Lead isotope and metal source of Shang bronzes: A response to Sun et al.'s comments

S. R. Liu, K. L. Chen, Th Rehren, J. J. Mei, J. L. Chen, Y. Liu, David J Killick

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In this brief response to Sun et al.'s () comments on our paper, we re-emphasize that archaeological, chemical and isotopic evidence are all relevant to the discussion about the metal source of the Shang period with highly radiogenic lead isotope ratios. The southern African bronzes have much lower lead contents and quite different lead isotopic signatures than the Shang bronzes. More importantly, there was no metallurgy of any kind in southern Africa before c.200 ce, so southern Africa cannot possibly be the source of Shang bronze, which date to about 1500 to 1000 bce.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018



  • Highly radiogenic lead
  • Lead isotopes
  • Provenance
  • Shang bronze

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Archaeology

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