Neutron-based analyses of three Bronze Age metal objects: a closer look at the Buggenum, Jutphaas and Escharen artefacts


Three important Bronze Age copper-alloy artefacts from the permanent exhibition of the National Museum of Antiquity in Leiden (NL) have been studied by neutron-based methods. These artefacts are known as the Buggenum sword, the Jutphaas dirk, and the Escharen double axe. All three objects have been studied with neutron resonance capture analysis (NRCA), a non-destructive method to determine the bulk elemental compositions. The Buggenum sword is also studied with time-of-flight neutron diffraction (TOF-ND) giving additional information about crystalline properties and internal material structures, and neutron tomography (NT), showing details of the construction of this sword and voids inside the material. The composition of the Jutphaas dirk is compared with the compositions of two other dirks belonging to the group of six Plougrescant-Ommerschans (PO) ceremonial dirks. The Escharen double axe, identified as being of the Zabitz type, variant Westeregeln, is a rare object in the Low Countries. It is compared to finds from Central Europe. The results for all three objects are discussed with regards to their archaeological contexts and their relation to other finds

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