image/svg+xml69XII/1/2021INTERDISCIPLINARIA ARCHAEOLOGICANATURAL SCIENCES IN ARCHAEOLOGYhomepage: http://www.iansa.euThe Comparative Study of Tool Marks on Non-Ferrous Metalwork from Archaeological Contexts: Methodological Considerations, Case Studies and Experimental ArchaeologyBirgit Bühler1*, Dávid Zsolt Schwarcz21Vienna Institute for Archaeological Science, University of Vienna, Franz-Klein Gasse 1, 1190 Vienna, Austria2Austrian Archaeological Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Franz Klein-Gasse 1, 1190 Vienna, Austria1. IntroductionThe framework of technological necessities for creating a particular efect in metalworking is defnable. Within this framework, in many cases, the individual metalworker has a number of choices. The technical decisions taken in each case will depend on the craftsperson’s skills, personal preferences and background, on smaller-scale “workshop traditions”, on larger-scale “cultural traditions”, as well as on the demands of the customer regarding motifs, style, material and technique in the fnished product. Hence, the technological choices made in the production process of a particular object are important evidence, which may reveal its place of production, as well as the cultural or even social background of the craftsperson and the recipient of the product in question. The aim of this paper is to give an overview of the methodology of tool mark studies on gold and silver metalwork from archaeological contexts, to demonstrate potential applications of this approach with the help of a case study and to suggest possible directions for future interdisciplinary research, for example, using experimental archaeology. The frst part of the paper (see chapter 2) discusses methodological aspects of the comparative study of tool marks on precious metalwork from archaeological contexts, including a case study from the early medieval period. The second part of the paper (see chapter 3) is a preliminary experimental study of several types of punching tools, which commonly occur in decorative techniques on early medieval non-ferrous metalwork: The purpose of this section is to demonstrate the potential of experimental archaeology for the interpretation of tool marks on non-ferrous metalwork from archaeological contexts.Volume XII     ●     Issue 1/2021     ●     Pages 69–81*Corresponding author. E-mail: INFOArticle history:Received: 9th September 2020Accepted: 18th February 2021DOI: words:Avar archaeologyByzantiumnon-ferrous metalworktechnology transferexperimental archaeologyABSTRACTThe aim of this paper is to discuss methodological issues of comparative tool mark studies (with special attention to decorative punched motifs), using a case study on sheet-gold metalwork from the Middle and Late Avar Period (7th–8th centuries AD). The historical interpretation of tool marks on non-ferrous metalwork1 can take place at diferent levels of complexity. In some cases, the identifcation of products from the same craftsperson is possible, via the identifcation of specifc tools. However, when interpreting the results of comparative tool mark studies, many aspects are relevant, including individual variations in tool usage. In this context, experimental archaeology can facilitate the interpretation of tool marks, as is demonstrated in a preliminary study on two types of punches, which are common on high-quality metalwork from the Avar Period.1  The term “non-ferrous metals” encompasses all the metals and their alloys, which do not contain iron. Hence, this denomination includes precious metals ( and silver) and non-precious metals, such as lead, tin, zinc, copper and its alloys (e.g. bronze, brass, etc.), to mention the most relevant concerning tool mark analyses on archaeological metal artefacts.
image/svg+xmlIANSA 2021 ● XII/1 ● 69–81Birgit Bühler, Dávid Zsolt Schwarcz: The Comparative Study of Tool Marks on Non-Ferrous Metalwork from Archaeological Contexts: Methodological Considerations, Case Studies and Experimental Archaeology702. Tool mark studies on gold and silver metalwork from archaeological contexts2.1 Methodological considerationsThe purpose of “basic tool mark studies” on precious metalwork from archaeological contexts is to identify the techniques used in manufacturing and decorating a particular artefact and to reconstruct its production process. In contrast, the aim of “comparative tool mark studies” on precious metalwork from archaeological contexts is the historical interpretation of the technological evidence. Hence, “basic tool mark studies” constitute a pre-requisite for further, historical interpretation of the evidence, which also requires the inclusion of additional criteria, derived from other, related metalwork and the archaeological context (“comparative tool mark studies). As will be illustrated below, in a case study, the process of historical interpretation of tool marks can take place at diferent levels. Starting at the lowest, most specifc level, this process can involve the identifcation of individual tools, followed by the identifcation of specifc types of tool, by technical preferences and idiosyncrasies of individual metalworkers and progressing to the higher-level aspects, such as the identifcation of metalworking traditions characteristic for individual workshops, as well as to larger-scale, local or regional metalworking traditions.Therefore, comparative tool mark studies may permit researchers to identify artefacts produced by the same