Cite this as: Wood J. R., Hsu, Y-T and Bell, C. 2021 Sending Laurion Back to the Future: Bronze Age Silver and the Source of Confusion, Internet Archaeology 56. https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.56.9
Silver-bearing lead ores at Laurion in Attica were considered to have been first exploited with the introduction of coinage sometime around the birth of Classical Greece. However, in the late 20th century this chronology was radically revised earlier, to the Bronze Age, largely supported by lead isotope analyses (LIA). Here, we acknowledge that lead and silver metallurgy emerged from the earliest times but we propose that any correlation between these metals in the archaeological record is not a consequence of a geological association between lead and silver in ores such as galena until the middle of the first millennium BCE. We suggest that ancient metallurgists recognised that silver minerals (such as horn silver) dispersed in host rocks could be concentrated in molten lead and that LIA signatures of Bronze Age silver artefacts reflect the use of exogenous lead to extract silver, perhaps applying processes similar to those used to acquire silver in Bronze Age Siphnos. We further propose that lead from Laurion used for silver extraction resulted in the inadvertent transfer of its LIA signature (probably aided by roving silver prospectors) to silver objects and metallurgical debris recovered around the Aegean. New compositional analyses for the Mycenaean shaft-grave silver (c. 1600 BCE) support these conclusions. We believe that reverting to the mid-first millennium BCE for the first exploitation of silver from argentiferous lead ores is consistent with the absence of archaeological evidence for centralised control over Laurion until the Archaic period, the paucity of lead slag associated with silver-processing debris at Bronze Age sites, the scarcity of silver artefacts recovered in post-shaft grave contexts at Mycenae and throughout the Early Iron Age Aegean, the few Attic silver coins with LIA signatures consistent with Laurion until after 500 BCE and a single unambiguous mention of silver in the Linear B texts.
Corresponding author: Jonathan R. Wood
Institute of Archaeology, UCL
Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge
Institute of Archaeology, UCL
Figure 1 : Schematic of the cupellation process. Argentiferous lead, derived from either smelting argentiferous lead ores (such as cerussite or galena), or by smelting an argentiferous ore (such as jarosite) with exogenous lead, is oxidised under a stream of air at a temperature of about 1000°C. The molten litharge can be absorbed (possibly by bone ash), along with any other metal impurities which oxidise (e.g. copper), leaving the silver and any inert impurities (such as gold) as a separate phase (adapted from Moureau and Thomas 2016 )
Figure 3: Map of the Cycladic islands and other sites mentioned in the text
Figure 4 : LIA plot of Laurion ores (OXALID 2020), Wappenmünzen coins (c. 545-510 BCE) and Athenian owls (5th-4th centuries BCE) (Gale et al. 1980 , table 6). The Athenian coins are consistent with Laurion ores. Six of the Wappenmünzen coins are not consistent with the Laurion ore field. Apart from two of the Wappenmünzen coins (including one that appears to be consistent with the Laurion ore LIA field), the others have Au/Ag x100 levels greater than 0.1 (see Table 5; Gale et al. 1980 , table 10), suggesting that the majority of the Wappenmünzen silver coins were not made from silver that derived from argentiferous lead ores
Figure 5: Native silver dispersed in a host rock. The surface has been coarsely polished to make the silver visible
Figure 6 : Simplified phase diagram of lead-silver system. 1. Liquid + solid Pb and 2. Solid + Pb eutectic. Melting point of lead (point A: 327.5°C); melting point of silver (point C: 962°C). The dashed line B-G corresponds to the eutectic composition of 2.5wt%Ag. The solubility of silver in lead is so small that it cannot be drawn on this diagram (i.e. 0.099wt%Ag). The process of heating argentiferous lead containing a very small quantity of silver and cooling to get pure lead and liquid richer in silver is now known as Pattinson's process. This process can be understood by following the phase diagram of the Ag-Pb system. The argentiferous lead is melted and heated to a temperature above the melting point of pure lead. Point a'' represents this system on the diagram. As the system cools slowly and the temperature of the melt decreases along a''-a', the solid lead starts separating at a'. As the system further cools, more and more lead separates and the liquid in equilibrium with the solid lead gets richer in silver. The lead that separates can be continuously removed by ladles. When the temperature of the liquid reaches a on the line DBE (the eutectic temperature), solid lead is in equilibrium with the liquid having the composition B. The liquid is cooled further when it solidifies to give a mixture of lead and silver having the eutectic composition of 2.5 wt% (25000ppm) of silver. This solid mixture of lead and silver can then undergo cupellation to recover the silver. Adapted from Karakaya and Thompson ( 1987)
Figure 7 : (left) Bronze Age slag from Ayios Sostis, Siphnos. (right) Typical large tapping slag from 4th-century BCE lead-smelting furnace installations at Pountazeza, Panormus and Laurion. (adapted from Gale and Stos-Gale 1981a, pl. 40)
Figure 8 : LIA plot of Bronze Age lead objects (OXALID 2020) from Crete, islands in the Cyclades (Amorgos, Antiparos, Despotiko, Kea, Makronisos, Naxos, Syros, Melos, Paros, Thera), the Dodecanese (Rhodes) and the Saronic Gulf (Dokos) and the Greek mainland (Argolid, Messenia, Thebes, Thessaly, Attica, Boeotia) delineated by chronology. The objects fall into two main groups that are consistent with the Laurion and Siphnian ore LIA fields identified by Gale and Stos-Gale ( 1981a ). The lead boat models recovered on Naxos lie within the Siphnian ore LIA field. Some objects from the LBA have higher 207Pb/206Pb values which are not shown due to scale
