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Physical barriers, cultural connections: Prehistoric metallurgy across the Alpine region

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Andrea Dolfini



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


This paper considers the early copper and copper-alloy metallurgy of the entire Alpine region. It introduces a new approach to the interpretation of chemical composition data sets, which has been applied to a comprehensive regional database for the first time. The Alpine Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age each have distinctive patterns of metal use, which can be interpreted through changes in mining, social choice, and major landscape features such as watersheds and river systems. Interestingly, the Alpine range does not act as a north-south barrier, as major differences in composition tend to appear on an east-west axis. Central among these is the prevalence of tin-bronze in the western Alps compared to the east. This ‘tin-line’ is discussed in terms of metal flow through the region and evidence for a deeply rooted geographical division that runs through much of Alpine prehistory.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Perucchetti L, Bray P, Dolfini A, Pollard AM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Journal of Archaeology

Year: 2015

Volume: 18

Issue: 4

Pages: 599-632

Print publication date: 01/11/2015

Online publication date: 16/03/2015

Acceptance date: 27/01/2015

Date deposited: 01/03/2016

ISSN (print): 1461-9571

ISSN (electronic): 1741-2722

Publisher: Maney Publishing


DOI: 10.1179/1461957115Y.0000000001


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