The article traces the development of Mediterranean silver production from the Iron Age to the time of Rome, focusing on the site of Antas, Sardinia. Antas is located in a rich metalliferous area, which served as a source of lead and silver beyond the regional level. The article takes data on the exploitation of metal resources as a gauge for Mediterranean developments, especially state formation and the rise in maritime connectivity. Sardinian Bronze Age chiefdoms seem not to have mined the local argentiferous ore. But studies of lead isotopes suggest that Iron Age chiefdoms began to do so in response to Phoenician demand. Metal extraction intensified under Carthaginian rule, reaching a peak under the Roman Empire. In addition, at Antas the Carthaginians initiated religious practices, which the Romans continued. This cult activity is hypothesized to result from the cross-culturally well attested connection between metallurgy and the world of the divine.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)