Characterisation of Alloy Composition of Protohistoric Small Boat Models from Sardinia (Italy)

Roberta Iannaccone, Anna Depalmas, Claudio Bulla, Sergio Augusto Barcellos Lins, Antonio Brunetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The Sardinian protohistoric civilisation (Final Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age) has greatly contributed to the development of metallurgy in the Mediterranean area by producing a large number of bronze artefacts. Among them, small boat models (so-called “navicelle”) represent one of the most characteristic objects from the Sardinian Protohistoric civilisation. This work is an attempt to classify these boats on the basis of their alloy composition, provenience, and morphology. Due to the impossibility of removing the boats from the museum, alloys were characterised using energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectrometry and Monte Carlo simulations. Fifteen boats were analyzed. Obtained results were compared to other performed analyses in the last few decades with different techniques and reported in the literature. Analyses allow for characterising both the bulk composition of ternary alloy Cu–Sn–Pb and patina thickness, offering useful information about their conservation status and the technological achievements of Sardinian craftsmen, while also providing information on smelting temperatures and casting techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1324
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Early Iron Age
  • Monte Carlo simulation
  • Navicelle
  • Sardinian protohistoric bronzes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • General Materials Science


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