Multi-isotope analysis of elephant ivory artefacts from Amsterdam: a preliminary provenance study

M.J. Rijkelijkhuizen, L.M. Kootker, G.R. Davies

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Abstract: During the last couple of decades, excavations in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, have uncovered many artefacts from post-medieval contexts made of elephant ivory. Historical and archaeological sources show the import of great quantities of elephant ivory by the Dutch West India Company to the Dutch Republic in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. These sources, however, mention only the West African coast, and the Gold Coast in particular, as the source of this ivory and do not shed any light upon the exact locations from which the ivory originated. In order to try to better determine the geographical origins of post-medieval ivory found in Amsterdam, multi-isotope analyses were conducted on twenty-one samples from objects excavated by the Office for Monuments & Archaeology. The results are the first of their kind for West Africa and suggest that ivory was derived from elephants that inhabited different parts of coastal and interior West Africa.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWorld Archaeology
Early online date8 Jul 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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West Africa
elephant
provenance
artifact
isotope
gold
seventeenth century
monument
eighteenth century
import
archaeology
Netherlands
Medieval
India
coast
analysis
Provenance Studies
Isotope Analysis
Artifact
Amsterdam

Cite this

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Multi-isotope analysis of elephant ivory artefacts from Amsterdam: a preliminary provenance study. / Rijkelijkhuizen, M.J.; Kootker, L.M.; Davies, G.R.

In: World Archaeology, 2015.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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AB - Abstract: During the last couple of decades, excavations in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, have uncovered many artefacts from post-medieval contexts made of elephant ivory. Historical and archaeological sources show the import of great quantities of elephant ivory by the Dutch West India Company to the Dutch Republic in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. These sources, however, mention only the West African coast, and the Gold Coast in particular, as the source of this ivory and do not shed any light upon the exact locations from which the ivory originated. In order to try to better determine the geographical origins of post-medieval ivory found in Amsterdam, multi-isotope analyses were conducted on twenty-one samples from objects excavated by the Office for Monuments & Archaeology. The results are the first of their kind for West Africa and suggest that ivory was derived from elephants that inhabited different parts of coastal and interior West Africa.

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