Photo: Hans Peter Schaefer

The missing link? Sardinia and the Bronze Age Metal Trade between Scandinavia, Atlantic Europe and the Mediterranean.

Research project
Active research
Project period
2021 - 2025
Project owner
Department of Historical Studies

Short description

This project aims to investigate the role of Sardinia in the metal trade between Scandinavia, Atlantic Europe and the Mediterranean during the Bronze Age. Recent analyses on bronze finds from Scandinavia provided a relevant idea of the complexity of the European Bronze Age metal trade.

The discovery of Sardinian copper in several artefacts was a highly unexpected result, questioning earlier thoughts about maritime networks and the role of the western Mediterranean as a metal producing region. The purpose of this project is to fill major gaps in our knowledge of how metal trade and exchanges unfolded between Atlantic Europe and the Mediterranean by assessing the role of Sardinian maritime enterprises. Using an interdisciplinary approach, we seek to prove that strategically positioned Sardinia may have dominated sea-borne routes in the long-distance maritime metal trade. To do that the team will:

  • Review old and new archaeological and archaeometallurgical data to attempt drawing maritime exchange routes.
  • Create a much needed and fine-tuned picture of the isotopic and geochemical fields of Sardinian ores to be able to identify with higher security metal of Sardinian origin.
  • Carry out field surveys to identify yet unknown traces of ancient mining in Sardinia.
  • By using appropriate theoretical frameworks, address access to maritime modes of production and metallurgical technologies as a mean to control resource exploitation and consumption patterns.