2010 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (31 October 3 November 2010)
Paper No. 3-13
Presentation Time: 11:30 AM-11:45 AM

BRONZE AGE MINING AND METALLURGY IN THE EASTERN ALPS (TYROL, SOUTH-TYROL, SALZBURG, AUSTRIA): THE ROLE OF MINERALOGY AND PETROLOGY IN THE MULTIDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH PROJECT HiMAT

TROPPER, Peter, Institute of Mineralogy and Petrography, University of Innsbruck, Innrain 52f, Innsbruck A-6020, peter.tropper@uibk.ac.at

The introduction of metallurgy into prehistoric Europe led to substantial changes in human culture and the environment. Due to the location of profitable ore deposits in the Eastern Alps, in particular in the provinces of Tyrol and Salzburg, this region experienced marked economic revivals especially during the Bronze Age and the late Mediaeval and early Modern Times. Although archaeological studies from these areas exist there are still many questions concerning the beginnings of metallurgy in the Eastern Alps as well as concerning the spatial and temporal extent of the resulting social, economic and environmental impacts. Therefore it is the objective of the special research project HiMAT (“History of Mining in the Tyrol and Adjacent Areas”), which was established in 2007 at the University of Innsbruck, to contribute to the elucidation of these open questions by using a multidisciplinary research approach.

The basis of a thorough investigation of historical mining sites is the comprehensive mineralogical/petrological/ore-geological and mining archaeological investigation of known mineralizations in view of their potential for the exploitation in prehistoric and historic periods. These data then provide the basis for the subsequent research to perform provenance studies of the metals used and thus trace prehistoric trade routes. It is therefore prerequisite in the 1st phase of this project to obtain mineralogical, petrological and geochemical data of the ore minerals, gangue minerals, and metallurgical remains for every ore mineralization and mining/smelting site considered. Subsequently, the study of prehistoric exchange systems is a major topic of archaeological research, since the reconstruction of trade is important for understanding economic aspects of ancient societies and the social and political systems in which it operated. The aim of the project in the 2nd phase is then to extend the mineralogical/geochemical investigations to the characterization and understanding of the processes of smelting and trade of lithic and metallurgical goods. Bronze-Age smelting processes will be studied not only by investigating technology-based artefacts but as well as by careful characterization of ongoing experimental smelting and roasting products as well as stone tools.

2010 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (31 October 3 November 2010)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 3
Recent Advances in Archaeological Geology
Colorado Convention Center: Room 302
8:00 AM-12:00 PM, Sunday, 31 October 2010

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 42, No. 5, p. 30

© Copyright 2010 The Geological Society of America (GSA), all rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to the author(s) of this abstract to reproduce and distribute it freely, for noncommercial purposes. Permission is hereby granted to any individual scientist to download a single copy of this electronic file and reproduce up to 20 paper copies for noncommercial purposes advancing science and education, including classroom use, providing all reproductions include the complete content shown here, including the author information. All other forms of reproduction and/or transmittal are prohibited without written permission from GSA Copyright Permissions.