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Metalworking

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The production of Roman metal screw threads - extended version

Author(s)
David Sim 1 ✉,
Chris Legg 2
During the Roman period, small metal screw threads were used both as fastenings and to impart motion. This paper, which is an extended version of my previous article, will show that it is possible to produce metal screw threads using very simple technology. The tools and expertise to carry out this work is...

Casting a Copper Age Axe Using a Replica of the Marl Mould Found in Baffoni Cave (AN)

Author(s)
Mauro Fiorentini 1
Publication Date

These three artefacts suggested that some kind of metal working had most probably been carried out in the cave: Radmilli first described the mould as “a clay mould for casting… containing a piece of copper” (Radmilli, 1956, pp.

Drawing Wire

Author(s)
Henriette Lyngstrøm 1
Publication Date

Chain mail

It is well known that in the Iron Age wire was made from gold, silver, and copper – but it is a relatively new realization in Northern Europe that wire was also extracted from bog iron ore. Metallurgical insight into how rings in chain mail are made, opened up the possibility of experimental archaeological experiments to learn how the process of making wire, as well as bending and welding it, was carried out in the Iron Age.

Scandinavian Arrowheads of the Viking Age, Their Manufacture and Distribution

Author(s)
Hector Cole 1
Publication Date
In recent years there has been a renewed interest in the arrowheads used in the Viking Age and their distribution. The 187 excavation of Viking graves in the Black Earth of Birka region of Sweden, re-examined in 2019 by Price (Price, et al., 2019) and the finding of arrows and arrowheads where glaciers have melted in Norway, prompted my research into the forging techniques of specific arrowheads from these...

The Production of Roman Metal Screw Threads

Author(s)
David Sim 1 ✉,
Chris Legg 2
Publication Date

Metal Screw Threads In Antiquity

During the Roman period, small metal screw threads were used both as fastenings and to impart motion (Burstall, 1970, p.77; Singer, et al., 1972, pp.631–632). Screw threads as fastenings can be seen in some jewellery and screw threads to impart motion can be seen in olive presses. These screw threads could have either a square or V-shaped profile.

(Re)constructing an Early Medieval Irish Ard

Author(s)
Brendan O`Neill 1,
Claus Kropp 2 ✉,
Frank Trommer 2,
Vanessa Töngi 2
Publication Date
This article outlines the results of an EXARC funded 2019 Twinning project exploring the production and use of an Irish early medieval ard. In this, the project partners researched the evidence for early ploughs and ards, made bloomery iron, produced an ard share, and worked wood to form the frame of the ard. This paper also includes...

Evaluation of Mail Horse-Armour

Author(s)
David Jones 1 ✉,
Emma Herbert-Davies 2
Publication Date
This study was undertaken to gain an understanding of the effectiveness of mail armour in protecting horses against arrow shot, and to assess the circumstances in which such armour might play a useful role. Since the protection given by mail is largely dependent on the thickness of the underlying padding, a preliminary step was to estimate the maximum thickness of padding that could be worn by the horse...

The Little Bowl That Could! Experimental Iron Smelting in a Bowl Furnace

Author(s)
Yvette A Marks 1 ✉,
V. Lucas 1 ✉,
D. O’ Frighil 2
Publication Date
The bowl furnace has been a somewhat neglected topic in the early history of iron making, often overshadowed in experimental work by the shaft furnace. This assessment attempts to re-evaluate the position of the bowl furnace in early iron-making - firstly by looking at how it is regarded in scholarly literature, and secondly, through an experimental reconstruction programme...

Copper Smelting Could Have Been Discovered in Connection with the Massive Production of Lime Plaster in the Near East During the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B, which is Much Earlier than Previously Believed

Author(s)
Ulf Fornhammar 1 ✉,
Henry Hammarström 2
Publication Date
A common theory is that copper smelting first appeared in the Near East in close connection with the early pottery industry. However, copper smelting may well have been discovered many times in history and at many places. Our hypothesis is that copper smelting could have been discovered when the copper-bearing mineral malachite, accidentally or intentionally, was present in lime-burning kilns...

A Proposed New Appearance of the Iron Stand from Sutton Hoo, Based on Existing Material

Author(s)
Rowan Taylor 1
Publication Date

The stand and its previous representations

The ‘iron stand’ was excavated in 1939, one of the many objects discovered in the Sutton Hoo, Mound 1 ship burial. To date, the stand is unique in the archaeological record but due to adverse burial conditions it is incomplete (See Figure 1). This makes its appearance and function difficult to discern. Due to this difficulty, while the first description of the object was published in 1940 (Phillips, 1940, pp.

Shedding New Light on the Pure Copper Metallurgy of the Chalcolithic Southern Levant Through an Archaeological Experiment

Author(s)
Thomas Rose 1,2 ✉,
Peter Fabian 1,
Yuval Goren 1
Publication Date
Two metallurgical traditions coexisted in the Chalcolithic Southern Levant: the lost wax casting of polymetallic alloys and the pure copper technology. Details of their operational sequences are still unknown. To date, no production sites of lost wax casting technology have been found. Only the main steps of the pure copper technology can be reconstructed from the archaeological record...

