Copper Ornaments in the Iberian Chalcolithic
Technology versus Social Demand
Keywords:copper ornaments, metallurgical technology, Iberian Peninsula, social complexity
A general feature of the first metallurgy in the Old World is the manufacture of personal ornaments. In the Iberian Peninsula, however, the earliest copper items during the Chalcolithic are not ornaments, but tools and tool-weapons. This situation changes radically in the Bronze Age, when copper ornaments constitute the largest group of objects. Technological divergences, which are also evident, speak of an autonomous and distinct development of metallurgy in Iberia, one that could have limited the elaboration of ornaments. The question we raise is: why was copper not used in Iberia for the manufacture of personal ornaments during the Chalcolithic? We try to answer this by analysing the technological and socioeconomic aspects of the social demand for these products in the Chalcolithic.
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