The appearance of Beaker pottery in Britain and Ireland during the twenty-fifth century BC marks a significant archaeological horizon, being synchronous with the first metal artefacts. The adoption of arsenical copper, mostly from Ireland, was followed by that of tin-bronze around 2200 BC. However, whilst the copper mine of Ross Island in Ireland is securely dated to the Early Bronze Age, and further such mines in the UK have been dated to the Early and Middle Bronze Age, the evidence for the exploitation of tin ores, the other key ingredient to make bronze, has remained circumstantial. This article contains the detailed analyses of seven stone artefacts from securely dated contexts, using a combination of surface pXRF and microwear analysis. The results provide strong evidence that the tools were used in cassiterite processing. The combined analysis of these artefacts documents in detail the exploitation of Cornish tin during this early phase of metal use in Britain and Ireland.
|Number of pages
|European Journal of Archaeology
|Published - 30 Aug 2022
- ore processing