Summary: A wide-ranging study based on compositional and isotopic analyses of minerals and manufactured objects from the north-eastern Iberian Peninsula and their respective archaeological and cultural contexts demonstrates significant lead mineral exploitation in the El Priorat area (Tarragona province) linked to Phoenician trade (seventh-sixth centuries BC). This exploitation continued, despite losing intensity, until the Romanization of the territory. Our project also aims to determine the nature and origin of the lead and silver supply in the northern Iberian territory surrounding the Phocaean enclave of Emporion, especially with regard to the demands of the colonial mint. The behaviour pattern of the circulation of lead, silver and copper in Catalonia in the period studied indicates a plurality of contemporary supply sources, although, at least from the fifth century BC onward, minerals and metals from the south-eastern Iberian Peninsula take on considerable importance. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Journal compilation © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.