Journal of Archaeology The latest articles from Hindawi Publishing Corporation © 2014 , Hindawi Publishing Corporation . All rights reserved. X-Ray Fluorescence Analysis of XII–XIV Century Italian Gold Coins Wed, 08 Oct 2014 12:08:03 +0000 An extensive analytical study has been performed on a large number of gold coins (Norman-Swabian Augustale and Tarì, Grosso of Lucca, Florin of Florence) minted in Italy from the end of XII century to XIV century. The X-ray fluorescence (XRF) technique was used for verifying the composition of the coins. XRF is a nondestructive technique particularly suited for in situ quantitative analysis of gold and minor elements in the precious alloy. The Florins turned out to have a gold content very close to 24 carats (pure gold) although in a couple of cases we observed relatively high concentrations of iron (around 2%) or lead (around 1%). The Grosso of Lucca has a similar composition, with a measured gold content around 97% due to a higher silver percentage (about 2%), with respect to the average Florin. The Augustali analyzed showed, on average, a gold content around 89%. The average gold content of the Tarì analysed is around 72%, with a relatively large variability. The analysis revealed the use of native gold for the coinage of the Florins, excluding the possibility of recycling gold coming from other sources. On the other hand, the variability observed in the compositions of the Tarì and Augustali could suggest the reuse of Islamic and North African gold. The study could shed some light on the sudden diffusion of gold coins in Italy around the first half of XIII century, allowing hypotheses on the provenience of the gold used for a coinage that dominated the economic trades from then on. Monica Baldassarri, Gildo de Holanda Cavalcanti, Marco Ferretti, Astrik Gorghinian, Emanuela Grifoni, Stefano Legnaioli, Giulia Lorenzetti, Stefano Pagnotta, Luciano Marras, Eleonora Violano, Marco Lezzerini, and Vincenzo Palleschi Copyright © 2014 Monica Baldassarri et al. All rights reserved. Lanthanides Revealing Anthropogenic Impact within a Stratigraphic Sequence Wed, 16 Jul 2014 11:01:28 +0000 Difficulties to differentiate between anthropogenic and natural processes in the formation of archaeological deposits are crucial for a correct interpretation not only of the actions involved in the development of archaeological sites, but also of their occupation-abandonment dynamics and the understanding of their spatial behaviors and relationship with the environment. We have carried out lanthanides (rare earth elements “REE”) analysis to distinguish anthropogenic from natural stratigraphic units in sediments using the advantage of the high sensibility, precision, and accuracy of ICP-MS measurements. In the Neolithic site of Mas d’Is (Alacant, Spain), we have applied REE analysis in a huge stratigraphic sequence called Pit 6, which was known to contain a large anthropogenic component. Randomly collected soil samples were sequentially taken in order to identify anthropogenic soil formations and to prove the proposed method blind testing has been used. In the specific case of Mas d’Is excavation a recurring question is whether paleosols are at the origin of the human occupation of the sites or it was the occupation of this areas which triggered the paleosols development. Our purpose was to distinguish the degree of human contribution to paleosols formation between samples sequentially taken at few centimeters of distances in a giant stratigraphic sequence (Pit 6) employing REE analysis. Gianni Gallello, Agustín Pastor, Agustín Diez, and Joan Bernabeu Copyright © 2014 Gianni Gallello et al. All rights reserved. Nondestructive Analysis of Silver Coins Minted in Taras (South Italy) between the V and the III Centuries BC Mon, 16 Jun 2014 00:00:00 +0000 This work enters in an interdisciplinary research project involving the archaeometrical analysis of ancient silver coins minted in the Greek colony of Taras (the modern south Italian town of Taranto) between the V century BC and the III century BC. In this work, by comparing the results obtained from X-ray microanalysis data acquired from the least corroded surface areas and the cross-section of coins from SEM-EDX and from XRF analysis, we have demonstrated that analysed coins exhibited a corrosion layer no more than 25 μm and that surface silver enrichment was less than 1 wt%. Thus, the data obtained by using X-ray microanalysis from surface may not significantly differ from the original bulk composition. Our results demonstrate that the silver content in the coins decreases considerably