SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • CYPRUS;
  • BRONZE AGE;
  • LEAD ISOTOPE ANALYSIS;
  • COPPER OXHIDE INGOTS;
  • ORE DEPOSITS;
  • COPPER;
  • METALLOGENESIS;
  • PROVENANCE

Nearly 200 new lead isotope analyses of sulphidic and oxidized ores from 26 copper mines on Cyprus show that the mines from different geological regions group in five distinctive isotopic groups, each with a substructure, related to the geological history of the ore formation. Comparison of lead isotope compositions of Bronze Age artefacts with these data can in many cases reveal the actual mines from which the copper for particular artefacts was obtained. The particular case of the provenance of the copper for 78 Late Bronze Age copper ‘oxhide ingots’found in Cyprus, Crete, Greece, Sardinia, Turkey and Bulgaria is discussed. The data show that all oxhide ingots so far analysed, dating to the fourteenth century BC and later, were made of copper consistent isotopically with only one mining region in the geographical north of Cyprus, and especially the Apliki mine. The study provides further evidence which supports the validity of the conventional approach to the use of lead isotope analysis for provenancing metals; this evidence is antithetical to recent suggestions of a model for the production of copper oxhide ingots which involved widespread mixing of copper from a number of ore sources throughout the Mediterranean.