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Title: The transmission of silver and silver extraction technology across the Mediterranean in Late Prehistory : an archaeological science approach to investigating the westward expansion of the Phoenicians
Author: Wood, Jonathan Robert
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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The hypothesis that Phoenician expansion across the Mediterranean resulted in the movement of technological ideas from East to West and materials from West to East is explored through investigating ancient silver and silver extraction technologies. An approach which combines both compositional and lead isotope data is applied to identify recycled silver from the Early and Late Iron Age hoards of the southern Levant. Signatures indicate that components of this mixed silver derived from Anatolia, Iberia and Cyprus in Early Iron Age, and Greece and Iberia in the Late Iron Age. Iberian signatures from the Early Iron Age hoards are consistent with native silver and silver extracted from jarosite ores. With these hoards dating from the 11th century BC, this situates the Phoenicians in Iberia much earlier than is usually attested and suggests that smelting and cupellation technologies travelled with them. A silver ingot recovered from La Rebanadilla in south-east Iberia, exhibiting a similar signature to the hoard silver, may indicate that silver was transported in a semi-refined form. Silver from the Tel Dor hoard in the southern Levant, with signatures consistent with jarosite ores on Cyprus, indicates that technologies to exploit the silver ores of south-west Iberia may have been first practised on Cyprus. The Phoenician technological base, prior to any westward expansion, is consistent with that of silversmiths who procured and refined silver, rather than that of prospectors, miners and smelters. It is suggested that cobalt-rich silver ores in Iran were sourced to supply silver and glass colourants to the ancient world, thereby providing an explanation for the synchronicity of events regarding transitions between the types of silver ore exploited in antiquity, the almost complete disappearance of cobalt-blue glass at the end of the Late Bronze Age and Phoenician expansion across the Mediterranean in search of other silver sources in the Early Iron Age.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available