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Bronze Age metalworking in the Netherlands (C. 2000 - 800 BC)
Almost fifty years ago J.J. Butler started his research to trace the possible remains of a Bronze Age metalworkers workshop in the Netherlands. Yet, while metalworking has been deduced on the ground of the existence regional types of axes and some scarce finds related to metalworking, the production locus of the smith has remained elusive. In this Research Master Thesis I have tried to tackle this problem. I have considered both the social as well as the technological aspects of metalworking to be able to determine conclusively whether metalworking took place in the Netherlands or not. The first part of the thesis revolves around the social position of the smith and the social organization of metalworking. My approach entailed a re-evaluation of the current theories on metalworking, which I believe to be unfounded and one-sided. They tend to disregard production of everyday objects of which the most prominent example is the axe. The second part deals with the technological aspects of metalworking and how these processes are manifested in the archaeological record. Based on evidence from archaeological sites elsewhere in Europe and with the aid of experimental archaeology a metalworking toolkit is constructed. Finally, a method is presented which might help archaeologists recognize the production locus of a Bronze Age smith.
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