Assessing the iron-working skills at Roman Iudaea: An archaeometallurgical study of two Bar-Kokhba revolt assemblages from Israel

Yarden Pagelson, Yuval Goren, Peter Fabian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Studies of Roman metallurgical technology in the Eastern Mediterranean region have been rarely published. Despite many excavations and ferrous finds, this absence is also attested at the Roman province of Iudaea. In order to further our understanding of this craft at Roman Iudaea, twelve artifacts from two adjacent sites, Horvat Tsalit and the Nahal Yattir Site, were sampled for a metallographic study, applying both optical and electron microscopy. Dating to the late 1st – early 2nd cen. CE, both sites were Jewish villages destroyed by the Roman army during the Bar-Kokhba revolt. The assemblage includes Roman arms, local agricultural tools, and non-utilitarian artifacts. Despite the corroded samples, examining a range of artifact functions has allowed us to identify that low-carbon steel semi-products were typically used. Smiths provided these with mechanical properties requisite to different functions by hardening techniques such as forge-welding steels of varying C content and cold-working. On the other hand, some objects were intentionally made to be malleable. We hope that a growing body of comparable studies from the region will allow us to gain further insights into local smithing traditions and the relation between artifact type, function, and technology.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number104090
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
Volume50
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2023

Keywords

  • Ancient smithing
  • Archaeometallurgy
  • Ferrous metallurgy
  • Roman Judea

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Assessing the iron-working skills at Roman Iudaea: An archaeometallurgical study of two Bar-Kokhba revolt assemblages from Israel'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this