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Use of galena in the Neolithic of North-Western Iberia

AuthorsMontero Ruiz, Ignacio ; Clop García, Xavier; Gallart Muset, Josep ; Molist Montañà, Miquel; Monforte, Andreu; Orozco, Teresa; Palomo, Antoni; Piqué, Raquel ; Rafel, Núria; Terradas-Batlle, Xavier
North-Western Iberia
Provenance study by Lead Isotope Analysis (using MC-ICP-MS )
Molar-Belmunt-Falset mines in Tarragona
Martorell/Begues mines in Barcelona
Issue Date2019
PublisherUniversity of Miskolc
Citation5th International Conference Archaeometallurgy in Europe : (2019)
AbstractNeolithic is a period characterized by the development of new technologies and a broader use of organic and inorganic materials. Some of the metallic minerals were used for making ornaments and pigments before their use as metals (copper or iron ores are a clear example of this exploitation). Galena (lead sulfide) is not usually mentioned in this period, but a new research find a frequent presence of blocks of galena since the Early Neolithic in several Catalan sites. Just in one case was found as a grave-good (female grave in Masdervenger, Tarragona), but most of them come from domestic context. Galena is not a good material to be worked using knapping methods due to its cubic crystals and fracture properties: one of the striking features is a fine cleavage. Nor does it have properties that make possible to use it as a fire starter, to generate a spark. However, its metallic luster and weight could attract the attention of the people. This early contact with galena however did not drive to a metallic use of lead. It is intriguing the fact that lead beads were common (hundreds) in southern France Chalcolithic, where a similar pattern of galena use during the Neolithic (since Early Chasséen) is also known; on the contrary just only one lead bead was found in Catalonia (Cova de L'Heura, Tarragona) and ist lead isotope signature matches the local lead mines. This paper includes a provenance study by Lead Isotope Analysis (using MC-ICP-MS ) to understand the local pattern of exploitation of galena, with the Molar-Belmunt-Falset mines in Tarragona and The Martorell/Begues mines in Barcelona as the main and only areas supplying the galena during the Neolithic.
Appears in Collections:(IMF) Comunicaciones congresos
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