Plus ça change: pots, crucibles and the development of metallurgy in Chalcolithic Las Pilas (Mojácar, Spain)
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AuthorPino Curbelo, Miguel del; Day, Peter M.; Camalich Massieu, María Dolores; Martín Socas, Dimas; Molina González, Fernando
SE IberiaChalcolithicCeramic petrographySEM
del Pino Curbelo, M., Day, P. M., Massieu, M. D. C., Socas, D. M., & González, F. M. (2019). Plus ça change: pots, crucibles and the development of metallurgy in Chalcolithic Las Pilas (Mojácar, Spain). Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 11(4), 1553-1570.
SponsorshipThis research was funded by the European Commission through a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship entitled BTechnological change at the South-western limits of the Mediterranean basin during the Neolithic and early Chalcolithic: pottery production and consumption^ (NEOMEDPOT, number 659466) and by the I+D research project HAR2016-78197-P, by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness.
This paper considers the structure of production, distribution and consumption of ceramics within Chalcolithic communities of SE Iberia, an important region for modelling social and technological change in the recent prehistory of Eurasia. Our research provides new data through the comparative analysis of domestic and metallurgical ceramics, as well as building and other clayrich materials from the archaeological site of Las Pilas (2875–2620 cal. BC 2σ to 2460–2205 cal. BC 2σ) (Mojácar, Almería). In total, 56 samples are characterised by optical petrography, with SEM analysis of 22 of those individuals, in order to assess firing conditions. Results point to the existence of a local tradition in which domestic and metallurgical wares exhibit important similarities in their production processes. In terms of technology, the assemblage shows a relative homogeneity, although firing conditions, surface treatment and decoration seem to have played an important role in the differentiation of highly symbolic wares from other ceramics. We conclude that raw material procurement and processing at Las Pilas differ from those at other Copper Age sites already studied in SE and SW Iberia. This is in agreement with earlier archaeometallurgical studies on Las Pilas, suggesting the development of local and community-based technological traditions. As such, the paper attempts to bridge the recent divide between re-emergent top-down models and our detailed understandings of technological practice.