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Title: Breaking metals and handling ideas about Bronze Age hoards from Western Iberia. Material patterns, invisible behaviors and possible
Authors: Vilaça, Raquel
Bottaini, Carlo
Editors: Valera, António Carlos
Keywords: fragmentation
Late Bronze Age
Portuguese territory
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Núcleo de Investigação Arqueológica (NIA) - ERA Arqueologia
Abstract: hoarding of metal objects, mainly of copper alloys, reaches a remarkable quantitative and qualitative expression in Portuguese territory during the Late Bronze Age (circa 1200-800 BC), similarly to what happened in Europe. The interest about Portuguese metal hoards increased in the last two decades, partly because of that richness and partly due to the scientific community’s acceptance of anthropological approaches that allowed overcoming the traditional theoretical opposition between utilitarian and votive deposits. Studying these hoards allows pursuing many research paths, some with great potential for better understanding the cultural dynamics behind the deposition of metal objects, deliberately concealed by communities and never retrieved. This text analyses a very relevant but hitherto undervalued aspect of Late Bronze Age Portuguese hoards: the deposition of deliberately broken metal objects. In fact, known findings show that a significant amount of hoards include objects that no longer possess their original technological and morphological characteristics. Therefore, from an economic and pragmatic view of ancient metallurgy, they are considered ordinary scrap. The study, however, reveals a more complex and subtle reality, identifying different depositional models involving broken pieces that show different handling pattern. This paper explores those handling evidences and reflects about the social function of fragmentation practices in the Late Bronze Age of the Iberian West, particularly in Portuguese territory.
Type: article
Appears in Collections:HERCULES - Artigos em Livros de Actas/Proceedings

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