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Were burnt moulds derived from prehistoric copper production activities?

Thelin, Virginia H. (2007) Were burnt moulds derived from prehistoric copper production activities? Masters thesis, Durham University.



Burnt mounds and copper arrived on the scene in the British Isles at about the same time, at the beginning of the Neolithic to Bronze Age transition in the mid-3(^rd) millennium BC. Burnt mounds disappeared from that scene when iron was in process of replacing copper as the pre-eminent metal of the British Isles by about 500BC. Are burnt mounds and copper, then, directly related? Specifically, were burnt mound sites locations where some or all of the stages of the earliest forms of copper production took place? The research described in this paper is an initial attempt to find out. The first three chapters review and examine what is known both of burnt mounds in the British Isles and of the earliest copper production, the latter mainly from other pans of the world, since so few early copper processing sites have yet been discovered in the British Isles. Chapter 3 also compares features found at burnt mound sites with the requirements of early copper production, as far as they are known. In Chapters 4 and 5 attempts are made to test, by geochemical and geographic means, whether there is a direct relationship between burnt mounds and copper production. In Chapter 4, EDXRF is used to determine concentrations of copper and other elements in three burnt mounds, and in Chapter 5 known locations both of burnt mounds and copper sources are mapped and compared to find out whether burnt mounds are grouped close to copper sources. Chapter 6 evaluates the overall results and recommends a variety of additional types of research to more closely approach an answer to the title of this paper.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2007
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 18:32

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