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During the Romanization of Peninsula (from the 2nd century BC) Hispania turned into an important source of various metals (silver, lead, copper, tin and gold). Particularly lead became of great economic importance due to the large scale silver production, being widely used on a variety of applications including glandes plumbeae for military purposes and fistulae aquariae for hydraulic systems of public buildings and private houses. Research involved the elemental and lead isotope characterization of Glandes plumbeae and metallurgical remains recovered at Alto dos Cacos and Monte dos Castelinhos, militaries camps related to the Late Republican Roman army and Fistulae aquariae belong to Conimbriga, an important urban centre in the Roman Empire and Augusta Emerita (Spain), the capital of Lusitania province. Artefacts elemental composition suggest common recycling practises by the (re) use of scrap lead with tin solder (Sn > 0.01%). The use of no-recycled lead seems to be more common during the Late Republican Period. Also, trace and minor elemental contents indicate that lead was produced by reduction of desilvered litharge or by smelting of galena ores depleted in silver. Lead isotope ratios point out that the materials would mainly come from the Sierra Morena mines, although mixed with ores/minerals from the Iberian Pyrite Belt (Empire).


Contact persons:

M. Fatima Araújo (.pt)

Susana Gomes (.pt)

Pedro Valério (pvalerio@ctn.tecnico.ulisboa.pt)



Gomes, A. Monge Soares, M.F. Araújo, V.H. Correia (2016). Lead isotopes and elemental composition of Roman fistulae plumbeae aquariae from Conimbriga (Portugal) using Quadrupole ICP-MS. Microchemical Journal, 129, 184 – 193, DOI: 10.1016/j.microc.2016.06.027.

S.S. Gomes, P. Valério, L.C. Alves, M.F. Araújo, A.M.M. Soares, V.H. Correia (2016). Tin determination in fistulae seals from Conimbriga and Augusta Emerita. Microchemical Journal 124, 540-546. (DOI: 10.1016/j.microc.2015.09.029).

P. Valério, E. Voráčová, R.J.C. Silva, M.F. Araújo, A.M.M. Soares, A.M. Arruda, C. Pereira, 2015. Composition and microstructure of Roman metallic artefacts of Southwestern Iberian Peninsula. Applied Physics A 121 115-122. DOI: 10.1007/s00339-015-9394-7.