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Title: The colour and composition of early Anglo-Saxon copper alloy jewellery
Author: Baker, Jocelyn Margaret
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2013
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Copper alloy artefacts are amongst the most prolific material remains from the early Anglo-Saxon period (450-650 CE). This research attempts to circumvent the limitations of previous disparate and unconnected typological and metallurgical approaches to these objects by investigating copper alloy jewellery from a holistic interdisciplinary approach. In particular, colour is used as a major new variable, a characteristic that would have been relevant to the Anglo-Saxons as craftsmen and as consumers. This method can reveal the choices that faced Anglo-Saxon craftsmen in the manufacture of these objects and in the use of their materials according to variables relevant and appropriate to their world. All past quantitative composition data relating to this period are reanalysed collectively, to interpret and model metal supply dynamics and recycling traditions. A visual context for copper alloys is created using linguistic frequency analysis of Old English colour words alongside a discussion of other Anglo-Saxon coloured material culture. The application of quantitative colour measurement to archaeological material and the factors affecting colour in various copper alloys on a structural level is also delineated, including quantification of the limits of human colour distinction and perception, the effects of tarnish on colour, and the overlap between copper and precious metal colour space. A new dataset comprising semi-quantitative ED-XRF composition data and quantitative colour measurements from over two-hundred archaeological samples allows the context of colour and composition to be discussed, providing insight into issues of value, aesthetics, trade and metal supply, and control.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available