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Later the Phoenicians took over the Tartessian trade empire. Tin even came from as far afield as Cornwall in England. In the ninth century BC the Phoenicians established international wine trade, initially in the former Tartessia Andalusia , where they originally mined silver, and then later in the Ebro Delta and Ibiza, which would seem to indicate widespread viticulture. Hildalgo assumes that in addition to varieties brought with them from the Orient Negrul: 30 , the Phoenicians also used autochthonous varieties, and evidence suggests the presence of Greek traders from Kios, Miletus and Corinth.

Almost all peoples who colonised the Iberian Peninsula knew about viticulture and the significant trade associated with it. The historical gene pool of grapevine varieties was enriched by the new varieties the Phoenician invaders brought with them. These new varieties were either planted directly as vineyards or bred with the existing local varieties. Today, a complete inventory of grapevine varieties has been made by means of molecular marker techniques.

What remains is for these to be systematically compared with other gene pools. In Portugal itself the dispersal of the grapevine can be traced back to almost years BP, i. These occurrences have to be seen in the context of the state of cultivation at the time; in effect this region of pine and oak forests was transformed into tilled, cultivated lands. The harvesting of grapes for wine making and use as table grapes and raisins can certainly be taken for granted Barros, It was here that he found soil containing seeds and stalks.

Silva 16 identified the 24 seeds found here, measuring 6,9 x 4,2 x 3,1 mm, as those of Vitis vinifera.

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In conclusion, one can concur with Amaral : carbonised grape seeds and shoots were found dating to the period of the Bronze Age from BC to BC. One can therefore assume that viticulture already existed over the entire Iberian Peninsula long before the Romans came. In these writings, he makes reference to descriptions by a Greek seafarer of BC. The activity at their own trading posts, or at least the influence of the Phoenicians, permeated to the whole Iberian Peninsula. Etruscan viticulture is very eloquently described on frescoes, dishes and vases.

This Etruscan boat was laden with wine amphorae, ingeniously stacked between bronze dishes in elaborate fashion. This discovery is significant in so far as it contributes to improved knowledge about the beginning of West European viticulture independent from that of the Greeks, and also helps to explain not only the sudden rise of the Roman Empire but also the accomplishments of the Etruscans, including those in viticulture, which were assimilated by the Romans.

The following Italian grapevine varieties are considered as Etruscan selections o f V. As noted by Broodbank , p. This is especially pertinent before the 11th century BC, prior to time of the common language and script for which the Phoenicians are best known, when distinctions are more difficult to delineate e.

Bell The traders who travelled to Iberia and transmitted the lost-wax casting technique, iron metallurgy and other technologies to the indigenous population in the 11th century BC, having witnessed first-hand the wealth around Huelva, could have decided to exploit the natural resources by introducing cupellation. Irrespective of the label we use for these traders, if this proposal is correct, then there must be earlier evidence of cupellation in the archaeological record in Iberia that has yet to be discovered or identified.

Overall this hypothesis implies that the first conveyors of silver to the southern Levant from the western Mediterranean were not miners but traders who had acquired silver directly from the indigenous Bronze Age inhabitants of Iberia, who supplied native silver with high crustal ages, low lead and low gold levels perhaps in return for prestige gifts, new technology and access to the Mediterranean trade routes. Considering that the transmission of wheel-made pottery is generally accepted to be a process requiring close contact between master and apprentice, its presence in Iberia, alongside other technology the lost-wax technique, the use of nails, as well as iron objects supports the view that eastern Mediterranean craftsmen permanently, or perhaps seasonally, installed themselves among the native population Ruiz-Galvez , pp.

If this is correct, it would also confer validity, at least in terms of chronology, on the hypothesis of Phoenicians carrying precious metals from Tarshish to the southern Levant at the time of Solomon c. Compositional and lead isotope data from silver found in the Iron Age hoards of the southern Levant have been combined to refine hypotheses about the ore sources and clarify evidence of mixing.

Mixing lines suggest that the Late Iron Age silver found at Miqne-Ekron and Ein Gedi was sourced from the Laurion and a much older ore with a signature commensurate with jarosite ores in Iberia. The Laurion ores have a signature commensurate with argentiferous galena. Furthermore, the mixing lines and compositional analyses indicate that two types of Iberian silver were used in the Early Iron Age hoards: native silver and silver from jarositic ores. This suggests that early contact between eastern Mediterranean peoples and the Iberian Peninsula involved the negotiation of silver from the indigenous Bronze Age inhabitants of Iberia, but also the mining of jarosite ores which required cupellation, potentially as early as the 11th century BC.


