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Start date: Sep 1, 2014, End date: Aug 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The SMITH project seeks to develop our understanding of the origins of metallurgy in Western Europe and its social impact as a starting point to facilitate comparisons on a Eurasian scaleIt capitalises on unprecedented access to key archaeological materials, availability of synergic projects and infrastructures at UCL, and a wholly interdisciplinary approach that amalgamates cutting edge archaeological science with sophisticated theorisation on the role of technology in societyThe main questions addressed are:-Whether metallurgy was independently developed in Western Europe-Its actual impact in social stratification processesA wide range of archaeological materials from key sites in Western Europe will be analysed by a myriad of techniques–XRF, SEM, ICP, Metallography, etc–involving interdisciplinary collaboration.The data will be interpreted in the light of the evidence known from Eurasia and especially of the current UCL-lead project on the origins of metallurgy in the BalkansSMITH brings an original perspective as it will refocus the debate on the origins of metallurgy, and because of its comprehensive dual concern:on the one hand it includes all the steps of the metallurgical process (mining, smelting and shaping but also consumption);on the other hand, it approaches metallurgy as part of a myriad of dynamic human activities and relationships in specific and changing social contextsThe study of the whole diversity of the archaeometallurgical and archaeological record is anchored in a concern with how societies assimilated metallurgy and developed different metallurgical traditions, and to what extent those processes were influenced by social contactsAs a whole, SMITH aims to be on the cutting-edge of existing efforts to produce reliable data and original interpretations on the origins of metallurgy, the transfer of this knowledge and its social impactIt will bring to light a wealth of key materials which are likely to challenge current paradigms
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