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Aroche (Huelva, Andalucía): a new Neolithic axehead of Alpine jade in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula

Abstract : The discovery of a Neolithic Alpine jade axehead in Aroche, in the southwest of Spain, revives the question of long-distance exchange between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Europe. This polished blade belongs to a typological model quite characteristic of Alpine production during the second half of the 5th millennium B.C. Different mineralogical approaches (macroscopic features examination, specific gravity, direct XRD, non-destructive μXRF spectroscopy, optical stereomicroscopy, magnetic susceptibility determination and microprobe analysis) have identified the rock as an omphacitic jadeitite (mixed jade) with some tiny garnets and a weak retromorphosis. This analysis and the comparison of the rock structure with the referential JADE of Alpine natural jade samples, as well as the extraction modalities and shaping of the axe, provide strong arguments to assign the Aroche axe to a production of Mont Viso: the origin of thousands of axes that circulated in Europe between Ireland and Sicily. The Aroche axe, discovered not far from the variscite mines of Encinasola, could be considered as part of a possible exchange system between the Iberian Peninsula and the Gulf of Morbihan, in Brittany.
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https://hal-univ-rennes1.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02305079
Contributor : Christine Forgeron <>
Submitted on : Thursday, October 3, 2019 - 4:55:18 PM
Last modification on : Monday, October 12, 2020 - 8:46:07 AM

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Salvador Domínguez-Bella, Serge Cassen, Pierre Pétrequin, Antonin Prichystal, Javier Martínez, et al.. Aroche (Huelva, Andalucía): a new Neolithic axehead of Alpine jade in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, Springer, 2016, 8 (1), pp.205-222. ⟨10.1007/s12520-015-0232-9⟩. ⟨hal-02305079⟩

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