Figure 9 : LIA mirror plot of silver objects (OXALID 2020) found on the Greek mainland (Laconia, Messenia and the Argolid, in the Peloponnese, and Perati near Laurion) and Crete and other Greek islands (Amorgos and Syros in the Cyclades, Kos in the Dodecanese and Euboea). Note that three silver objects consistent with the Siphnian ore field are from the Early Bronze Age, which could suggest that the silver was extracted using Siphnian lead. Although the silver may have derived from Siphnos, it could have come from silver-bearing ores elsewhere - possibly from the islands on which the objects were recovered, i.e. Amorgos and Syros. Note the spread in the LIA values of silver, which could suggest mixed isotopic signatures, i.e. lead from one source, silver from another
Figure 10 : Histogram of the silver content (ppm) in 267 Bronze Age lead artefacts recovered around the Aegean (data from OXALID 2020). For example, about 70 lead objects have concentrations of silver between 423 and 507ppm in the lead. The distribution shows no evidence of bimodality, which would suggest a remarkably efficient separation process if lead (ores or metal) was being selected for either lead or silver objects on the basis of its silver content. Alternatively, it may suggest that lead ores with higher levels of silver had yet to be discovered and/or exploited
Figure 11 : LIA mirror plots for lead and litharge on Kea and Crete. (left mirror plots) Lead objects and litharge found on Kea are presented with Laurion and Siphnian ores. Lead objects found on Kea are consistent with Laurion and Siphnos. Litharge recovered on Kea appears to be consistent with Laurion. A group of litharge and lead samples may be present at 207Pb/206Pb ≈ 0.833. This could indicate a further source in addition to Siphnos and Laurion signatures, or possibly mixed lead from Laurion and Siphnian sources. (right mirror plots) Litharge and lead objects recovered on Crete are consistent with both Siphnian and Laurion ores. Some lead objects fall between these two ore fields which could suggest mixed LIA signatures, i.e. lead from both sources was mixed together. Alternatively, it could suggest that lead derived from another source, e.g. lead from one of the islands, such as Crete. Data from OXALID ( 2020)
Figure 12: Map of Attica showing Laurion and sites mentioned in the text
Figure 13 : LIA plot for Bronze Age silver analysed by Pernicka et al. ( 1983 ) alongside Laurion ores (OXALID 2020). Ten samples are from the shaft graves at Mycenae. The three outlined yellow points show the Bronze Age silver samples identified by Pernicka as having LIA signatures consistent with Laurion but inconsistent compositional analyses. Beside each of the points are their respective Au/Ag ×100 values
Figure 14: Scanning electron micrographs (SEM) of Mycenaean shaft-grave silver: SG520a (left) and SG520b (right)
Figure 15 : Scanning electron micrographs (SEM) of Mycenaean shaft-grave silver: SG865a (left) and SG865b (right). Note that SG865b is heavily corroded
Figure 16 : Scanning electron micrographs (SEM) of Mycenaean shaft-grave silver: SG479-1 (left) and SG479-2 (right). Note that SG479-1 is heavily corroded
Figure 17 : LIA mirror plots of Mycenaean silver objects presented alongside Laurion ores and silver objects plotted in Figure 9 (see Table 9, Table 11 and Table 12; OXALID 2020). At least two of the Mycenaean objects (SG388 and SG880) are clearly not consistent with Laurion. Data from OXALID (2020), Stos-Gale and MacDonald ( 1991 ) and Stos-Gale ( 2014 )
Figure 18 : Pb crustal ages (Ma) determined from the two-stage evolution model for the 30 Mycenaean shaft-grave silver samples, using LIA values from Stos-Gale and MacDonald ( 1991 ) and Stos-Gale ( 2014 ), and parameters from Desaulty et al. ( 2011 ). The samples are delineated by find location (i.e. Grave Circles A and B, and unknown). Different colours denote the individual shaft graves (see Tables 11 and 12). There is no obvious pattern between the crustal ages and the find locations. As expected from the LIA plots in Figure 17, two samples (SG388 and SG880) have much higher crustal ages than the majority of the Mycenaean silver
Figure 19 : Frequency histogram of the Pb crustal age (Ma) for ores from Laurion, as calculated from the lead isotopes from the Greek ores database (OXALID 2020) using the two-stage evolution model with parameters from Desaulty et al. ( 2011 ). The range of calculated Pb crustal ages for Athenian coins from the Asyut hoard (Gale et al. 1980 ) is also presented and shows that these coins are commensurate with silver mined from Laurion
Figure 20 : Stag Rhyton (SG388) in the National Museum of Athens (NMA388). Potentially of Anatolian origin as it has no Aegean parallels, with possible comparisons from 3rd millennium contexts, mainly in Anatolia, e.g. Kultepe rhyta (Özgüç and Özgüç 1953); Alaca Höyük bronze and silver stags (Arik 1937 ). For this reason, its presence at Mycenae has often been interpreted as an heirloom (Davis 1977). Photo Zde (CC-BY-SA-3.0)
Figure 21 : Plot of Au/Ag x100 against Pb crustal age (Ma) for Mycenaean silver. The ranges of crustal age and their maximum Au/Ag x100 levels are plotted for Laurion ores (Au/Ag x100 = 0.1286) and for Athenian coins (Au/Ag x100 = 0.3438). The three labelled samples (SG66b, SG520b and 3109) are the only pieces with Au/Ag x100 levels below 0.1
Figure 22 : Plot of Pb/Ag ×100 against Pb crustal age (Ma) for Mycenaean silver (Tables 11 and 12). Most samples fall within the crustal ages of Laurion ores (shaded box), which would suggest that Laurion lead was used to extract silver. There are possibly two groups (higher and lower levels of lead in these samples - see Figure 23). The lower lead levels (Pb/Ag ×100 <0.3) could suggest that they had not been cupellated, i.e. silver for these objects came from large silver minerals such as large crystals. These samples also have lower levels of bismuth. The crustal ages of these low-lead samples would also suggest they were from Laurion and older sources
Figure 23 : Histogram of the Pb/Ag x100 in the Mycenaean silver measured in this study by EPMA (Table 11). The shaded areas highlight a possible distribution at low levels of lead, which might reflect the natural distribution of lead found in large silver minerals at Laurion and around the Aegean. Higher lead levels were potentially cupellated with exogenous lead, thereby obliterating the signature associated with this distribution
Table 1: Gale's analysis (Gale 1980 , 161-96; Stos-Gale and Gale 1982) of Buchholz ( 1972, 21-36; Buchholz and Karageorghis 1973, 282) and Branigan's (1974, 155-205) cataloguing of Bronze Age Aegean and Anatolian lead and silver objects. The possible correlation between lead and silver objects recovered in the archaeological record was used to support the exploitation of argentiferous lead ores
