The Late Introduction of Metals in Southern Italy: Studies from Sicily and Calabria

Author(s): Andrea Vianello; Robert H. Tykot

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "SAA 2019: General Sessions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Metallurgy arrived quite late in Calabria, Sicily and Malta compared other regions, including the same Italian peninsula. Current hypotheses include an allogenous origin of metallurgy, brought by Aegean merchants, and an indigenous origin due to the presence of mines. The delicate state of many metals has prevented destructive analyses, but it has been possible to use a non-invasive pXRF to analyze the chemical composition of the surface of several metals in multiple spots. We have comparable data for the region regarding composite materials (made of different alloys) and alloys in use between the Copper Age and the Early Bronze Age. There is consistency in the data between Calabria and Sicily, and a significant level of complexity in the alloys. The results suggest that metallurgy was introduced from the Italian peninsula, but only after several centuries during which metals were not adopted. There are local mines, certainly in use at least in Calabria, but very little evidence that metals were used locally. Metals were therefore known to exist and potentially were accessible, but deliberately ignored. Since most early metals in the region are weapons, this may provide a clue to the processes that delayed the adoption of metallurgy.

Cite this Record

The Late Introduction of Metals in Southern Italy: Studies from Sicily and Calabria. Andrea Vianello, Robert H. Tykot. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449879)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -10.151; min lat: 29.459 ; max long: 42.847; max lat: 47.99 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 26179