Metal production in Late Antiquity: from continuity of knowledge to changes in consuption

Enrico Giannichedda

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


[Autom. eng. transl.] The study of metallurgical production in the late ancient age at the moment appears to be squeezed between a first and an after, respectively the Roman and the Lombard world, having a more marked archaeological visibility. In the midst of the late antiquity marks a boundary, certainly not a clear one also because there was a substantial continuity of knowledge that in part expects to be demonstrated in fact, although logically unquestionable. This continuity had to take place in new forms dependent on the crisis of the central system of control of extractive activities, from the contact - which is however old for centuries - between populations with different technical traditions, from the change in consumption, both utilitarian and voluptuous. However, in the continuity, in the late ancient period there were also original contributions, for example the typically premature "invention" of cast iron, and modifications of the modes of production. Metalworking is in fact always production aimed at something else: agriculture that over the centuries does not alter its tools, if not marginally; to the armament that changes; to the building industry that knows about stasis; the prestige events that incorporate different style choices must take into account the advent of Christianity, the concentration of the elite in a few large sites, the reduction, if not disappearance of the intermediate classes. To study these phenomena there seem to be three possibilities which differ in terms of time, cost and results, but which could give the best of themselves by integrating with one another: differentiating productions by evaluating, in addition to the stylistic features, the technical particularities; try to quantify not the production itself, but the circulating one, understood as the metal available and characterizing the different social groups; activate archaeometallurgical research projects in sites of particular interest.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTechnology in Transition A.D. 300-650,
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2007
EventTechnology in transition AD 300-650 - Siena
Duration: 4 Jun 20045 Jun 2004


ConferenceTechnology in transition AD 300-650


  • archeologia
  • consumo
  • medioevo
  • metalli
  • tardo antico
  • tecnologia


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