Table 2: X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyses (in weight per cent) of ores from Ayios Sostis, Siphnos. (s= standard deviation; nd = not determined) (adapted from Gale et al. 1980 , table 2). The final column is misleading, as exemplified by sample TG43-20, i.e. lead cannot dissolve 8.3wt% of silver in the solid state (see Figure 6)
Table 3: Compositional data from neutron activation analysis (NAA) of Laurion ores (from Gale et al. 1980 ); s is the standard deviation. Values in italics are from Gale and Stos-Gale ( 1981a) - not all elements were measured (nm) for these data. We assume here that lead was approximately 86wt%Pb, in accordance with the concentrations found in pure galena ores
Table 4: Silver and gold content of ores from Ayios Sostis, Siphnos (after Muller and Gentner ( 1979 ) published in Gale et al. 1980 ). s is standard deviation. Note that the silver values are slightly different from those in Table 2 because the current table presents the mean values of duplicate runs (adapted from Tylecote 1987, table 3.9b)
Table 5: Au/Ag ×100 of Laurion and Siphnian ores and Athenian and Siphnian coins (for data sources see Table 3 and Table 4 and Figure 4). Values of the mean, standard deviation, median and ranges are shown. n denotes the number of samples measured. Athenian coins generally exhibit lower Au/Ag values than Siphnian coins, in agreement with the Au/Ag values of the ores from which they are considered to have derived. The Au/Ag ×100 of Wappenmünzen coins and the LIA values plotted in Figure 4 support that the silver was not from the galena ores of Laurion
Table 6: Early Bronze Age silver from Anatolia (adapted from Meyers 2003 ). Note that zinc is present in appreciable concentrations and levels of lead are generally in the tenths of per cent. The Au/Ag ratios for this EBA silver are generally much higher than those found in silver derived from galena, which has values of Au/Ag ×100 <0.1
Table 7: Mean and standard deviation of Au/Ag ×100 levels in litharge and lead recovered on Kea. Median values and ranges are also shown. Lead objects found at Perati on Attica and Bronze Age lead objects recovered from around the Aegean are also presented alongside Laurion ores. n denotes the number of samples. The Au/Ag levels in the Kea litharge suggest that another component was present which had higher levels of gold than that found in association with the silver in lead ores or lead objects. Data from OXALID 2020
Table 8: Lead and litharge found at a Bronze Age (Middle Helladic context) site in Thorikos, Acropolis 153cS. Analyses include one of four fragments of melted lead metal and one of the two pieces of litharge. LIA and NAA of Thorikos samples are from Gale et al. ( 1980 ), Gale and Stos-Gale ( 1981a) and OXALID (2020). Pb crustal ages in millions of years (Ma) were calculated from the lead isotope data using the two-stage evolution model with parameters from Desaulty et al. ( 2011 )
Table 9: Lead isotope and compositional values for Aegean silver artefacts from OXALID ( 2020) database delineated by find location, i.e. Greek islands, specifically the island of Crete and the Greek mainland (excluding Mycenae). All compositional data were measured using XRF. Au/Ag ×100 values in bold have been calculated from a detection limit of 0.1wt% Au
Table 10: Compositions of the silver reference materials in weight per cent and limits of detection on the EPMA. Values below these limits were classified as below the detection limit (bdl)
Table 11: Compositional data – EPMA results from the Mycenaean shaft-grave silver. Heavily corroded samples are shaded and have their totals in bold type. Asterisks denote samples with low totals because the EPMA field of view was higher than the sample width. Pernicka et al.'s ( 1983 ) NAA data are presented in blue with the compositional data being measured percentages which had been previously recalculated to yield 100% based on metals. The main metal in the yellow highlighted sample 3109 is not silver
Table 12: Lead isotope analyses from Stos-Gale and MacDonald ( 1991 ) and Stos-Gale ( 2014 ). Pb crustal age calculated from two-stage evolution model using parameters from Desaulty et al. ( 2011 ). Question mark denotes uncertainty with regard to which LIA values correspond to the compositional data. LIA values in blue are from Pernicka et al. ( 1983 ) which do not have 204Pb values (and therefore the Pb crustal age could not be calculated). The main metal in the yellow highlighted sample 3109 may not have been silver (see section 4.1).
Albarède, F., Desaulty, A.-M. and Blichert-Toft, J. 2012 'A geological perspective on the use of Pb isotopes in archaeometry', Archaeometry 54, 853–67. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-4754.2011.00653.x
Anguilano, L., Rehren, T., Muller, W. and Rothenberg, B. 2009 'Roman jarosite exploitation at Rio Tinto (Spain)' in A. Giumlia-Mair and A. Hauptmann (eds) Archaeometry in Europe II 2007, Milano: Associazione Italiana di Metallurgia. 21-29.
Ardaillon, E. 1897 Les Mines du Laurion dans l'antiquité, Charleston: Nabu Pres.
Arik, R.O. 1937 Les Fouilles d'Alaca Höyük: Entreprises par la société d'histoire turque. Rapport preliminaire sur les travaux en 1935, Ankara: Publications de la Société Turque, Series V , no.1.
Aulsebrook, S. 2018 'Chicken or egg? Rethinking the relationship between the silver and tinned ceramic vessel assemblages', Annual of the British School at Athens 113, 75-118. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0068245417000120
Bartelheim, M., Contreras Cortes, F., Moreno Onorato, A., Murillo-Barroso, M. and Pernicka, E. 2012 'The silver production of the South Iberian El Agar culture; a first look at production and distribution', Trabajos de Prehistoria 69, 293-309. https://doi.org/10.3989/tp.2012.12093
Bastin, E.S. 1922 'Primary native silver ores near Wickenburg, Arizona, and their bearing on the genesis of the silver ores of Cobalt, Ontario', US Geological Survey Bulletin 735, 131-55. https://doi.org/10.3133/b735E
Bell, C. 2016 'Phoenician trade: the first 300 years' in J.C. Moreno Garcia (ed) Dynamics of Production in the Ancient Near East 1300–500 BC, Oxford: Oxbow Books. 91–105.
