The protohistoric briquetage at Puntone (Tuscany, Italy): A multidisciplinary attempt to unravel its age and role in the salt supply of Early States in Tyrrhenian Central Italy

Jan Sevink*, Gerard Muyzer, Ilenia Arienzo, Angela Mormone, Monica Piochi, Luca Alessandri, Rutger L. van Hall, Sanne W.L. Palstra, Michael W. Dee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
89 Downloads (Pure)


While processes involved in the protohistoric briquetage at Puntone (Tuscany, Italy) have been reconstructed in detail, the age of this industry remained uncertain since materials suited for traditional dating (14C dating on charcoal and typological dating of ceramics) were very scarce. We attempted to assess its age by radiocarbon dating organic matter and carbonates in strata that were directly linked to the industry. Microbial DNA and C isotope analyses showed that the organic matter is dominantly composed of labile organic matter, of which the age is coeval with the briquetage industry. Carbonates had a complex origin and were overall unsuited for radiocarbon dating: Shells in process residues exhibited a large, uncertain ‘marine reservoir effect’, hampering their use for dating the industry; the secondary carbonates in these residues had a quite varied composition, including much more recent carbonate that precipitated from infiltrated lateral run-off, as could be concluded from C and Sr isotope analyses. Dates found that were deemed reliable (c. 1000–100 cal BCE) show that this ancient industry, which started in the Late Bronze Age - Early Iron Age (1107–841 cal BCE), extended into the Roman Republican period and was contemporary with the saltern-based larger scale salt industry in Central Lazio.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103055
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
Early online date7-Jun-2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2021


  • Briquetage
  • Central Italy
  • Early states
  • Radiocarbon dating
  • Carbonates
  • Organic matter

Cite this