Influence of conservation of copper and bronze artefacts on traces of production and use-wear


Although studies of production traces and use-wear in copper and bronze artefacts have been conducted already for a few decades, the influence of the conservation on these items did not receive much scholarly attention. It seems quite surprising, as traceological analyses focus most often on conserved artefacts from museum collections. In the following article, the authors examine the impact the conservation has on traces of production and use-wear in bronze artefacts coming from three Bronze Age hoards: Karmin IV, Paszowice and Lubnowy Wielkie. All deposits have been analysed both before and after the conservation. Our results show that traces of production and use-wear might either become highlighted or fade in the conservation process. Thus, we should be extremely cautious when examining copper and bronze artefacts for the presence of these traces. The problem is especially critical for items which were not examined directly after the discovery but come from the already conserved museum collections.

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We owe special thanks to M. Konczewska who participated in the conservation of the artefacts from Karmin hoard IV, K. Sielicka and A. Muła from the Regional Museum of Jawor as well as Ł. Szczepański from the Ostróda Museum for providing the artefacts from Paszowice and Lubnowy Wielkie hoards for the analyses. Last but not least, we would like to give our thanks to the reviewers who provided invaluable input and guidelines to ensure that the quality of this article meets highest standards.


The project was financially supported by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (no. 3469/18/FPK/NID) and the National Science Centre, Poland (project no. 2017/27/N/HS3/01097).

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Correspondence to Dawid Sych.

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Sych, D., Nowak, K., Maciejewski, M. et al. Influence of conservation of copper and bronze artefacts on traces of production and use-wear. Archaeol Anthropol Sci 12, 141 (2020).

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  • Bronze Age
  • Metal hoards
  • Metalwork wear analysis
  • Use-wear
  • Traceology
  • Production technology
  • Conservation