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Title: Metalwork wear analysis: the loss of innocence
Authors: Crellin, Rachel J.
Dolfini, Andrea
First Published: 14-Jan-2016
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Journal of Archaeological Science, 2016, 66, pp. 78-87
Abstract: Metalwork wear-analysis has now been practised for over two decades. In this paper the authors present the achievements of the discipline and critically assess the methodologies currently applied by practitioners. Whilst the achievements and contributions of the discipline to the wider study of archaeology, and to European prehistory in particular, are numerous, it is argued that an increase in scientific rigour and a focus on addressing limitations and open problems is required if metalwork wear-analysis is to flourish as a scientific field of research. Experimentation with higher magnifications and novel microscopic techniques is encouraged, alongside more standardised and explicit analytical protocols for analysis. More details and targeted descriptions of analytical protocols for experimental work are required: experiments must be designed to answer specific questions and address lacunas in knowledge. While at present the majority of practitioners focus their analyses on copper alloys from European prehistory, and most specifically from the Bronze Age, the authors suggest that a far wider range of materials are suitable for analysis including copper alloys from the Americas and iron alloys from historic and ethnographic collections. Expanding the range of materials studied would open the field up and give it far wider relevance to archaeology and material culture studies. Finally, it is argued that the discipline will advance more quickly if practitioners share their reference collections and databases of experimental marks digitally. The authors suggest that the creation of digital reference collections, open to all, would provide metalwork analysts with the opportunity to lead related fields of research such as lithic microwear and residue analysis, where individual reference collections are the norm and cross-comparability of analysis is therefore hindered.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.jas.2015.12.005
ISSN: 0305-4403
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2016, Elsevier. Deposited with reference to the publisher’s archiving policy available on the SHERPA/RoMEO website. Following the embargo period this version is available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License ( ), which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Description: The file associated with this record is under embargo for 12 months from the date of publication.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Archaeology and Ancient History

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