Between a Rock and a Hard Place: context, function and choice of early metalworking tools in Europe’s Atlantic façade
My main research interests lie with both the technological and organisational aspects of prehistoric craft activities, and of Bronze Age metalwork production in particular. Apart from the technological and organisational side of metalwork production, my research is also concerned more generally with the ritual side of prehistoric craft activities and with the symbolic roles of craftspeople in prehistoric societies.
In my current work I am looking specifically at copper-base alloy and lithic metalworking implements from the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age in western Europe, with the aim of determining their exact position in the respective chaînes opératoires, and of gaining insights into how Bronze Age metal workshops operated and how craft activity was organised in these societies.
One of the outcomes of this work so far has been the recording of a vary large number of lithic metalworking implements previously misclassified as other types of object and the identification of previously unrecognised makeshift tools in Bronze Age hoards. Another result of my research has been the recognition of specific cultural norms behind the selection of tolls included in Bronze Age metalwork depositions (essentially representing different craft specialism), which in turn has allowed me to formally characterise previously little-known and poorly understood phenomena such as the structured deposition of stone casting moulds, opening up new perspectives for a better understanding of ritual behaviour in Bronze Age societies.
EU Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7)