Compositional aspects of some Romanian Copper and Bronze objects from Bronze Age and early Iron Age

Alexandra Ţârlea1,
Gheorghe Niculescu2,
Cristian Anastasiu2,
Mihai Florea3,
Bogdan Constantinescu4
1University of Bucharest, România
2National Laboratory for Researches in Conservation and Restoration of Movable National Cultural Heritage, România
3Romanian National History Museum, Bucharest, România
4National Institute of Nuclear Physics and Engineering "Horia Hulubei" - Bucharest-Măgurele, România

The composition of a approx. 150 copper and bronze objects was analyzed using the XRF method. The objects come mainly from the National Museum of Romanian History, but also objects from local museums were offered for the analysis. In order to obtain a more complete image, we took into consideration both the chronological and the territorial aspects. As a result, the objects range chronologically from the Middle Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age and cover practically all the regions of Romania. In the same time, the analysis concentrated on both hoards and single finds, the objects representing a large number of categories: tools (especially sickles and socketed axes), ornaments (bracelets, neck rings, brooches), weapons (swords, axes, spearheads), ingots and casting debris. The main hope is that this database, corroborated with future results, as well as with previous analyses conducted on objects from Romania and neighboring countries, will be of real help in finding pertinent answers to questions regarding the prehistoric metallurgical choices and methods, the circulation of raw material and finished objects, the connection between composition and type of object, and as such throwing more light on the life of the prehistoric societies. As main results, we mention:

  • - the presence in Maglavit (near Danube, in Oltenia) of five neck rings practically identical in dimensions and composition (Cu with few percents amounts of Sb, Ag, As and relevant tracers of Bi) with the famous "oesenringe" from Bohemia-Austria
  • - a bronze sword with a high amount of zinc ( 7%) - a Brasov (Central Romania) single find
  • - some arsenical copper axes found in Bacau region (Central Moldova) - As between 1 and 4%

A map of Romania presenting the localization of the analysed hoards and the predominant composition of their objects will be exposed.