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Produzione e circolazione del bronzo in Liguria nell’età del Ferro

Pearce, Mark; Maggi, Roberto


Professor of Mediterranean Prehistory

Roberto Maggi


THE PRODUCTION AND CIRCULATION OF BRONZE IN IRON AGE LIGURIA - The paper discusses the lead isotope data available in the literature and in the OXALID online database for bronze artefacts from the Iron Age (third quarter of the 8th – beginning of the last quarter of the 7th century BC) cemetery at Chiavari, comparing it with the published lead isotope data for the Monte Cavanero (Chiusa di Pesio CN) hoard and for copper outcrops in Liguria and southwestern Europe. Recent radiocarbon dating (Campana et alii, in this volume) has demonstrated the contemporary exploitation of the copper mines of Monte Loreto, which are close to Chiavari, and the lead isotope data suggests that the analysed artefacts from the Chiavari cemetery may have been made with copper from Monte Loreto. The lead isotope ratios for the Chiavari material are also compatible with copper ores from the western Alps (Brianzonese ligure), Sardinia (Sulcis, Lanusei or Funtana Raminosa) and the Trentino (Pamera-Cinque Valli, Sasso Negro or Pattine), all of which are historically plausible sources for the copper used to make the artefacts found at Chiavari. There is lead isotope data for just one mine in western Liguria, that at Murialdo – loc. Pastori (SV) in the Val Bormida, where there is evidence for metal-working between the Middle Bronze Age and the late Iron Age. Its lead isotope ratios are compatible with the Chiavari material and it is thus a good candidate for the source of the metal. The lead isotope ratios of material from the Monte Cavanero di Chiusa Pesio hoard are also compatible with those of the analysed artefacts from Chiavari, suggesting that the metal used had a common source. Despite the flourishing Etruscan metal industry and the evidence for Etruscan trade with Chiavari, metal from Etruria mineraria was not used to make the artefacts in the Chiavari cemetery. It is possible that Etruscan interest in Chiavari may have been not only due to its strategic position for trade north across the Apennines to the Po valley, but also because of the availability of copper from the mines at Monte Loreto.


Pearce, M., & Maggi, R. (2023). Produzione e circolazione del bronzo in Liguria nell’età del Ferro. Rivista di Scienze Preistoriche, 73(Special no. S3), 525-533

Journal Article Type Conference Paper
Conference Name LIII Riunione Scientifica: Preistoria e Protostoria della Liguria
Conference Location Genoa, Italy
Acceptance Date Nov 7, 2022
Online Publication Date Sep 30, 2023
Publication Date Sep 30, 2023
Deposit Date Nov 9, 2022
Publicly Available Date Oct 1, 2025
Journal Rivista di Scienze Preistoriche
Print ISSN 0035-6514
Electronic ISSN 2282-457X
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 73
Issue Special no. S3
Pages 525-533
Series ISSN 0035-6514
Keywords Lead isotope analysis; Chiavari; Monte Loreto; prehistoric mining; Etruscans
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