The role of lead and silver in antiquity

The salvaging of various shipwrecks off the coasts of Sardinia, Brittany, Corsica, the south of France, the Balearic Islands and elsewhere have turned up hundreds of lead ingots, evidence that this metal was being transported in quantities of many tonnes. The ingots, which weigh 30-50 kg, nearly all have inscriptions. Epigraphers have discovered that these inscriptions contain the names of traders and companies. In the interdisciplinary project Corpus Massarum Plumbearum Romanarum (CMPR), in close collaboration with archaeologists from the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, over 2000 ingots will be analysed by epigraphers and scientists. The aim is to find out what ore deposits they came from and what trade routes they passed along, and to reconstruct how lead extraction was organized in Roman times.


Research projects

Historical-archaeological and scientific studies on lead production in the Roman Empire: Corpus Massarum Plumbearum Romanarum

Historical-archaeological and scientific studies on lead production in the Roman Empire: Corpus Massarum Plumbearum Romanarum

This research project, based at the Commission for Ancient History and Epigraphy of the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut (DAI), and carried out in close collaboration with the DBM, aims to acquire new insights into the extraction and trading of lead in the Roman Empire. ...

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Prehistoric to ancient lead and silver mining in Ibiza (Balearic Islands, Spain)

Prehistoric to ancient lead and silver mining in Ibiza (Balearic Islands, Spain)

he mining history of Ibiza has not yet been systematically studied. The first documentary evidence of ore extraction dates back to 1374. Our aim is to investigate various aspects of prehistoric mining and trading. ...

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