There's method in the fragments: a damage ranking system for Bronze Age metalwork
Knight, Matthew G
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Broken and damaged Bronze Age metalwork has long been studied, but there is no methodology for identifying signs of intentional versus unintentional action. Past approaches have tended to rely on assumptions about how such finds were damaged. Drawing on the material properties of copper alloys, as well as on recent research into wear-analysis and experimental fragmentation of bronze implements, this article presents a working methodology for identifying deliberate damage. Seven ‘Destruction Indicators’ are presented, with associated criteria, for making informed interpretations about archaeological artefacts. These contribute to a ‘Damage Ranking System’, an index for ranking damage on Bronze Age copper alloy objects based on the likelihood that damage was intentional. Two case studies illustrate how this system can be applied.