Kiss(2020): Transformations of Metal Supply during the BA in the Carpathian Basin

Miscellanea Archaeology & Prehistory Kiss(2020): Transformations of Metal Supply during the BA in the Carpathian Basin

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    Carlos QuilesCarlos Quiles
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    Transformations of Metal Supply during the Bronze Age in the Carpathian Basin, by Viktória Kiss, Hungarian Historical Review 9, no. 2 (2020): 315–330.

    Relevant excerpts (emphasis mine):

    The metalwork of the Bell Beaker culture (around 2500 BC), which began to emerge at the dawn of the European Bronze Age, is an important research topic, mainly because artifacts used by these communities were the first metal objects in the western part of Europe. On the basis of the available data, scholars outlined a uniform metal type, the so-called Bell Beaker metal, which consisted of 98% copper with arsenic, antimony, and nickel impurities.7 A selection of 1,943 trace element analyses of copper finds from the material of Central European communities (southern and central Germany, Bohemia, Moravia, and the Carpathian Basin) used between 4500 and 2000 BC resulted in a picture which differed from the western European Bell Beaker metal: the artifacts were categorized into 13 different groups. According to the compositional analyses, 65 of the 80 eastern Bell Beaker objects were made of tin-rich or fahlore coppers with varying impurities (antimony, arsenic, silver) and a small (less than 4%) amount of tin. The various dominant elements suggest that there was no uniform Bell Beaker metal in this region.
    Prehistoric copper mining regions associated with Ösenring metal type (from Höppner et al. “Prehistoric copper production,”, Figure 7.

    Elemental composition data of the next period prove that the most widespread raw material of the Central European Early Bronze Age (from 2100 BC; contemporaneous with the 3rd phase of the Early Bronze Age and the Middle Bronze Age in Hungary) was the so-called Ösenring metal, the characteristic fahlore type of the neck rings. The latter copper, which contained silver, arsenic, and antimony impurities, has been associated with ore occurrences in the triangle of the Eastern Alps, Slovakia, and the Czech-Saxon Ore Mountain range based on the distribution area of the mentioned neck rings. Lead isotope tests which were used to arrive at more accurate determinations of provenance indicate that the raw material of these artifacts derived from the Slovak region.

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