Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

The Neolithic beginnings of metallurgy in the central Mediterranean region

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Andrea Dolfini



This paper discusses the Neolithic beginnings of metal-using and metal-working in the central Mediterranean region. In particular, a basic yet surprisingly long-standing question is addressed: when did metallurgy appear in this region? In the middle Neolithic, as Lawrence Barfield controversially proposed, or in the late Neolithic, as most scholars seem now keen to believe? And if the latter proves true, when exactly can we date its inception considering that the Italian late Neolithic lasted for about 700 years? In the first section of the paper, it will be examined whether some of the most archaic copper axes from this region can be dated to the middle Neolithic (c.5000-4500 cal. BC). In the second section, it will be discussed whether large copper implements including axes circulated south of the Alps in the late/final Neolithic (c.4500-3600 cal. BC), and if these were made locally or were all imported from neighbouring regions where extractive technology was already practised in this time period. In the final section, later developments of Neolithic metallurgy will be briefly expounded, and concluding remarks concerning the social and technological transformation occurred at the transition between Neolithic and Copper Age will be put forward.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dolfini A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Accordia Research Papers

Year: 2013

Volume: 13

Pages: 131-151

Date deposited: 30/03/2015

ISSN (print): 0968-1116

Publisher: The Accordia Research Institute