First evidence for alloying practices in the Chalcolithic Southern Levant (4500–3800 BCE) as revealed by metallography

Thomas Rose, Stefano Natali, Andrea Brotzu, Shay Bar, Yuval Goren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Excavations at the Chalcolithic site Fazael in the central Jordan Valley uncovered a large number of metal items, many of them polymetallic copper alloys cast in the lost wax technique. Metallography and SEM–EDS analysis on a subset of the assemblage confirm previous notions of the lost wax metallurgy in the Chalcolithic Southern Levant but extend them significantly in three aspects: The Fazael metal assemblage is slightly depleted in its arsenic content compared to metal assemblages from other sites, silt-sized quartz inclusions in unalloyed and polymetallic copper items, and the presence of unalloyed copper inclusions. These latter provide the earliest direct evidence for mixing of different metal types in West Asia, potentially alloying or recycling.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number193
JournalHeritage Science
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2023

Keywords

  • Alloying
  • Chalcolithic
  • Fazael
  • Lost wax casting
  • Metallography
  • Mixing
  • Polymetallic copper alloys
  • SEM–EDS
  • Southern Levant
  • Unalloyed copper inclusions

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Conservation
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Archaeology
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Archaeology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Spectroscopy

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