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The new Late Bronze Age hoard find from Kobbelbude (former Eastern Prussia, district Fischhausen) and the first results of its archaeometallurgical investigations

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This article deals with a new discovered Late Bronze Age hoard find from former Kobbelbude (district Fischhausen, Eastern Prussia, now district Kaliningrad, Russian Federation). The hoard find is of special importance because it is the first time that metallurgical investigations were carried out on its artefacts. Archaeometallurgical analysis is, apart from few exceptions, still a desideratum of research in the eastern Baltic region. Also, for the first time, lead isotope ratios were determined. The results of the isotopic composition of the lead show a first hint towards a possible Eastern Alpine origin of the used ores. Former archaeometallurgical research of Bronze Age metal finds from the eastern Baltic region suggested a more abstract assumption about the origin of the ores from Middle Europe. Moreover, with the analysis of the chemical composition of the artefacts from Kobbelbude, a material classification to the type “dilute” fahlore copper with nickel, which we know from Late Bronze Age Middle Europe, was drawn. The results presented in this paper are a first step in the field of archaeometallurgical research in the eastern Baltic region and open a new perspective on Bronze Age metallurgy in relation to cultural history.

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  1. That same year, the Kaliningrad Museum of History and Art purchased the items found in the hoard and they are now held by that institution, Inv. Nr. КГОМ 1/50-18048. 1–12. A detailed study of this hoard is being prepared for publication (Skvortzov, Čivilytė, in press).

  2. We know another example from the eastern Baltic region, where repaired jewellery objects occurred in one hoard, from Staldzene, Latvia, which was found on the coastline of the Baltic Sea and dates to Montelius period V–VI. It consists of Scandinavian import objects, most likely from Gotland, only (Vasks and Vijups 2004).

  3. For the most exhaustive historiography, see Bliujienė 2007.

  4. Former Littausdorf, Kr. Fischhausen (today Zorino, about 5 km north-west of Primorsk). It included 119 bronze artefacts: 64 sickles, 36 arm rings, 11 spearheads, 7 socketed axes and 1 large piece of copper scrap (Bezzenberger 1904).

  5. The term Brucherzhorte is used in literature for mostly damaged and fragmented objects, which are considered as metal waste or material supply for re-melting. This interpretation has become accepted since the study of Frauke Stein (Stein 1976). The purely profane interpretation has been dropped in the last decades because of more indications that the broken objects were connected to certain rites (detailed information can be found in Maraszek 1998; 2006 with further literature). Besides this predominant interpretation of those hoard finds, they are classified as Brucherzhorte furthermore. In the eastern Baltic regions, the hoard find of Tehumardi (Estonia) represents such an example of depositing fragmented objects. Within this find, which was interpreted as a hidden depot of a bronze caster in the past, selected bronze objects are deposited, which were broken following a certain rite (Sperling 2013).


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This research is funded by the European Social Fund under the Global Grant measure VP1-3.1-ŠMM-07-K-01-101.

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Correspondence to Agnė Čivilytė.

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Čivilytė, A., Duberow, E., Pernicka, E. et al. The new Late Bronze Age hoard find from Kobbelbude (former Eastern Prussia, district Fischhausen) and the first results of its archaeometallurgical investigations. Archaeol Anthropol Sci 9, 755–761 (2017).

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