are given. Comparative material in northern Britain and Ireland is systematically referred to and a few crucial Continental parallels noted. Hoards and other associated finds, essential in underpinning the chronology, are cited throughout.

The style sequence outlined spans nine centuries of evolution, a regional trajectory which was nevertheless inextricably tied to axe developments in northern Britain, Ireland and, to a lesser extent, the near Continent. While technological advance is apparent at the broad scale, this was not the sole driver of the style changes taking place.

The study will be indispensable for those researching early metalwork, those concerned with European Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age cultures and those interested in patterns of style-cum-technological development.

About the Author
Stuart Needham specialised in metalwork in his early career and has since diversified to cover many aspects of the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age of north-west Europe, involving themes such as deposition practices, metal circulation systems, periodisation, life- and refuse-cycles of material culture, exchange systems, maritime interactions and alluvial archaeology. Further publications have emanated from excavations at Runnymede Bridge and Ringlemere. A curator at the British Museum for thirty years before becoming an independent researcher, he co-founded the Bronze Age Forum in 1999 and delivered the Rhind lectures for the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in 2011. He is currently Research Director of the People of the Heath project investigating Early Bronze Age barrows in the Rother Valley of East Hampshire and West Sussex.

Early Iron Age metal circulation in the Arabian Peninsula: the oasis of Tayma as part of a dynamic network (poster) Taken from Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 46 (2016) by Martina Renzi, Andrea Intilia, Arnulf Hausleiter & Thilo Rehren. Pages 237-246.Download

The oasis of Tayma, located in north-western Arabia, between the Hijaz mountains and the great Nafud desert, was strategically situated on one of the branches of the main trade routes that connected southern Arabia and the Mediterranean Sea during the first millennium BC. During archaeological excavations at this site — a project carried out by a Saudi Arabian-German team — an architectural complex of public character dated to the Early Iron Age (eleventh–ninth centuries BC) was investigated in Area O, in the southwestern section of the ancient settlement. Among other finds, a significant concentration of luxury goods (i.e. objects made of ivory, wood, bone, and faïence) was discovered there, together with a few iron and several copper-based artefacts. Of this assemblage, fifty-eight copper-based objects have been analysed by portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF), while sixteen have undergone trace element and lead isotope analyses. The objects chosen to be analysed included everyday items, such as rivets and fragments of rods, three small metal lumps, and a bracelet. The data on their elemental composition and lead isotope signatures combined to indicate that different metal sources were used, suggesting the existence of a highly dynamic metal trade in the wider region during the Early Iron Age. The full volume is available in paperback here.
The Boudica Code: recognising a 'symbolic logic' within Iron Age material culture Taken from Landscapes and Artefacts: Studies in East Anglian Archaeology Presented to Andrew Rogerson by John Davies. 27-34.Download

The material culture of the Iceni carries a wealth of imagery and symbols. It is apparent that a number of these representations were repeatedly chosen and, by implication, that they carried meaning for the Iceni. The deep significance of symbols and imagery in material culture can be observed in relation to other tribal societies, such as the plains Indians of North America, whose objects of everyday use possessed deep symbolic importance to them.

This paper is taken from Landscapes and Artefacts: Studies in East Anglian Archaeology Presented to Andrew Rogerson edited by Steven Ashley and Adrian Marsden, Archaeopress 2014. Click on the PDF to read the full paper online, or download to your device. The full volume is available in paperback here.
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