Collecting Copper and Systematic Archaeological Analysis

Author(s): Robert Ahlrichs

Year: 2017


The Old Copper Complex is represented by tens of thousands of copper artifacts recovered from locations widely scattered across the landscapes of the Western Great Lakes. Many of these artifacts continue to be collected and curated by avocational archaeology enthusiasts with characteristically poor contextual information. Traditional scholarly study of this complex has been restricted to the consideration of copper as a symbolically potent object and the construction of artifact typologies. This has resulted in a lack of emphasis on the role that copper played in the subsistence and economic systems of the people who depended on it. This research addresses the acquisition, use, and discard of copper artifacts through the systematic study of the Jim Bussey Collection from both northern and southern Wisconsin localities. Morphological artifact types, their relative distributions through space and time, LA-ICP-MS based sourcing data, and use-wear patterns are used to develop an archaeologically useful dataset despite poor provenience.

Cite this Record

Collecting Copper and Systematic Archaeological Analysis. Robert Ahlrichs. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431777)


Geographic Keywords
North America - Midwest

Spatial Coverage

min long: -104.634; min lat: 36.739 ; max long: -80.64; max lat: 49.153 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15543