Bell, C. and Wood, J.R. in press 'Reflections on the westward expansion of the Phoenicians in the Early Iron Age: the search for silver and technology transfer' in M. Kõiv, R. Kletter, U. Nõmmik, V.Sazonov and I. Volt (eds) Responses to the 12th Century BC Collapse: Recovery and Restructuration in the Early Iron Age Near East and Mediterranean, Melammu Workshop at the University of Tartu (Estonia), 7-9 June 2019, Germany.
Birch, T., Westner, K.J., Kemmers, F., Klein, S., Höfer, H.E., and Seitz, H.‐M. 2020 'Retracing Magna Graecia's silver: coupling lead isotopes with a multi‐standard trace element procedure', Archaeometry 62, 81–108. https://doi.org/10.1111/arcm.12499
Branigan, K. 1968 'Silver and lead in prepalatial Crete', American Journal of Archaeology 72, 219-29. https://doi.org/10.2307/503550
Branigan, K. 1974 Aegean Metalwork of the Early and Middle Bronze Age, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Broodbank, C. 2013 The Making of the Middle Sea: A History of the Mediterranean from the Beginning to the Emergence of the Classical World, London: Thames and Hudson.
Buchholz, H.G. 1972 'Das Blei in der Mykenischen Kultur und inder Bronzezeitlichen Metallurgie Zyperns', Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts 87, 1-59.
Buchholz, H.G. and Karageorghis, V. 1973 Prehistoric Greece and Cyprus: An Archaeological Handbook, New York: Phaidon Press.
Butcher, K. and Ponting, M. 2014 The Metallurgy of Roman Silver Coinage: From the reform of Nero to the reform of Trajan, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139225274
Caskey, M., Mendoni, L., Papastamataki, A. and Beloyannis, N. 1988 'Metals in Keos: a first approach' in P.G. Marinos and G.C. Koukis (eds) The Engineering Geology of Ancient Works, Monuments and Historical Sites: Preservation and Protection, Rotterdam and Brookfield. 1739-45.
Childe V.G. 1936 Man Makes Himself,. London: Watts.
Conophagos, C. 1980 Le Laurium antique et la technique grécque de la production de l'argent, Athens.
Craddock, P.T. 1995 Early Metal Mining and Production, Edinburgh. https://doi.org/10.2355/isijinternational.54.1085
Craddock, P.T. 2000 'Reconstruction of the salt cementation process at the Sardis refinery' in E. Ramage and P.T. Craddock (eds) King Croesus' Gold: Excavations at Sardis and the history of gold refining, London: British Museum Press, 200-11.
Craddock, P.T. 2014 'Production of silver across the ancient world', ISIJ International 54, 1085-92.
Davis, E.N. 1977 The Vapheio Cups and Aegean Gold and Silver Ware, Oxford: Garland Publishing Inc.
Davis, J.L. and Cherry, J.F. 1990 'Spatial and temporal uniformitarianism in Late Cycladic I: perspectives from Kea and Milos on the prehistory of Akrotiri' in D. Hardy, C.G. Doumas, J.A. Sakellarakis and P.M. Warren (eds) Thera and the Aegean World III, London: The Thera Foundation. 185-200.
Davis, J.L. and Stocker, S.R. 2016 'The Lord of the Gold Rings: the Griffin Warrior of Pylos', Hesperia: The Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens 85(4), 627–55. https://doi.org/10.2972/hesperia.85.4.0627
Davis, J.L. and Stocker, S.R. 2018 'The gold necklace from the grave of the Griffin Warrior at Pylos', Hesperia: The Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens 87(4), 611–32. https://doi.org/10.2972/hesperia.87.4.0611
De Jesus, P.S. 1980 The Development of Prehistoric Mining and Metallurgy in Anatolia, Oxford: BAR International Series 74.
Desaulty, A-M., Telouk, P., Albalat, E. and Albarède, F. 2011 'Isotopic Ag-Cu-Pb record of silver circulation through 16th-18th century Spain', PNAS 108, 9002-7. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1018210108
Dickinson, O. 1977 The Origins of Mycenaean Civilization, Götenberg.
Dickinson, O. 2006 The Aegean from Bronze Age to Iron Age: Continuity and Change Between the Twelfth and Eighth Centuries BC, London: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203968369
Domergue, C. 2008 Les mines antiques: la production des métaux aux époques grecque et romaine, Paris.
Efe, T. and Fidan, E. 2006 'Pre-Middle Bronze Age metal objects from inland Western Anatolia: a typological and chronological evaluation', Anatolia Antiqua XIV, 15-43. https://doi.org/10.3406/anata.2006.1062
Ellis Jones, J. 1982 'The Laurion silver mines: a review of recent researches and results', Greece and Rome 29(2), 169-83. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0017383500027522
Forbes, R.J. 1950 Metallurgy in Antiquity: A notebook for archaeologists and technologists., Leiden.
Forsyth, P.Y. 1997 Thera in the Bronze Age (American University Studies), New York: Peter Lang.
Friend, J.N. and Thorneycroft, W.E. 1929 'The silver content of specimens of ancient and medieval lead', Journal of the Institute of Metals XLI, 105-17.
Gale, N.H. 1978 'Lead isotopes and Aegean metallurgy' in C. Doumas (ed) Thera and the Aegean World I, London: Aris and Phillips. 529–45.
Gale, N.H. 1980 'Some aspects of lead and silver mining in the Aegean' in C. Doumas, J.A. Sakellarakis and D.A. Hardy (eds) Thera and the Ancient World II, Volume 2, London: The Thera Foundation. 161-196.
