Technology transfer in the processing of mineral resources in earlier times

Project facts

Project promoter
University of Latvia
Project Number:
LV05-0009
Target groups
Researchers or scientists
Status:
Completed
Initial project cost:
€480,850
Final project cost:
€476,302
From Norway Grants:
€ 396,521
The project is carried out in:
Latvia

More information

Description

The overall objective of the project is to obtain a comprehensive picture of the development of technologies for processing key mineral resources in prehistory and early historical periods in Latvia (lithic blade technology of the Stone Age; iron smelting in later periods), focussing on the role of transfers of technology across geographical space and between different societies and cultures, and thus contributing to the general understanding of technologies and technological change in Northern Europe in pre-industrial ages. Partner 2, the Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo (MCH), will by represented by a team of specialists in the lithic technology of the Stone Age and in the history of iron production technologies – two important areas of the museum’s research – thus providing expertise unavailable in Latvia. The museum will also contribute its extensive experience in experimental archaeology, and has all the necessary resources and equipment to undertake its tasks allocated in the project. The project will open up new avenues for research cooperation between Norway and Latvia in the humanities, thus making a contribution to bilateral relations. For Norway as the donor state and for the Museum of Cultural History in particular it is an opportunity to explore the wider relevance of research approaches that are already highly developed on a national level in Norway and to engage in cooperation with researchers from a country with an archaeological heritage and a research tradition that is no less rich, but complements that of Norway in that its potential lies in different areas. For the University of Latvia and the Institute of Latvian History, the project will not only be a major stimulus to research in new directions and an opportunity to integrate Norwegian specialist expertise into research on the prehistory and history of Latvia, but will also foster closer collaboration between the two Latvian institutions, drawing on the strengths of each.

Summary of project results

The overall objective of the project was to obtain a comprehensive picture of the development of technologies for processing key mineral resources in prehistory and early historical periods in Latvia (lithic blade technology of the Stone Age; iron smelting in later periods), focussing on the role of transfers of technology across geographical space and between different societies and cultures, and thus contributing to the general understanding of technologies and technological change in Northern Europe in pre-industrial ages. The goals and outcomes are reached and exeeded. Eight publications presenting the results and conclusions of research on lithic technology and iron production were prepared and submitted: six of them for international journals, and two for a Latvian journal. The analysis of ore, slag and metal samples in the frame of iron production studies was completed, as were the project databases and reports. During the final reporting period a five-day project workshop took place in Riga, during which an international scientific conference “Flint and iron in the course of history: technology transfer in the processing of mineral resources in earlier times” was held as an event open to the public, presenting the main results of the project. Excavation of the Asari ironworks site was organised as a 3-week field course for 15 students of the Faculty of History and Philosophy, during which they received comprehensive training in archaeological field methods.

Summary of bilateral results

Eight publications presenting the results and conclusions of research on lithic technology and iron production were prepared and submitted: six of them for international journals, and two for a Latvian journal. Five of these publications were written jointly by the Latvian and Norwegian experts. By bringing forward research on these themes, during the project the research community directly benefited in Latvia; the collaboration offered the Norwegian researchers a broader perspective on their own specialist areas and stimulated further research at a Northern European scale. The publicity activities communicated to the public new and exciting insights into the past. Research on early modern ironworking sites is an urgent priority for Latvia from a heritage-management perspective: substantial remains are known to exist, but no sites have been listed before as cultural monuments – the main obstacle was a lack of information which is now elaborated and accessible.