Microanalytical study of copper ores from the Chalcolithic settlement of São Pedro (Portugal): Copper production in the south-western Iberian Peninsula

P. Valério, I. P. Cardoso, M. Santiago, M. F. Araújo, L. C. Alves, Mário A. Gonçalves, R. Mataloto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Copper ores recovered at the third millennium bce settlement of São Pedro, Portugal, were characterized by micro-Raman spectroscopy, micro-energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry (micro-EDXRF) and micro-particle-induced X-ray emission spectrometry (micro-PIXE). The collection shows the common presence of secondary copper minerals (malachite, pseudomalachite and libethenite) combined with iron oxyhydroxides (hematite and goethite), while arsenic-rich minerals are absent and, therefore, can be excluded as the source of arsenical copper. Overall, these copper ores suggest a primitive technology involving the exploitation of the superficial zone of ore bodies and reliant on the fortuitous finding of arsenic-rich sources to produce the arsenical copper alloy frequently present among metallic collections of the Iberian Peninsula.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-328
JournalArchaeometry
Volume62
Issue number2
Early online date16 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020

Keywords

  • Chalcolithic
  • copper ore
  • elemental composition
  • Iberian Peninsula
  • micro-EDXRF
  • micro-PIXE
  • micro-Raman
  • mineralogical composition

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