Gale, N.H. and Stos-Gale, Z.A. 1981a 'Cycladic lead and silver metallurgy', Annual of the British School at Athens 76, 169-224. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0068245400019523
Gale, N.H. and Stos-Gale, Z.A. 1981b 'Lead and silver in the Ancient Aegean', Scientific American 244, 176-93. https://doi.org/10.1038/scientificamerican0681-176
Gale, N.H. and Stos-Gale, Z.A. 1981c 'Ancient Egyptian silver', Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 67, 103-15. https://doi.org/10.2307/3856605
Gale, N.H. and Stos-Gale, Z.A. 1987 'Cross-cultural Minoan networks and development of metallurgy in Bronze Age Crete' in S. La Niece, D. Hook and P. Craddock (eds) Metals and Mines: Studies in Archaeometallurgy, London. 103-11.
Gale, N.H., Gentner, W. and Wagner, G.A. 1980 'Mineralogical and geographical silver sources of archaic Greek coinage' in D.M. Metcalf and W.A. Oddy (eds) Metallurgy in Numismatics I, London: The Royal Numismatics Society. 3-49.
Gale, N.H., Stos-Gale, Z.A. and Davis, J.L. 1984 'The provenance of lead used at Ayria Irini, Keos', Hesperia 53, 389-406. https://doi.org/10.2307/148020
Georgakopoulou, M. 2018 'Metal production, working and consumption across the sites at Dhaskalio and Kavos' in C. Renfrew, O. Philaniotou, N. Brodie, G. Gavalas and M.J. Boyd (eds) The Marble Finds from Kavos and the Archaeology of Ritual, Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, McDonald Institute Monographs. 501–32.
Gitler, H., Ponting, M. and Tal, O. 2008 'Metallurgical analysis of Southern Palestinian coins of the Persian period', INR 3, 13-27.
Gitler, H., Ponting, M. and Tal, O. 2009 'Athenian Tetradrachms from Tel Mikhal (Israel): a metallurgical perspective', AJN 21, 29-49.
Hauptmann, A., Klein, S., Paoletti, P., Zettler, R.L. and Jansen, M. 2018 'Types of gold, types of silver: the composition of precious metal artifacts found in the Royal Tombs of Ur, Mesopotamia', Zeitschrift für Assyriologie 108, 100–31. https://doi.org/10.1515/za-2018-0007
Hauptmann, A., Schmitt-Strecker, S., Begemann, F. and Palmieri, A. 2002 'Chemical composition and lead isotropy of metal objects from the 'Royal' tomb and other related finds at Arslantepe, Eastern Anatolia', Paléorient 28, 43-70. https://doi.org/10.3406/paleo.2002.4745
Healy, J.F. 1978 Mining and Metallurgy in the Greek and Roman World, London: Thames and Hudson.
Healy, J.F. 1999 Pliny the Elder on Science and Technology, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Hess, K., Hauptmann, A., Wright, H. and Whallon, R. 1998 'Evidence of fourth millennium BC silver production at Fatmali-Kalecik, East Anatolia', Metallurgica Antiqua 8, 57-67.
Hoover, H.C. and Hoover, L.H. 1950 Georgius Agricola: De re metallica, New York.
Hopper, R.J. 1968 'The Laurion mines: a reconsideration', Annual of the British School at Athens 63, 293-326. https://doi.org/10.1017/S006824540001443X
Kakavogianni, O., Douni, K. and Nezeri, F. 2008 'Silver metallurgical finds dating from the end of the Final Neolithic Period until the Middle Bronze Age in the Area of Mesogeia' in I. Tzachili (ed) Aegean Metallurgy in the Bronze Age, Proceedings of an International Symposium Held at the University of Crete, Rethymnon, Greece, on November 19-21, 2004, Athens. 45-57.
Karakaya, I. and Thompson, W.T. 1987 'The Ag-Pb (silver-lead) system', Bulletin of Alloy Phase Diagrams 8, 326–34. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02869268
Karo, G. 1930/1933 Die Schachtgräber von Mykenai, Munich.
Kassianidou, V. and Knapp, A.B. 2005 'Archaeometallurgy in the Mediterranean: the social context of mining, technology, and trade' in E. Blake and A.B. Knapp (eds) The Archaeology of Mediterranean Prehistory, New Jersey: Blackwell. 215-51. https://doi.org/10.1002/9780470773536.ch9
Kelder, J.M. 2016 'Mycenae, rich in silver' in K. Kleber and R. Pirngruber (eds) Silver, Money and Credit, a Tribute to Robartus J. van der Spek on the Occasion of his 65th Birthday on 18th September 2014, Leiden. 307-17.
Kepper, J. 2004 'A hindered-settling model applied to the flat-washing platforms at Laurium, Greece', Historical Metallurgy 38, 75-83.
Kepper, J. 2005 'Third contact ore mineralogy at Laurium, Greece', Historical Metallurgy 39, 1-11.
Kilias, S.P., Naden, J., Cheliotis, I., Shepherd, T.J., Constandinidou, H., Crossing, J. and Simos, I. 2001 'Epithermal gold mineralisation in the active Aegean volcanic arc: the profit is Ilias deposit, Milos Island, Greece', Miner. Deposita 36, 32-44. https://doi.org/10.1007/s001260050284
Klein, S. and Hauptmann, A. 2016 'Ur, Mesopotamia: the lead metal from Pit X', Metalla 22(1), 136-40.
Kraay, C. 1976 Archaic and Classical Coins, London: Methuen.
Krysko, W.W. 1988 'Possible composition of early ores at Thorikos' in J. Ellis-Jones (ed) Aspects of Ancient Mining and Metallurgy: Acta of a British School at Athens Centenary Conference at Bangor, 1986, Bangor. 88-92.
Legarra Herrero, B. 2004 'About the distribution of metal objects in Prepalatial Crete', Papers from the Institute of Archaeology 15, 29-51. https://doi.org/10.5334/pia.226
L'Heritier, M., Baron, S., Cassayre, L. and Tereygeol, F. 2015 'Bismuth behaviour during ancient processes of silver-lead production', Journal of Archaeological Science 57, 56-68. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2015.02.002
McConnell, J.R., Wilson, A.I., Stohl, A., Arienzo, M.M., Chellman, N.J., Eckhardt, S., Thompson, E.M., Pollard, A.M. and Steffensen, J.P. 2018 'Lead pollution recorded in Greenland ice indicates European emissions tracked plagues, wars, and imperial expansion during antiquity', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115, 5726-31. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1721818115
McKerrell, H. and Stevenson, R.B.K. 1972 'Some analyses of Anglo-Saxon and associated Oriental silver coinage' in E.T. Hall and D.M. Metcalf (eds) Methods of Chemical and Metallurgical Investigation of Ancient Coinage, London: Royal Numismatic Society. 195-209.