ranging from about 97% for the older down to 80% for the ones of 3rd Evans period (300–270 BC), corresponding to the significant social change in the period. Alessandro Buccolieri, Giovanni Buccolieri, Emanuela Filippo, Daniela Manno, Giuseppe Sarcinelli, Aldo Siciliano, Rosa Vitale, and Antonio Serra Copyright © 2014 Alessandro Buccolieri et al. All rights reserved. Analysis of the Quintilii’s Villa Bronzes by Spectroscopy Techniques Wed, 26 Feb 2014 09:27:30 +0000 The aim of this work is the characterization, with different diagnostic tests, of three fragments of bronze artefacts recovered from the Villa of the Quintilii (located in the south of Rome). In particular, the sample alloys were investigated by different chemical and morphological analysis. Firstly, an analysis of the alloy, implemented through the electronic spectroscopy, was taken to discriminate the bronze morphology and its elemental composition. Subsequently, a surface analysis was realized by molecular spectroscopy to identify the alteration patinas on surfaces (such as bronze disease). Two diagnostic techniques are used for the alloy analysis: scanning electron microscopy (SEM) connected to the EDX spectroscopy (to study the morphology and alloy composition) and Auger electron spectroscopy (AES) (to identify the oxidation state of each element). Moreover, for the study of surface patinas, IR and Raman spectroscopies were implemented. All studies were performed on the “as received” samples, covered by a thin layer of excavated soil and on samples processed in an aqueous solution of sulphuric acid (10%), to remove patinas and alterations. Fabio Stranges, Mauro La Russa, Antonino Oliva, and Giuliana Galli Copyright © 2014 Fabio Stranges et al. All rights reserved. Chirping for Large-Scale Maritime Archaeological Survey: A Strategy Developed from a Practical Experience-Based Approach Wed, 29 Jan 2014 13:36:28 +0000 Archaeological wrecks exposed on the sea floor are mapped using side-scan and multibeam techniques, whereas the detection of submerged archaeological sites, such as Stone Age settlements, and wrecks, partially or wholly embedded in sea-floor sediments, requires the application of high-resolution subbottom profilers. This paper presents a strategy for cost-effective, large-scale mapping of previously undetected sediment-embedded sites and wrecks based on subbottom profiling with chirp systems. The mapping strategy described includes (a) definition of line spacing depending on the target; (b) interactive surveying, for example, immediate detailed investigation of potential archaeological anomalies on detection with a denser pattern of subbottom survey lines; (c) onboard interpretation during data acquisition; (d) recognition of nongeological anomalies. Consequently, this strategy differs from those employed in several detailed studies of known wreck sites and from the way in which geologists map the sea floor and the geological column beneath it. The strategy has been developed on the basis of extensive practical experience gained during the use of an off-the-shelf 2D chirp system and, given the present state of this technology, it appears well suited to large-scale maritime archaeological mapping. Ole Grøn and Lars Ole Boldreel Copyright © 2014 Ole Grøn and Lars Ole Boldreel. All rights reserved. Nonlinear Systems Theory, Feminism, and Postprocessualism Mon, 02 Dec 2013 14:49:34 +0000 This paper explores the insights that nonlinear systems theory can contribute to archaeological theory and method. Dynamical nonlinear systems theory, chaos theory, and complexity theory are first defined, and their interrelationships are discussed. Then chaotic processes are described and exemplified in processes relevant to archaeology. Some applications of nonlinear systems theory in archaeology are briefly reviewed. Next, it is argued that culture is a nonlinear system. Finally, an exploration of similarities, differences, and relationships between nonlinear systems theory, feminist theory, and postprocessual archaeology leads to suggestions for expansions and synergies among these theories. Suzanne M. Spencer-Wood Copyright © 2013 Suzanne M. Spencer-Wood. All rights reserved. Stone Tool Manufacture Strategies and Lithic Raw Material Exploitation in Coastal Patagonia, Argentina: A Multivariate Approach Thu, 21 Nov 2013 15:30:52 +0000 This paper seeks to characterize strategies of artifact manufacture and lithic raw material exploitation along San Matías Gulf coast, Argentina, using multifactorial and cluster analysis. Multifactorial analysis is a relatively new method that has yet to