2 July 2022 The Future is the Product of the Past

New research reveals the true function of Bronze Age daggers

A new study led by Newcastle University has revealed that the analysis of Bronze Age daggers has shown that they were used for processing animal carcasses and not as non-functional symbols of identity and status, as previously thought.

First appearing in the early 4th millennium BCE, copper-alloy daggers were widespread in Bronze Age Europe including Britain and Ireland. Yet archaeologists have long debated what these objects were used for.

As daggers are often found in weapon-rich male burials, or “warrior graves”, many researchers speculated that they were primarily ceremonial objects used in prehistoric funerals to mark out the identity and status of the deceased. Others suggested that they may have been used as weapons or tools for crafts.  

However, the lack of a targeted method of analysis for copper-alloy metals, like those available for ceramic, stone, and shell artifacts, left this problem unresolved.

( A ) Site konumu, ( B ) A, B ve C kazı alanlarını vurgulayan sitenin havadan görünümü (kaynak: Google Earth), ( C ) Araştırma kapsamında incelenen bakır alaşımlı hançerler. Source: Scientific Reports
( A ) Site konumu, ( B ) A, B ve C kazı alanlarını vurgulayan sitenin havadan görünümü (kaynak: Google Earth), ( C ) Araştırma kapsamında incelenen bakır alaşımlı hançerler. Source: Scientific Reports

A revolutionary new method, pioneered by an international research team led by Newcastle University, UK, has enabled the world’s first extraction of organic residues from ten copper-alloy daggers excavated in 2017 from Pragatto, a Bronze Age settlement site in Italy. The new method reveals, for the first time, how these objects were used, for what tasks, and on what materials.

The project team, led by Dr. Andrea Dolfini and Isabella Caricola, developed a technique that used Picro-Sirius Red (PSR) solution to stain organic residues on the daggers. The residues were then observed under several types of optical, digital, and scanning electron microscopes. This allowed the team to identify micro-residues of collagen and associated bone, muscle, and bundle tendon fibres, suggesting that the daggers had come into contact with multiple animal tissues and were used to process various types of animal carcasses. Uses seem to have included the slaughtering of livestock, butchering carcasses, and carving the meat from the bone.

The EU-funded project team then carried out wide-ranging experiments with replicas of the daggers that had been created by an expert bronzesmith. This showed that this type of dagger was well suited to processing animal carcasses. The residues extracted from the experimental daggers were also analysed as part of the research and matched those observed on the archaeological daggers.

Professor Andrea Dolfini, Chair of Archaeology, Newcastle University, said: “The research has revealed that it is possible to extract and characterise organic residues from ancient metals, extending the range of materials that can be analysed in this way. This is a significant breakthrough as the new method enables the analysis of a wide variety of copper-alloy tools and weapons from anywhere in the world. The possibilities are endless, and so are the answers that the new method can and will provide in the future.”

Newcastle University 

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-09983-3

Banner
Related Post

Millennia-Old İron Production Facilities Found in Iran

2 May 2021

2 May 2021

Archaeologists have uncovered many millennia-old iron manufacturing sites in a historical village in southcentral Iran. A local tourism official declared...

A secret chamber has been found in the famous Gorham Cave Complex

29 September 2021

29 September 2021

A cave chamber sealed off by sand for some 40,000 years has been discovered in Vanguard Cave inside the Gorham’s...

Burials covered in red dye discovered in Serbian barrows

18 February 2022

18 February 2022

Polish archaeologists excavating two barrow mounds in Vojvodina, in the northern part of the Republic of Serbia, have uncovered the...

An Urartian female executive grave was found at the Çavuştepe Mound

9 September 2021

9 September 2021

The grave of an Urartian, who was buried with his horse, cattle, and dog, had been found recently. Today, another...

A Little-Known Civilization in the Americas Built Pyramids as Old as Ancient Egypt

26 June 2022

26 June 2022

Considered the cradle of civilization in the Americas, the Sacred City of Caral-Supe is a 5000-year-old archaeological site, situated on...

New discoveries announced at Sanxingdui Ruins

20 March 2021

20 March 2021

Chinese archaeologists announced on Saturday that some new major discoveries have been made at the legendary Sanxingdui site in southwestern...

Shetland Discoveries Seem Close to Uncovering Ancient Viking Capital

4 July 2021

4 July 2021

Important discoveries were made on the last day of excavations to find the ancient Viking capital of Shetland, through the...

On the beach of Herculaneum, a victim of the Vesuvius explosion was discovered with his bag

4 December 2021

4 December 2021

Archaeologists released haunting images Wednesday of the skeletal remains of a man buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in...

Karahantepe; It will radically change the way we look at the Neolithic Age

1 June 2022

1 June 2022

Findings on settled village life in the ongoing excavations in Karahantepe will profoundly change our knowledge of the Neolithic Age....

Norwegian Boy in Search of Granddad’s Wedding Ring Finds 1500-year-old Roman Jewellery

11 August 2021

11 August 2021

Sander Magnus Vang (12) needed to find his grandfather’s lost wedding ring. Instead, he found a 1500-year-old ring. The golden...

A Gold Mourning Ring Found on The Isle of Man

21 April 2021

21 April 2021

The ring found with a metal detector on the Isle of Man in December 2020 will be exhibited in the...

Artificial Intelligence Project That Will Revolutionize Archaeology

5 April 2021

5 April 2021

Polish Scientists to opening a new era in archeology They plan to use artificial intelligence to detect prehistoric cemeteries, castles,...

A Second temple of the Second Temple period was discovered at Migdal

13 December 2021

13 December 2021

The University of Haifa reported on Sunday the discovery of a 2,000-year-old synagogue from the Second Temple era in Migdal,...

Neolithic Age Adults and Children Buried Under Family Homes were not Relative

3 May 2021

3 May 2021

An international team of scientists found that Children and adults buried next to each other in one of the oldest...

The Ancient City of Miletos’s “Sacred Cave” Opened to Visitors

2 October 2021

2 October 2021

In the ancient city of Miletos, which had an important place in the advancement of philosophy, art, and science in...

Comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.