Metal from the Shushuk archaeological site (the Northwest Caucasus) in the light of chronological and microscopic studies

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The paper presents results of the interdisciplinary study of metal artifacts from the Shushuk archaeological site in Adygea. The site includes burials in cists lined with stone and a settlement. Using analogies from kurgan sites in eastern Europe and the Caucasus and taking into account available radiocarbon dates, the burials are divided into three chronological groups. The first group (beginning of the Middle Bronze Age, 2800-2700 BC) contains items with cast decorative elements of earlier forms (Fig. 1; 2). The metal composition revealed an unexampled high content of arsenic which is explained by primary use of alloys. Morphology of the items referred to the second group (2600-2400 BC) shows transition characteristics typical for the second half of the Early Bronze Agefirst half of the later periods of the Middle Bronze Age. The metal composition demonstrates continuity, with triple alloys containing copper, arsenic and lead (Fig. 3; 4) being an innovation. The third chronological group (the Late Bronze Age, 1800-1600 BC) has three types of copper-based alloys containing tin and arsenic as well as antimony. The types, functions, metal composition and production technologies are correlated (Fig. 5; 6). The metal from the Shushuk settlement dating to the final stage of the Bronze Age (1200 BC) does not demonstrate any correlation with any group of burials (Fig. 7).


Shushuk, bronze age, burials, settlement, tools, jewelry, arsenic, tin, casting, forging

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IDR: 143176017   |   DOI: 10.25681/IARAS.0130-2620.262.384-401

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