Meyers, P. 2003 'Production, distribution, and control of silver: information provided by elemental composition of ancient silver objects' in L. van Zelst (ed) Patterns and Process: A Festschrift in Honor of Dr Edward V. Sayre, Washington, DC. 271–88.
Mishara, J. and Meyers, P. 1974 'Ancient Egyptian silver: a review' in A. Bishay (ed) Recent Advances in Science and Technology of Materials, Proceedings of the Cairo Solid State Conference III, New York: Plenum Press. 29-45. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4684-7233-2_3
Moorey, P.R.S. 1994 Ancient Mesopotamian Materials and Industries: The Archaeological Evidence, Oxford: Clarendon.
Montero-Ruiz, I., Geber, M, Hunt, M., Renzi, M. and Rovira, S. 2008 'Caracterización analítica de la producción metalúrgica protohistórica de plata en Cataluña', Revista d'Arqueologia de Ponent 18, 292-316.
Moureau, S. and Thomas, N. 2016 'Understanding texts with the help of experimentation: the example of cupellation in Arabic scientific literature', Ambix 63, 98-117. https://doi.org/10.1080/00026980.2016.1216691
Muller, O. and Gentner W. 1979 'On the composition and silver sources of Aeginetan coins from the Asyut Hoard', Archaeo-Physika 10 , Proceedings of the 18th international symposium on archaeometry and archaeological prospection, Bonn, 14-17 March 1978, Rheinisches Landesmuseum Bonn. 176-93.
Murillo-Barroso, M., Montero-Ruiz, I., Rafel, N., Hunt-Ortiz, M.A. and Armada, X-L. 2016 'The macro-regional scale of silver production in Iberia during the first millennium BCE in the context of Mediterranean contacts', Oxford Journal of Archaeology 35, 75-100. https://doi.org/10.1111/ojoa.12079
Mussche, H.F. 1974 Thorikos: A guide to the excavation, Bruxelles: Comité des fouilles belges en Grèce. https://doi.org/10.3406/antiq.2006.2607
Mussche, H.F. 1998 Thorikos. A mining town in ancient Attika, Ghent: Comité des fouilles belges en Grèce.
Mussche H.F. 2006 'More about the silver-rich lead of Ancient Laurion', L'antiquité Classique 75, 225-30.
Mylonas, G.E. 1973 Ho Taphikos Kyklos B ton Mykenonv, Athens.
Nezafati, N. and Pernicka, E. 2012 'Early silver production in Iran', Iranian Archaeology 3, 37-45.
Özgüç, T. and Özgüç, N. 1953 Türk Tarih Kurumu tarafından yapılan Kültepe kazısı raporu, 1949, Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu yayınlarından V/12.
OXALID 2020 Oxford Archaeological Lead Isotope Database http://oxalid.arch.ox.ac.uk/ [Last accessed: 2 March 2020].
Papadopoulos, S. 2008 'Silver and copper production practices in the prehistoric settlement at Limenaria, Thasos' in I. Tzachili (ed) Aegean Metallurgy in the Bronze Age, Proceedings of an International Symposium Held at the University of Crete, Rethymnon, Greece, on November 19-21, 2004, Athens. 59–67.
Patterson, C.C. 1971 'Native copper, silver, and gold accessible to early metallurgists', American Antiquity 36, 286-321. https://doi.org/10.2307/277716
Pernicka, E. 1981 'Archaometallurgische untersuchungen zur antiken silbergewinnung in Laurion: I. Chemishe Analyse griechischer Blei-Silber-Erze'', Erzmetall 34, 396-400.
Pernicka, E. and Bachmann, H.G. 1983 'Archäometallurgische Untersuchungen zur antiken Silbergewinnung in Laurion: III. Das Verhalten einiger Spurenelemente beim Abtreiben des Bleis', Erzmetall 36, 592-97.
Pernicka, E. and Wagner, G.A. 1985 'Die metallurgische Bedeutung von Sifnos im Altertum' in G.A. Wagner, G. Weisgerber and W. Kroker (eds) Silber, Blei und Gold auf Sifnos : prähistorische und antike Metallproduktion, Bochum. 200-11.
Pernicka, E., Gentner, W., Wagner, G.A., Vavelidis, M. and Gale, N.H. 1981 'Ancient lead and silver production on Thasos (Greece)', Revue d'Archéométrie, Supplement 1981, Actes du XXe symposium international d'archéométrie Paris 26-29 mars 1980 Volume III. 227-37. https://doi.org/10.3406/arsci.1981.1151
Pernicka, E., Wagner, G.A., Assimenos, K., Doumas, C., Begemann, F. and Todt, W. 1983 'An analytical study of prehistoric lead and silver objects from the Aegean' in A. Aspinall and S.E. Warren (eds) Proceedings of the 22nd Symposium on Archaeometry, Bradford. 292-302.
Pernicka E., Rehren, T. and Schmitt-Strecker, S. 1998 'Late Uruk silver production by cupellation at Habuba Kabira, Syria' in T. Rehren, A. Hauptmann and J.D. Muhly (eds) Metallurgica Antiqua: In honour of Hans-Gert Bachmann and Robert Maddin, Bochum. 123-34.
Perreault, C. 2019 The Quality of the Archaeological Record, Chicago. https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226631011.001.0001
Plenderleith, H.J. 1934 'Metals and metal technique' in C.L. Woolley (ed) Ur Excavations II: The Royal cemetery. A report on the Predynastic and Sargonid graves excavated between 1926 and 1931, London/Philadelphia: British Museum/Museum of the University of Pennsylvania, 284-98. http://www.etana.org/sites/default/files/coretexts/20263.pdf [Last accessed: 11 March 2020].
