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The Compleat Metalsmith: Craft and Technology in the British Bronze Age

Fregni, Elpidia Giovanna (2014) The Compleat Metalsmith: Craft and Technology in the British Bronze Age. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the craft of metallurgy in the British Bronze Age through an examination and analysis of metalworking tools. The goal of this research was to reassemble the Bronze Age metalsmithing toolkit based on an understanding of the craft and its practice. The first chapters examine the smith and metalsmithing tools through literary sources to establish a theoretical framework for understanding the significance of tools and smiths in the British Bronze Age. This is followed by a study of metalsmithing tools in museum collections. These examinations focussed on wear, design, and chemical composition. Tools were cross-referenced to contemporary tools, descriptions from ethnographic literature, and tools in modern workshops. This research also supplied data to create replica tools for use in an experimental programme to explore tool use and performance. The research culminated in establishing a system called Minimum Tools Required (MTR). It is based on the idea that the presence of an object implies the existence of the tools and materials necessary for its manufacture, and that the presence of tools implies a purpose, and the possibility of other tools and materials that are associated with that purpose. Using this system provides a means to assess assemblages and aids in understanding the kind and the number of tools and materials that were a necessary part of the Bronze Age metalsmith’s toolkit. The system also allows for more precise interpretations to be made of hoards. Tools can indicate the types of metal objects being made, or represent specific metalsmithing tasks. Thus by recognising the tools and their function, statements can be made about how these tools were used and the processes by which metal objects were made in the Bronze Age, resulting in a more complete understanding the organisation of the metalsmith’s craft in antiquity.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Archaeology (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield) > Archaeology (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.617167
Depositing User: Elpidia Giovanna Fregni
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2014 07:51
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 11:17
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/6479

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