be used for archaeological analysis; it has the advantage that it allows us to describe data using different groups of qualitative or quantitative variables at the same time. Additionally, cluster analysis was conducted on multifactorial axis in a bid to identify grouping patterns. The results obtained from the combination of these two methods suggest that they may be useful in characterizing technological strategies in the study area. Furthermore, they may also be a powerful exploratory and characterization tool able to generate explanations at low spatial scales. The application of these methods on San Matías Gulf study case suggests that along the western and northern coasts of this Gulf the most important variables in determining differences in resource use were the fragmentation ratio and lithic raw materials used in artifact manufacture. Marcelo Cardillo and Jimena Alberti Copyright © 2013 Marcelo Cardillo and Jimena Alberti. All rights reserved. The Visual Brain, Perception, and Depiction of Animals in Rock Art Mon, 22 Jul 2013 13:16:26 +0000 Several aspects of the depiction of animals in rock art can be explained by certain perceptual correlates relating to the visual brain and evolutionary factors. Recent evidence from neuroscience and the visual brain not only corroborates this claim but provides important new findings that can help delineate which graphic features relate to biological/genetic criteria. In addition to highlighting how the insights from visual science and evolutionary studies can promote a greater understanding of the depictive strategies employed to portray animals, this paper will also explore ways in which the findings from these disciplines can be assimilated with semiotics that provide novel insights into the preference for depicting animals in a particular format over an extended period. The emphasis throughout is placed on dual-inheritance theory where culture and evolutionary determinants are seen as complementary. Derek Hodgson Copyright © 2013 Derek Hodgson. All rights reserved. Rock Art Dating and the Peopling of the Americas Thu, 23 May 2013 08:49:11 +0000 The peopling of the Americas is both the oldest and most frequently researched question in American archaeology. Although rarely considered, early art has the potential to provide insight into questions that may be obscured by other kinds of evidence, particularly stone tools. What part did art play in the peopling of the Americas? This question is addressed starting with a reconsideration of rock varnish chronometrics as applied to Great Basin, eastern California, petroglyphs. This demonstrates, conservatively, that the petroglyph tradition began before 11,100 YBP, probably before 12,600 YBP, and potentially in the 14,000 years range. Comparison of these ages with evidence from other regions in the hemisphere demonstrates substantial artistic and stylistic variation in rock art by the Paleoindian period (circa 10,000–11,000 YBP). This suggests that, while art may have been part of the baggage of the first immigrants, regional cultural traditions had already been developed by the Terminal Pleistocene, if not earlier. The result is evidence for the development of regional cultural diversity in the Americas by Paleoindian times. David S. Whitley Copyright © 2013 David S. Whitley. All rights reserved. Neolithic LBK Intrasite Settlement Patterns: A Case Study from Bylany (Czech Republic) Wed, 27 Feb 2013 14:53:31 +0000 This paper could also be a contribution to a new concept for understanding space and time in Neolithic settlements. We abandoned the methodological concept of construction complexes of houses and used individual archaeological features as the basic analytical unit. The analysis of quantitative correlations of decorative style conducted on this basis produced five style groups; four of these belonged to a LBK style, and it was these that were spatially distinct at the Bylany settlement. The discovered spatial patterns of style correspond in general to the existing chronology of the site. This means that chronological horizons understood both as intervals on the time axis and as geographic units are not dependent on “construction complexes” or even on individual houses. The value of this study does not lie in a more detailed chronological division of the Neolithic settlement at Bylany, but in a confirmation of the robustness of its existing form; the study also draws attention to a possible problem in the concept of construction complexes. Petr Květina and Markéta Končelová Copyright © 2013 Petr Květina and Markéta Končelová. All rights reserved.