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Aes rude roman bronze money

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gli Aes rude erano pezzi informi di metallo, il che esclude la possibilità di differenziarli dagli scarti di fusione... e a mio avviso poco importa; ci facciamo confondere dalla parola "scarto", in realtà questi scarti non venivano buttati via, era comunque metallo che conservava il suo valore e poteva essere riutilizzato o scambiato con qualche prodotto (ovvero usato come moneta)... per capire meglio, gli scarti di fusione d'oro di un gioielliere, sempre oro sono e conservano comunque il loro valore!

Diverso è il discorso se si parla di scarti di fusione nell'estrazione del metallo, in questi casi una parte del metallo resta legato alle impurità e ne compromette la qualità, il materiale risulta poroso e il peso specifico è ridotto rispetto al metallo puro... è evidente che questo non veniva accettato come moneta, ma è altrettanto riconoscibile oggi... non lo si può considerare "pre moneta", ma antica testimonianza della tecnologia di lavorazione dei metalli.

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Un recente studio sull' Aes Rude che ne stabilisce l'uso premonetario:

Microchemical Investigation of Archaeological Copper Based Artefacts Disclosing an Ancient Witness of the Transition from the Value of the Substance to the Value of the Appearance

G. M. Ingo, T. De Carol and G. Bultrini.

Microchimica Acta, Vol. 144, No. 1-3, 2004, pp. 87-95.

In many Italian archaeological sites dated between the sixth and third centuries BC, unworked lumps of Cu-based materials are sometimes found, the so called Aes Rude, which according to archaeological considerations were appreciated as currency, as a medium of exchange and as a form of saving. The microchemical investigation of these ancient artefacts discloses their nature as apparently not usable for any functional applications or possible use. Indeed, Aes Rude resemble ordinary copper material, but microchemical results indicate that they are constituted by highly ferruginous leaded copper, making them useless for producing other metal objects by means of casting or hot and cold working. Notwithstanding this intrinsic negative feature, the production of these intractable Cu-based alloys was deliberately carried out to maximise the process yield in terms of produced metal from an impure and unselected metal ore by tailoring the smelting process parameters. With these considerations in mind, the microchemical investigation of these ancient iron-copper alloys gives evidence of the passage from the acceptance of an artefact value based on its true nature or potential use to the acceptance of the value based only on its appearance or form irrespective of its present or future use. This information could contribute to a better understanding of the evolution of human thought and economic and social interactions.


Interessante l'approccio, analogo a quello che ha portato uno studioso sloveno a individuare lingotti premonetari in epoca dell'età del bronzo (purtroppo l'articolo è in sloveno):

Andrej Paulin & Neva Trampuz Orel




This paper presents a review of the metallurgical examinations of the systematic archaeometrical studies of Late Bronze Age

copper and bronze artefacts in Slovenia (12th-9th cent. BC). The studies, which are primarily based on chemical analyses (the

ICP-AES method), were carried out as part of various projects since 1994. The institutions involved in the study are the

National Museum of Slovenia, the National Institute of Chemistry, the Department of Materials and Metallurgy and the

Department of Archaeology of the University of Ljubljana, and the Institute for Metals and Technology in Ljubljana.

In the first part of the paper the metallurgical analyses of the smelting process of sulphidic ores and the microstructural analyses

of sickles are presented. They are followed by the results of an examination of several ingots with unusual chemical

compositions using optical and scanning electron microscopy (EDX) and differential thermal analyses (DTX). These

metallographic studies were found to be particularly important because they revealed the use of speiss ingots in the Late Bronze

Age. This contradicts current general opinion about speiss, which considers it (with the exception of cobalt metallurgy), as a not

very desirable by-product of smelting arsenical polymetallic ores.

The second part of the paper is focused on the presentation of metallurgical examinations of a copper-iron alloy ingot with a

high iron content from the 12th cent. BC, when ironmaking in Slovenia was not yet known. A possible process by which such

copper ingots with a high iron content could be produced is explained and its role in the premonetary systems is suggested. Its

unusually high iron content is reminiscent of similar but later ingots, dated to the 6th cent. BC, which played a monetary role

preceding that of the first coinage. The results of this examination are presented in details from the approaches used in our

archaeometallurgical research.

Key words: archaeometallurgy, Bronze Age, copper-iron alloy, metallographic analyses, ingots


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