Composition and microstructure of Roman metallic artefacts of Southwestern Iberian Peninsula

P. Valério, E. Voráčová, R. J C Silva, Maria F. Araújo, A. M M Soares, A. M. Arruda, C. Pereira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


The Roman invasion introduces new alloys and metallurgical practices in Iberian Peninsula. The southwestern end of this region has many evidences of connections with the Roman World, but there are no studies about the manufacture and use of copper-based artefacts during this period. Therefore, a set of about 20 ornaments, tools and small attachments recovered at the Roman sites of Monte Molião and Cidade das Rosas was studied by an analytical approach combining micro-EDXRF, optical microscopy, SEM–EDS and Vickers microhardness testing. The artefact composition shows a good correlation with function, namely pure copper for nails and rivets, low-tin bronze (2–6 wt% Sn) for basic tools, high-tin bronze (14 wt% Sn) for fibulae and high-lead bronze (19 wt% Pb) for a decorated jug handle. The manufacture also depends on function because most artefacts were subjected to thermomechanical processing, except the ornaments that would not benefit from post-casting work. Brass and gunmetal were only present in the site with a later chronology. A metallurgy visibly ruled by economical, aesthetical and technological concerns reinforces the evidences about the total integration of Southwestern Iberian Peninsula in the Roman World, but further studies will be essential to determine the evolution of copper-based alloys in Lusitania under Roman influence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-122
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Physics A-Materials Science & Processing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015



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