The rationale behind the mixing plots, however, is that compositional and isotopic data can be presented in a way which situates mixing events in time and space. In effect, silver objects deriving from mixtures of silver from different sources, which have been deposited at different locations and at different times, can be used to identify episodes of mixing.

The patterns which emerge from analysing these mixing events, such as vertical mixing lines which potentially reflect social-political contexts when it became judicious to melt down silver objects rapidly without removing gold parts, essentially provide a further approach to investigate the movement of artefacts which were recycled and reused prior to deposition in the archaeological record.

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Skip to main content Skip to sections. Advertisement Hide. Download PDF. Open Access. First Online: 22 January Introduction In terms of geographical and chronological distributions, the largest identified concentration of silver hoards in the ancient Near East is in the Iron Age of the southern Levant Thompson The hoards of Tel Miqne and Ein Gedi are both dated to the seventh—sixth centuries BC and can therefore be considered significant in relation to east—west Mediterranean trade Gitin and Golani , with its Assyrian and Phoenician connections Aubet , pp.

Broodbank , p. Determining the source of this silver is thus potentially critical to our understanding of the origins of this trade. A western Mediterranean signature would suggest that western silver was acquired and conveyed much earlier than is usually accepted. Open image in new window. Tel Keisan Second half of the 11th c. BC 8 The majority of the samples show very young crustal ages, with those around zero being consistent with the ores at Laurion Fig. The lower plot in Fig.

This process, albeit subjective, was considered preferable to fitting the data using linear trend lines, as it is unknown a priori which points correspond to which mixing line. Essentially, these lines and the lines in the lower plot in Fig. To further support that the silver from the Miqne-Ekron hoard is made up of argentiferous ores from Laurion and mixed silver from elsewhere, Fig. The Athenian coins and some of the Miqne-Ekron hoard are consistent with Laurion ores on both plots. What is also apparent is that the remainder of the Miqne-Ekron hoard lies on a line toward LIA values derived from the ores of the Pyritic belt of southwest Spain Stos-Gale et al.

This suggests that the some of the silver found in the hoard of Miqne-Ekron was a mixture of silver from the province of Huelva in Spain and Laurion in Greece, that is, the red and blue dotted lines in Fig. Moreover, the plots indicate that the provenance postulate is upheld, in that the variation between sources i. Laurion and southwest Iberia is greater than the variation within sources as suggested by the Athenian coins on the Pb crustal age plots Fig.

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  • This approach is now applied to the rest of the dataset i. As with Fig. The cluster at 1 in Fig. In terms of Pb crustal age, this cluster is similar to the Miqne-Ekron cluster in Fig. As in Fig. This could be a result of more intense mixing increasing average gold levels , but could also reflect the exploitation of more auriferous ores.

    When we examine these data in conventional LIA plots, we can observe that the most likely source for the bulk of the silver in this cluster is in the Taurus mountains of southern Anatolia, rather than Laurion Fig. This proposition is supported in three ways: Unlike argentiferous jarositic ores, which were smelted and cupellated, the processing of native silver does not require the addition of lead Murillo-Barroso et al.

    Consequently, a narrow spread in Pb crustal age is anticipated for silver derived from native silver, whereas a much wider spread would result from cupellated silver, especially if exogenous lead from a different region was used as the silver collector. Clearly, in terms of crustal age, a native silver source for the cluster at 7 is a more likely interpretation. A compositional feature that further supports the representation of both native silver and smelted silver from jarosite in the dataset is that cupellated silver often has higher levels of lead.

    Considering the cluster of points which make up 7 i. A geological perspective on the use of Pb isotopes in archaeometry. Archaeometry, 54, — CrossRef Google Scholar. Unscrambling the lead model ages.

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    Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta, 48, — Albright, W. American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literature, 55 4 , — Almagro-Gorbea, M. Karageorghis Eds. Nicosia: Costakis and Leto Severis Foundation. Google Scholar. Artzeni, C. Part III: Archaeometric data. Schiavo, A. Guimlia-Mair, U. Valera Eds. Montagnac: Editions Monique Mergoil. Artzy, M. Aubet, M. The Phoenicians and the west: Politics, colonies and trade. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Bartelheim, M. The silver production of the South Iberian El Agar culture: A first look at production and distribution.