EDXRF and micro-EDXRF studies of Late Bronze Age metallurgical productions from Canedotes (Portugal)
Metallurgical production in Central Portugal during the Late Bronze Age was primarily based on copper-tin alloys, despite influences from the Atlantic area where copper-tin-lead alloys are common. Metallic artefacts from archaeological site of Canedotes (Central Portugal) were analysed by EDXRF to establish the type of alloys present. Polished spots in selected artefacts were also analysed by micro-EDXRF to determine the major and minor elemental composition of the original alloys. The collection constitutes 18 copper-tin artefacts and one unalloyed copper artefact with tin and arsenic as minor constituents. Artefacts that require a thermomechanical finishing process, such as tools and weapons, seem to have improved control over the tin content. The composition of two buttons, one cramp and one metallic droplet suggest that some of the copper sources were rich in arsenic. Finally, the low iron content of the artefacts seems to agree well with the smelting of copper ores in crucible furnaces, a smelting process used in certain areas of the Iberian Peninsula until pre-Roman times.