Scientific article

Copper supply during the Final Neolithic at the Saint-Blaise/ Bains des Dames site (Neuchâtel, Switzerland)

Published inArchaeological and anthropological sciences, vol. 1/3, p. 161-176
Publication date2009

The Saint-Blaise/Bains des Dames stratified site in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, contains several occupations that span the Late through Final Neolithic, including the Horgen, Lüscherz, and Auvernier-Cordé periods. As part of a study on prehistoric metallurgy in western Switzerland, we compare the lead isotope ratios (multicollector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer) and elemental compositions (instrumental neutron activation analysis) of the site's numerous copper finds to a database of corresponding measurements for copper ores throughout Europe. The results show a considerable variation in copper compositions present at the site, suggesting complex economic relationships and multiple chaînes opératoires during the time in question. Specifically, during the Final Neolithic, we distinguished ten coherent clusters, confirmed by both the elemental compositions and lead isotope ratios. When compared to the Europe-wide database of copper ores, we observed significant changes in the provenance of the copper through time that reflect equally significant changes in social, cultural, and economic interactions.

  • Final Neolithic
  • Copper
  • Metal analysis
  • Lead isotope analysis
Citation (ISO format)
CATTIN, Florence, VILLA, Igor M., BESSE, Marie. Copper supply during the Final Neolithic at the Saint-Blaise/ Bains des Dames site (Neuchâtel, Switzerland). In: Archaeological and anthropological sciences, 2009, vol. 1/3, p. 161–176. doi: 10.1007/s12520-009-0016-1
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1866-9557

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