Tracing Multimetal Craftsmanship through Metallurgical debris: Open air workshops and multimetality in Late Iron Age Scandinavia
Research output: Contribution to conference › Abstract
the past. In comparison to the finished objects, which has attracted far more attention in archaeological
research, debris material are more or less confined to the original workshop sites and hence provide direct
evidence as to production volume and quality, site organization, artisanal skill and operational sequences
within the various crafts.
On many sites throughout the “Metal Ages” evidence of both iron smithing and the use of non-ferrous
metals can be found. Traditionally, a clear division between these types of crafts has been enforced in site
interpretation, separating sites into ferrous versus non-ferrous workshop sites chronologically or spatially.
However, the presence of, for instance, smithing slag cakes with droplets of Cu-alloy within their matrix as
well as casting debris of both metals and ceramic materials in forges and smithing hearths challenges this
The thesis project “From Crucible and onto Anvil” started in 2015 and focuses on sites housing remains of
multimetal craftsmanship dating primarily from 500-1000 AD. Within the project a comprehensive survey
of sites will be used to evaluate the presence of multimetal craftsmanship in the landscape based first and
foremost on the metallurgical debris documented on or collected from them. Sites in selected target areas
will be subject to intra-site analysis of their metallurgical remains focusing on workshop organisation, the
array of metalworking techniques utilized and the chronological variances of multimetal craftsmanship.
A primary aim in the project is to elucidate the conceptual aspects of complex metalworking. The term
multimetality is used to analytically frame all the societal and cosmological aspects of metal craftsmanship.
Through this inclusive perspective both the metal craftsmanship and the metalworkers behind it are
positioned within the overall socioeconomic framework. The metalworkers, their skills and competences as
well as the products of their labour are viewed as dynamic actors in the landscape and on the arenas of
political economy of the Late Iron Age.
This paper aims to present a few examples of the surveyed multimetal sites, discuss workshop
reconstruction through metallurgical debris and present preliminary interpretations of the sites internal
organisation and placement within the cultural landscape. Many of the sites surveyed so far are interpreted
as open air workshops with a relatively long continuity ranging several generations of metalworkers. How
is this to be interpreted? Where the multimetal craftsmanship undertaken of temporary character? And if so,
why did the metalworkers continue to use the same workshop site for generations?
The concept of multimetality and the possibilities to capture this elusive, yet crucial, element of metal
craftsmanship through the study of metallurgical debris will also be discussed in the paper. The surveyed
sites and the reconstruction of their internal workshop organisation will serves as examples of how
multimetality was manifested on the sites and in the landscape.
|Research areas and keywords||
Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY
|Translated title of the contribution||Tracing Multimetal Craftsmanship through Metallurgical debris : Open air workshops and multimetality in Late Iron Age Scandinavia|
|Publication status||Published - 2016 Jun 24|
|Event||The metalworker and his tools: symbolism, function and technology in the Bronze and Iron Ages - Queen's University, Belfast, United Kingdom|
Duration: 2016 Jun 23 → 2016 Jun 26
|Conference||The metalworker and his tools|
|Period||2016/06/23 → 2016/06/26|
2015/09/01 → 2020/12/31
Activity: Talk or presentation › Invited talk