Prag, K. 1978 'Silver in the Levant in the fourth millennium BC' in P.R.S. Moorey, and P. Parr (eds) Archaeology in the Levant. Essays for Kathleen Kenyon, Warminster. 36–45.
Predel, B., Hoch, M. and Pool, M.J. 2004 Phase Diagrams and Heterogeneous Equilibria: A Practical Introduction, Berlin. 25-26. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-09276-7
Reedy, C. and Reedy, T. 1988 'Lead isotope analysis for provenance studies in the Aegean region: a re-evaluation', MRS Proceedings 123, 65-70. https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-123-65
Rehren T. and Prange M. 1998 'Lead metal and patina: a comparison' in T. Rehren, A. Hauptmann and J.D. Muhly (eds) Metallurgica Antiqua: In honour of Hans-Gert Bachmann and Robert Maddin, Der Anschnitt 8, Bochum: Deutsches Bergbau-Museum. 183-96.
Rehren, T., Vanhove, D., Mussche, H. and Oikonomakou, M. 1999 'Litharge from Laurion: a medical and metallurgical commodity from South Attika', L'Antiquité Classique T.68, 299-308. https://doi.org/10.3406/antiq.1999.1348
Rehren, T., Vanhove, D. and Mussche, H. 2002 'Ores from the ore washeries in the Lavriotiki', Metalla (Bochum) 9(1), 27-46.
Renfrew, C. 1967 'Cycladic metallurgy and the Aegean Bronze Age', American Journal of Archaeology 71, 1-20. https://doi.org/10.2307/501585
Rickard, T.A. 1928 'The mining of the Romans in Spain', The Journal of Roman Studies 18, 129-43. https://doi.org/10.2307/296070
Salkield, L.U. 1982 'The Roman and Pre-Roman slags at Rio Tinto Spain' in T.A. Wertime and S.F. Wertime (eds) Early Pyrotechnology: The evolution of the first fire-using industries, Washington DC, 137-47.
Salkield, L.U. 1987 A Technical History of the Rio Tinto Mines: some notes on exploitation from pre-Phoenician times to the 1950s, London: The Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-009-3377-4
Scott, D.A. 2010 Ancient Metals: Microstructure and Metallurgy: Vol. 1, Los Angeles: Conservation Science Press.
Servais, J. 1967 'Les fouilles sur le haut du Vélatouri' in H.F. Mussche, J. Bingen, J. Servais, J. De Geyter, T. Hackens, P. Spitaels and A. Gautier (eds) Thorikos III 1965, Brussels. 24-7.
Sherratt, S. 2000 Catalogue of Cycladic Antiquities in the Ashmolean Museum: The captive spirit I, Oxford.
Shepherd, R. 1993 Ancient Mining, London and New York: Elsevier Applied Science.
Sisco, A.G. and Smith, C.S. 1951 Erker's Treatise on Ores and Assaying, Chicago.
Skarpelis, N. 2002 'Geodynamics and evolution of the miocene mineralization in the Cycladic-Pelagonian belt, Hellenides', Bulletin Geological Society of Greece 34, 2191-206. https://doi.org/10.12681/bgsg.16862
Smith, C.S. 1967 'The interpretation of microstructures of metallic artefacts' in W. Young (ed) Application of Science in the Examination of Works of Art, Boston. 69-111.
Spitaels, P. 1984 'The Early Helladic period in Mine no. 3 (theatre sector)' in H.F. Mussche, , J. Bingen, J. Servais and P. Spitaels (eds) Thorikos VIII 1972-1976, Ghent. 151-74.
Stos-Gale, Z.A. 2014 'Silver vessels in the Mycenaean Shaft Graves and their origin in the context of the metal supply in the Bronze Age Aegean' in H.H. Meller, R. Risch and E. Pernicka (eds) Metals of Power - Early gold and silver, Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie Sachsen-Anhalt and Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte Halle (Saale). 183-208.
Stos-Gale, Z.A. and Gale, N.H. 1982 'The sources of Mycenaean silver and lead', Journal of Field Archaeology 9, 467-85. https://doi.org/10.1179/009346982791504490
Stos-Gale, Z.A. and Macdonald, C.F. 1991 'Sources of metals and trade in the Bronze Age Aegean' in N.H Gale (ed) Bronze Age Trade in the Mediterranean: papers presented at the Conference held at Rewley House, Oxford, in December 1989, Uppsala: Åström. 249-88.
Stos-Gale, Z.A., Gale, N.H., Houghton, J. and Speakman, R. 1995 'Lead isotope data from the Isotrace Laboratory, Oxford: archaeometry data base 1, ores from the Western Mediterranean', Archaeometry 37, 407-15. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-4754.1995.tb00753.x
Strong, D.E. 1966 Greek and Roman Gold and Silver Plate, London: Methuen.
Tartaron, T. 2013 Maritime Networks in the Mycenaean World, Cambridge. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139017374
Treister, M.Y. 1996 The Role of Metals in Ancient Greek History, Leiden: Brill. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004329829
Tylecote, R.F. 1987 The Early History of Metallurgy in Europe, London: Longman.
Vavelidis, M., Bassiakos, I., Begemann, F., Patriarcheas, K., Pernicka, E., Schmitt-Strecker, S. and Wagner, G.A. 1985 'Geologie und Erzvorkommen' in G.A. Wagner, G. Weisgerber and W. Kroker (eds) Silber, Blei und Gold auf Sifnos : prähistorische und antike Metallproduktion, Bochum. 59–80.
Voudouris, P. 2005 'Gold and silver mineralogy of the Lavrion deposit, Attika, Greece' in J. Mao and F.P. Bierlein (eds) Mineral Deposit Research: Meeting the global challenge, Berlin. 1089–92. https://doi.org/10.1007/3-540-27946-6_278
Voudouris, P. and Economou-Eliopoulos, M. 2003 'Mineralogy and chemistry of Cu-rich ores from the Kamariza carbonate-hosted deposit (Lavrion), Greece' in D. Eliopoulos (ed) Mineral Exploration and Sustainable Development, Rotterdam. 1039-42.
