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Deciphering the Iron Provenance on a Medieval Building Yard: The Case of Bourges Cathedral

Maxime l'Héritier 1 Philippe Dillmann 2, 3, 4 Guillaume Sarah 5
2 LAPA - UMR 3685 - Laboratoire Archéomatériaux et Prévision de l'Altération
NIMBE UMR 3685 - Nanosciences et Innovation pour les Matériaux, la Biomédecine et l'Energie (ex SIS2M)
4 IRAMAT - LMC - IRAMAT - Laboratoire Métallurgies et Cultures
IRAMAT - Institut de Recherches sur les Archéomatériaux
5 IRAMAT-CEB - IRAMAT - Centre Ernest Babelon
IRAMAT - Institut de Recherches sur les Archéomatériaux
Abstract : This paper presents the provenance study of the iron reinforcements of Bourges Cathedral (13th c.): the links of a 100 m long iron chain, surrounding the eastern parts of the cathedral at the triforium level and 4.5 to 5 m long tie-rods consolidating the arches of the inner aisle at the same level. The analytical methodology is based on the determination of trace rare earth elements analyses by LA-ICP-MS in the slag inclusions of the artefacts and in the slag found on candidate production sites combined with statistical approaches. This chemical approach is crossed with archaeological and historical studies on the monument itself and on the production sites. Ninety-nine iron samples were analyzed on the bars and chains and 238 iron slags from 3 presumed areas of supply. For the first time, iron circulation and trade around a single building yard over a time of 30 to 40 years is studied with a precision never obtained before with historical sources. It shows that mainly four different metallurgical districts, local and more distant, supplied the building yard, mostly depending on the construction phases and also on the types of iron armatures needed.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03081344
Contributor : Guillaume Sarah <>
Submitted on : Friday, December 18, 2020 - 10:19:03 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, March 2, 2021 - 10:24:01 AM

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Maxime l'Héritier, Philippe Dillmann, Guillaume Sarah. Deciphering the Iron Provenance on a Medieval Building Yard: The Case of Bourges Cathedral. Minerals, MDPI, 2020, 10 (12), pp.1131. ⟨10.3390/min10121131⟩. ⟨hal-03081344⟩

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