Picture above: Herzsprung shield from Fröslunda, analysed within this project.
The project is financed by the Swedish Research Council (2009-1419)
A classic issue has been whether copper was imported to Scandinavia or mined locally during the Bronze Age. Thus, some scholars have favored the import theory, other local extraction.
The aim of this study is to further this discussion. For this purpose, we have carried out lead isotope and chemical analyses of, so far, 33 bronze items, dated between 1600BC and 700BC. Among these are the famous Fröslunda shields and the large scrap hoard from Bräckan and other items from three regions in southern Sweden which are also renowned for their richness in copper ores.
The analytical results show that it is obvious from a comparison that the element and lead isotope compositions of the studied bronze items diverge greatly from those of spatially associated copper ores. Nor is there any good resemblance with other ores from Scandinavia, and it is concluded that the copper used for the bronze items must have been imported from elsewhere. The results furthermore indicate that there are variations in metal supply that are related to chronology, in agreement with other artefacts from Scandinavia as well as from other parts of Europe. This circumstance opens up for a discussion regarding Scandinavia’s role in the maritime exchange systems during the Bronze Age.
In the next phase of the project we are about to analyse 30 additional objects comprising material from eastern part of Sweden, including Mälardalen and other sites, in adjacent ore bearing districts. Coupled to this, a literature survey of published lead isotope data for ore districts in Europe as well as from other regions known to have had trade links with Sweden during the Bronze Age period will be conducted.
Johan Linga, Eva Hjärthner-Holdarb, Lena Grandinb*, Kjell Billströmc and Per-Olof Perssonc
aDepartment of Historical Studies:Archaeology, University of Gothenburg, Box 200, SE-405 30 Göteborg, Sweden, email@example.com
Preliminary results from the project has continuously been presented at seminars and conferences. These comprises specialized international archaeometallurgic conferences as well as seminars for archaeology researches at universities.
This project includes interaction with several international scholars, projects and works dealing with the same topic. Regarding recent lead isotopes analyses in northern Europe, the project has already established contact with Prof. Zofia Stos-Gale in UK and Prof. William O'Brien, at University College Cork, Irland. The project will also cooperate with Institute of Anthropology, Archaeology and Linguistic, Department of Prehistoric Archaeology, University of Aarhus, Denmark, Eurasia-department of the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) & the Free University Berlin, Germany, Deutsches Bergbau-Museum, Bochum & Institute of Archaeological Science, Bochum Uni-versity, Germany, Statens Historiska Museum, Värmlands museum, Arvika Museum samt Göteborgs Stadsmuseum. Through the Comité pour la Sidérurgie Ancienne de l´UISPP, of which Eva Hjärthner-Holdar is a member, GAL has numerous contacts in the circle of archaeometallurgists throughout the world.
At The following scholars will be included in the project’s reference group.
Prof. Helle Vandkilde, University of Aarhus. Prof. William O'Brien, University College, Cork, Irland. Prof Kristian Kristiansen, University of Gothenburg, Prof. Christopher Prescott, University of Oslo. Ph.D sLene Melheim, University of Oslo. Ph.D Peter Northover, Oxford University. Ph.D Ulf Bergström, SGU Gothenburg. Ph.D Per Andersson, environmental geo-chemist, senior research fellow, Laboratory for Isotope Geology at the Swedish Museum of Natural History.