Voudouris, P., Melfos, V., Spry, P.G., Bonsall, T. A., Tarkian, M. and Solomos, C. 2008 'Carbonate-replacement Pb-Zn-Ag ± Au mineralization in the Kamariza area, Lavrion, Greece: Mineralogy and thermochemical conditions of formation', Mineralogy and Petrology 94, 85-106. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00710-008-0007-4
Wagner, G.A. and Weisgerber, G. 1985 'Silver lead and gold on Siphnos – prehistoric and antique metal production' in G.A. Wagner, G. Weisgerber and W. Kroker (eds) Silber, Blei und Gold auf Sifnos : prähistorische und antike Metallproduktion, Bochum. 229-32.
Wagner, G.A., Gentner, W., Gropengiessner, H. and Gale, N.H. 1980 'Early Bronze Age lead-silver mining and metallurgy in the Aegean: the ancient workings on Siphnos' in P.T. Craddock (ed) Scientific Studies in Early Mining and Extractive Metallurgy, London. 143-72.
Wanhill, R.J.H. 2003 'Ancient silver embrittlement: significances of copper, lead and cold-deformation', National Aerospace Laboratory NLR, NLR-TP-2003-617.
Wanhill, R.J.H., Steijaert, J.P.H.M., Leenheer, R. and Koens, J.F.W. 1998 'Damage assessment and preservation of an Egyptian silver vase (300-200 BC)', Archaeometry 40, 123-37. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-4754.1998.tb00828.x
Weeks, L. 2013 'Iranian metallurgy of the fourth millennium BC in its wider technological and cultural contexts' in C.A. Petrie (ed) Ancient Iran and its Neighbours: Local developments and long-range interactions in the fourth-millennium BC. Oxford: British Institute of Persian Studies/Oxbow Books. 277-91. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctvh1dn46.19
Weisgerber, G. and Heindich, G. 1983 'Laurion - und kein Ende? Kritische Bemerkungen zum Forschungsstand über eines der bedeutendsten antiken Bergreviere', Der Anschnitt 35, 190-200.
Weisgerber, G. and Pernicka, E. 1995 'Ore mining in prehistoric Europe: an overview' in G. Morteani and J.P. Northover (eds) Prehistoric Gold in Europe. Dordrecht. 159-82. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-015-1292-3_12
Wertime, T.A. 1968 'A metallurgical expedition through the Persian desert', Science 159, 927-35. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.159.3818.927
Wertime, T.A. 1973 'The beginnings of metallurgy: a new look', Science 182, 875-87. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.182.4115.875
Wood, J.R. 2019 The transmission of silver and silver extraction technology across the Mediterranean in Late Prehistory: An archaeological science approach to investigating the westward expansion of the Phoenicians, Unpublished PhD thesis, University College London (UCL). https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10070018/
Wood, J.R. and Montero-Ruiz I. 2019 'Semi-refined silver for the silversmiths of the Iron Age Mediterranean: a mechanism for the elusiveness of Iberian silver', Trabajos de Prehistoria 76, 272-85. https://doi.org/10.3989/tp.2019.12237
Wood, J.R. and Hsu, Y-T. 2019 'An archaeometallurgical explanation for the disappearance of Egyptian and Near Eastern Cobalt-Blue glass at the end of the Late Bronze Age', Internet Archaeology 52. https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.52.3
Wood, J.R., Charlton, M.J., Murillo-Barroso, M. and Martinón-Torres, M. 2017a 'Gold parting, iridium and provenance of ancient silver: a reply to Pernicka', Journal of Archaeological Science 86, 127-30. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2017.07.005
Wood, J.R., Charlton, M.J., Murillo-Barroso, M. and Martinón-Torres, M. 2017b 'Iridium to provenance ancient silver', Journal of Archaeological Science 81, 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2017.03.002
Wood, J.R., Montero-Ruiz, I. and Martinón-Torres, M. 2019 'From Iberia to the Southern Levant: the movement of silver across the Mediterranean in the Early Iron Age', Journal of World Prehistory 32, 1-31. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10963-018-09128-3
Wood, J.R., Montero-Ruiz, I. and Bell, C. 2020 'The origin of the Tel Dor hacksilver and the westward expansion of the Phoenicians in the Early iron Age', Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies 8, 1-21. https://doi.org/10.5325/jeasmedarcherstu.8.1.0001
Yahalom-Mack, N., Langgut, D., Dvir, O., Tirosh, O., Eliyahu-Behar, A., Erel, Y., Langford, B., Frumkin, A., Ullman, M. and Davidovich, O. 2015 'The earliest lead object in the Levant', PLoS ONE 10, e0142948. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0142948
Yener, K.A., Sayre, E.V., Joel, E.C., Özbal, H., Barnes, I.L. and Brill, R.H. 1991 'Stable lead isotope studies of Central Taurus ore sources and related artifacts from Eastern Mediterranean Chalcolithic and Bronze Age sites', Journal of Archaeological Science 18, 541-77. https://doi.org/10.1016/0305-4403(91)90053-R
Zaccagnini, C. 1983 'Patterns of mobility among ancient Near Eastern craftsmen', Journal of Near Eastern Studies 42, 245–64. https://doi.org/10.1086/373031
Zhou, J. 2010 'Process mineralogy of silver ores and applications in flowsheet design and plant optimization' in D. Fragomeni (ed) Proceedings 2010, 42nd Annual Meeting of the Canadian Mineral Processors: held at the Westin Hotel, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 19th, 20th and 21st January 2010; 2010 Proceedings, Ottawa. 143-61.
Internet Archaeology is an open access journal based in the Department of Archaeology, University of York. Except where otherwise noted, content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY) Unported licence, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided that attribution to the author(s), the title of the work, the Internet Archaeology journal and the relevant URL/DOI are given.
Internet Archaeology content is preserved for the long term with the Archaeology Data Service. Help sustain and support open access publication by donating to our Open Access Archaeology Fund.