This volume explores the part played by different metals in use from the fourth millennium BC to the Early Iron Age, not only in the Aegean but also in the wider Old World. It addresses the divergent uses and roles of different metals, the interrelationships of these roles and the changing values that may have been accorded to them at different times and in different places by producers and consumers. Individually, the papers in the volume contemplate the particular properties of different metals and the various issues concerning their frequent under-representation in the archaeological (but not necessarily textual) record, and also point out comparative and diachronic perspectives that may have the ability to offer insights into their important roles in wider cultural and historical changes over a period of several millennia. After the Introduction and Chapter 1, which reflects on some of the parameters involved in the term ‘precious’ as applied to metals, the remaining six chapters cover the Aegean and the networks that link the Aegean with Italy, Cyprus and the Near East more generally, and south-east Anatolia and the Caucasus. Between them they discuss the beginnings of regular iron metallurgy, the uses of and attitudes to gold, silver and bronze and other copper-based alloys at various times between the fourth millennium BC and the Early Iron Age.
List of Contributors
Precious Circuits: Introduction
Toby Wilkinson and Susan Sherratt
1. Precious Metal Values: Reflecting on Colours, Agency, and Domination
2. Interaction, Gold, and Power: Contrasting Stories from Tombs across the East Mediterranean ca. 2000–1800 BC
Borja Legarro Herrera
3. Greek Silver before Coinage: Medium of Exchange, Means of Wealth Accumulation, or Commodity?
4. The Sword and the Axe. Symbols of Value in the Bronze Age Social and Economic Exchange Networks Linking the Aegean to Italy within a Diachronic Perspective
5. The Development of Ironworking in the 12th and 11th Centuries in Cyprus
6. Provinces of Innovation. On the Introduction of Iron in the Near East
7. Graves of Power. Circulation of Elite Strategies between Caucasus and South-eastern Anatolia in the Dawn of the Bronze Age