31st International Symposium on Archaeometry Budapest, 27 April 1 May 1998

Techniques applied to decoration of bronze artifacts from Late Bronze Age of Burgundy (France)

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7. Techniques applied to decoration of bronze artifacts from Late Bronze Age of Burgundy (France)

Barbara Armbruster, Michel Pernot

UMR Achéologie de la Bourgogne, Université de Bourgogne, Dijon, 6, boulevard Gabriel F-21 000

This paper aims to give some results coming from an archaeometallurgical research project recently started, studying two technological aspects of bronze objects from Late Bronze Age to "Gallo-Roman" times. The first concerns the forming processes, the second is related to decoration techniques. The contribution focuses on the questions related to the manufacturing techniques and tools used for decoration. Decoration may have been executed by plastic deformation (tracing, repoussé, punching, stamping) or by cutting off metal (engraving, chiselling, spinning, abrasives). For understanding necessities and cultural choice as well as technological changes, it is important to find characteristic features for distinguishing the two techniques. Special interest lies on the execution of incised ornaments on sheet as well as on massive bronze objects, with incisions having mostly a linear traces of geometric design.

The Late Bronze Age hoards of Burgundy are rich in sets of exceptional quality. Some examples will be selected for the presentation of technological details. Various groups of decorated objects are associated in the hoard of Blanot (Cote-d'Or). Predominantly techniques of plastic deformation can be studied on flasks, vessels, bracelets, rings and other jewellery. The hoard of Villethierry (Yonne) includes pins with decorated massic head, worked by spinning on a lathe. A set of tools, used in decoration of metal work was found in the hoard of Génélard (Saone-et-Loire). The study aims to find features in tool marks determining and distinguishing the mentioned operations of the metal worker.

The technological information was obtained by the study of Burgundian bronze artifacts, combining optical observation for the identification of tool marks, metallographic examination, X-ray photography and metal analyses. Ethnoarchaeological and experimental studies were also considered. A multidisciplinary approach in the study of ancient metallurgy and metalwork is proposed.

8. Alanian sites of the 1st mil. A.D. in the North Caucasus. Their topography, building technique and geological evaluation

Arzhantseva, Irina

University of Moscow Fac. of History, Archaeological Dept. 1 Tverskoi Iamskoi Pereulok 14-19 125047 Moscow, Russia

A series of heterochronous Alanian settlements of the 1st -early 2nd millennia A.D. have been singled out as standard sites for the present study. The Alans formed a powerful union of Iranian-speaking tribes that played an important role in the North Caucasus and Southern Russia at the time. While Alanian burial sites have been well studied, their settlements have been neglected. Besides traditional archaeological investigation, geo-archaeological research has been undertaken. Since the majority of the said sites are fortified towns on mountain ridges, the making of large-scale topographic maps pinpointing all visible building remains is of primary importance. We succeeded in mapping fortified towns of Kiafar, Gornoe Ekho, and Achipse using the method of all-round measuring of relief alterations. The method in many cases has proved to be more effective than the aerial photograph and has enabled us to evaluate the pattern of the sites in question, while the aerial photographs are useless, if a site is afforested or its relief too complicated.

We have also examinated building materials and their origin. Special attention paid to the building technique has enabled us to date the sites in question more accurately and to estimate the degree of cultural influence of adjacent regions such as Byzantium and Transcaucasia.

The geological evaluation of the sites has enabled us to investigate the geological situation at the time of the formation of a site as well as the nature and intensity of its deterioration and the way of its conservation in modern ecological conditions.

9. The Establishment of a New Electron Spin Resonance Marble Database.

D. Attanasio *, R. Platania **, G. Armiento **, M. C. Emanuele***

*Chimica dei Materiali

**Metodologie Avanzate Inorganiche e

***Strutturistica Chimica del CNR, P.O.Box 10, 00016 Monterotondo Staz., Roma, Italy

Recent work from this laboratory has confirmed that ESR spectroscopy may yield valuable information concerning the provenance determination of classical marbles, provided that the data analysis is carried out using a suitable, properly constructed database. Coupling of ESR results with some other physico-chemical method (isotopic analysis, neutron activation analysis or others) may reduce or eliminate the remaining uncertainties and provide a definitive answer to the marble provenance problem. In addition ESR measurements are reasonably simple and fast, they require limited sample amounts (ca. 30 mg) and almost no sample preparation.

On these basis we have decided to re-examine the whole subject and to set up a comprehensive, totally new electron spin resonance database, starting from scratch.

The variables taken into account are the intensity and linewidth of the Mn2+ impurity commonly present in marbles, the fraction of dolomitic Mn2+, which is also frequently detected, plus the occasional presence of other paramagnetic impurities. Additional non ESR variables (grain size and others) are being considered for inclusion into the database. Particular care has been devoted to the standardization procedures of data collection and analysis, so as to obtain data which can be easily reproduced and expanded by other users.

Up to now more than 300 samples from at least ten different, historically relevant Mediterranean quarries have been measured. In addition we have considered other relevant aspects of the problem. Among others they are the detailed examination of parameters variability within a single quarrying district or within single blocks of different dimensions, as well as the effect of weathering on the electron spin resonance parameters. Some work has been also carried out on non-white marbles (“Cipollino Verde”).

All the data have been analyzed with the aid of multivariate statistical techniques. Selected examples and case studies will be presented and discussed.


1. Cordischi, D., Monna, D., and Segre, A.L., 1983, ESR Analysis of Marble Samples from Mediterranean Quarries of Archaeological Interest, Archaeometry, 25, 68-76.

2. Armiento, G., Attanasio, D., and Platania, R., 1997, Electron Spin Resonance Studies of White Marbles from Tharros (Sardinia): a Reappraisal of the Technique, Possibilities and Limitations, Archaeometry, 39, 309-319.

3. Armiento, G., Attanasio, D., and Platania, R., 1996, Electron Spin Resonance Characterization and Provenance of Marbles: the Case of “Cipollino” Marble. Proc. Of the MRS Symposium “Materials Issues in Art and Archaeology” V, in press.

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