From Galena to Lead: Divergent Paths in Early Metallurgy in the Western Mediterranean
Keywords:Palaeolithic, Neolithic, early metallurgy, technology, provenance, galena, Catalonia, Iberian Peninsula, lead isotope analysis
This paper examines the use of galena, beginning in the Middle Paleolithic, before the onset of metallurgy in the Iberian Peninsula, and shows that it was a well-known raw material during the Neolithic, both in funeral and in household contexts. The identification of probable provenance suggests a non-long distance movement, with the Molar-Bellmunt-Falset mining district in Tarragona as the main source area for extracting this ore since the Palaeolithic. Although southern France and other European regions share a similar use of galena in Neolithic times, each took different approaches to the use of the raw material. In some areas (southern France, Sardinia) lead was used for metal production, while in others (Iberia, continental Italy) it was not. These differences can be explained by different social choices in each region, reinforcing the idea that innovation is not simply a question of technology.
Copyright (c) 2023 Ignacio Montero-Ruiz, Xavier Clop, Manuel Edo, Josep Gallart, Pablo Martínez Rodríguez, Miquel Molist, Andreu Monforte, Mercedes Murillo-Barroso, Teresa Orozco, Nuria Rafel, Xavier Terradas, Josep Vallverdu
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