The archaeological analysis of metallurgy in Iceland during the Viking Age has tended to focus on the smelting and forging of iron. Very little attention has been paid to the re-use and recycling of nonferrous metals, such as gold, silver, copper, bronze and lead. The lack of interest in these metals can be correlated to the correspondingly small amount of evidence available for study compared to the evidence for ironworking.
This presentation presents the results from a study that used SEM-EDS in combination with traditional micromorphological analysis to search for evidence for nonferrous metalworking where macroscopic evidence (such as crucibles and ingot moulds) was absent. The samples used were collected from the floor of the excavated longhouse at Hrísbrú, south-west Iceland. The study found that the area of the house used to shelter animals and for cold ironworking also contained anthropogenic lead, suggesting that this metal was also worked there. Comparisons are made with other excavated sites on Iceland.