An insight into the organisation of metal production in the Argaric society
2015. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 2, pp. 141–155
Metallurgy is a common topic when discussing Early Bronze Age societies, as its social impact has been traditionally used to support the appearance of social inequality. Different models have been proposed for the Bronze Age Argaric society of SE Iberia. One includes a highly centralised hierarchical production system, and the other consists of decentralised production at a local scale.Though metallurgical debris has been found in more than 30 sites in the Argaric society, and despite metallurgy being a core subject of discussion, very little research has been conducted on these finds. In this article, we drawfrom provenance studies using lead isotope analysis to gain a better understanding of the organisation of metal production and distribution.
We present new MC-ICP-MS lead isotope and SC-ICP-MS trace element analyses of 23 arsenical copper andbronze objects from two Argaric sites: Cerro de la Encina and Cerro San Cristóbal. Both sites are located in the Granada basin. These results, contextualised with metallurgical evidence already published, allow us to depict a decentralised system of metal production in which different and distantly located copper mines were being exploited.