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Department of Archaeology


IBERIRON is a large-scale multi-disciplinary study of pre-Roman iron technology in the Iberian Peninsula. It focuses in the analysis of iron artefacts from multiple sites in the Peninsular territory, taking advantage of the resources and technical environment of the laboratories at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research to develop innovative and more efficient ways of extracting information from metallographic specimens. This subject, in this period and area, has been historically underresearched, largely for practical reasons that are now being slowly overcome by technological advance. 

The data obtained from the analyses is used to better understand the role of iron as a material and as a resource in Iberian Iron Age societies. It provides insight into a broad spectrum of subjects: the exchange of strategic resources such are iron and steel across the territory, the significance and spread of technological knowledge within and across different cultural areas, the nature and execution of funerary practices, the relationship of the communities with structured violence, or the functional/ceremonial role of weaponry in different areas. 

The artefacts studied come from different sites and periods, as one of our objectives is to explore for chronological and geographical patterns. This can provide information on the exchange of goods, people and ideas between cultures, and on the temporal evolution of such exchanges. Of special interest for this project are issues regarding how technological knowledge was acquired, internalised, modified and transmitted in the past.

IBERIRON is particularly involved in the study of the different alloys of iron used in the manufacturing of weapons and tools. This is because the decisions and perceptions involved in the production, availability, selection and technical treatment of these materials have strong implications in the practical functionalities and cultural roles of the objects that were fashioned from them. A combination of metallography, SEM-EDS and LA-ICP-MS is used in order to collect information. There is also a strong interest in exploring novel minimally intrusive procedures for obtaining relevant data from extensively corroded archaeological objects, in order to increase the potential sources of legitimate information 

In addition, as part of our commitment with Open Science, all the data produced by IBERIRON will be formatted for FAIR use and made available in Open Access as part of a Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI). 

IBERIRON was funded by Horizon 2020 as Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship to Marc Gener-Moret, under the supervision of Marcos Martinón-Torres




Project Tags

Science, Technology and Innovation
Material Culture
Periods of interest: 
Iron Age
Geographical areas: 
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Material Culture
Artefact Analysis & Technology
Archaeological Science
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