Journal of Archaeological Science vol:40 issue:12 pages:4291-4305
Forty-four Middle Bronze Age I weapons discovered at the sites of Byblos and Tell Arqa in Lebanon were investigated in order to study their copper quality and provenance. The evaluation of copper qualities is based on quantifying permanent inclusions such as copper sulfide and lead globules. The provenance of copper was studied using lead isotope analyses. For further discrimination between copper groups and sources elemental analyses by PIXE were performed on some of the weapons investigated. The results
revealed two copper groups that could be qualified as “dirty” copper and “clean” copper. The former was
used in most of the weapon types whereas the latter was reserved for items made of high-tin bronzes
(>11 wt%) which underwent heavy hammering during the manufacturing process. Even though several potential copper sources were identified, the data point to Iran and Oman as the most probable areas of origin for the metal used in these weapons. These results contribute to the study of inter-regional exchange networks in the ancient Near East.