Roman Gold Washing as Described by Pliny the Elder

Author(s)
Brigitte Cech
Heimo Urban
Publication Date
#EAC12 World Tour 2021
***As part of a four-year interdisciplinary research project of a Roman gold mine in the landscape known as the "Karth" to the south of Vienna, Austria, a reconstruction of gold washing took place as described by Pliny the Elder in book 33 of his Natural History. So far, the "Karth" is the only proven Roman gold mine known in the Eastern Alps...

Pyrgos Mavroraki Smelting and Melting Experiments in a Metallurgical Workshop of the Second Millennium BC

Author(s)
Maria Rosaria Belgiorno 1 ✉,
Livio Pontieri 1
Publication Date
Interpreting the cultural influences of Cyprus in antiquity has posed an issue, depending on one’s point of view or the different conclusions reached. Until the 1970s, in large part due to the extensive excavations along the northern coast of Cyprus, it seemed reasonable to recognise a plethora of Aegean traits in the island culture. Every element of the Cypriot Bronze Age was analysed and interpreted in...

Killing the Cauldron: Experimental Research on Dented Bronze Cauldrons from the (post)Medieval Period

Author(s)
Vincent van Vilsteren 1
Publication Date
Bronze cauldrons from the late Middle Ages, and the 16th and 17th century are hardly ever discovered during archaeological excavations but are usually unearthed by detectorists having discovered the find of their life. Many of these vessels happen to be damaged. Sometimes one or two legs are lost, or a piece of the rim is missing, more often they exhibit one or more dents. We know that in prehistory the ritual...

Experimental Roman Minting: Casting Silver-Copper Alloys into a Bronze Mould

Author(s)
Nicola George 1
Publication Date
#EAC12 World Tour 2021
***This paper provides the details of a Roman minting experiment, which used a bronze mould to cast debased silver blanks typical of the third century A.D. The investigation follows the paper ''Experiments reproducing Roman debased alloys" (George, 2020) which studied the manufacturing methods used...

Standardized Reporting of Experimental Iron Smelting - A modest (?) Proposal

Author(s)
Darrell Markewitz 1
Publication Date

Background: The State of an Art?

Over the last three decades, bloomery iron smelting has moved from the largely theoretical to the practical. Although there were certainly earlier attempts via experimental process to build workable furnaces, most of these attempts were basically unsuccessful, at least in terms of actual iron production. Early researchers too often undertook (or at least only formally reported on) limited test series (one or two attempts) and many concentrated far too much on slag, not on the production of metallic iron itself.

Irish Copper Axe-Ingots Recovered in Brittany: Experimental Casting to Recreate Porous Material

Author(s)
Aurélien Burlot 1
Publication Date
The present study discusses the casting of copper axe-ingots in open, wet sand moulds, in an attempt to recreate porous artefacts that have been recovered in Brittany, France. The original axe-ingots are considered to be Irish copper metalwork from the Early Bonze Age. However, these artefacts are not finished objects and are poorly cast. This nevertheless appears to be deliberate because...

Smelting Conditions and Smelting Products: Experimental Insights into the Development of Iron Bloomery Furnaces

Author(s)
Yvette A. Marks 1 ✉,
N. Groat 1,
L. O. Lortie 1,
M. Hughes 1,
H. F. Thompson 1,
C. J. Woodland 1,
T. MS Adams 1,
T. Thorpe 1,
Bangcheng Tang 1,
R. Kenyon 1,
B. Langhorne 1,
J. Fraser-Darling 1
Publication Date
The material record for bloomery furnaces in Iron Age and Roman Britain is fragmentary and, because of this paucity of evidence, the reconstruction of the ceramic structures used in iron production is difficult. Experiments have nevertheless been carried out to ...

Socketed Axes of the Irish Late Bronze Age: Understanding the Internal Rib Phenomenon

Author(s)
Terry Runner 1
Publication Date
This study explores the possibility that the internal rib commonly recognised inside bronze socketed axes may suggest an entirely different step in the casting process than previously thought. The internal rib, more commonly referred to as a ‘hafting rib’, has always been regarded as a functional addition to help tighten the grip of the haft once fitted into the socket. However, many of the internal ribs...

“A Mirror for Men” – Reconstructing a Medieval Polishing Bench and Putting it to the Test

Author(s)
Florian Messner 1
Publication Date
11th EAC Trento 2019
***In the late 5th century AD, the famous Ostrogoth Theoderic the Great received a truly regal gift from the king of the Warini: he was given highly elaborated swords, richly decorated and able to cut through armour. Their fullers (long grooves along the flat side of the blade to reduce weight and to gain stability...

Replica of the Knife 2165 found in Flixborough a Late Anglo-Saxon Period Knife with an Inlay of Twisted Bronze and Silver Wires

Author(s)
Mauro Fiorentini 1
Publication Date
This work aims to show the reconstruction of a medieval era knife that was found in Flixborough, Lincolnshire (UK). Flixborough’s Anglo-Saxon cemetery has returned a total of 11 knives that can be dated between the 8th and the 10th century AD. The specimen discussed here is known as Knife 2165 and was found in context 3417 of the site. This knife is the smallest of the inlaid knives found in Flixborough...

Experimental Analysis of Metal Points from Quattro Macine: Reproduction and Interpretation

Author(s)
Ruben Cataldo 1
Publication Date
This paper relates to a study of experimental archaeology, executed by Ruben Cataldo, about the forging methods used to produce some replicas of two metal points found during the archaeological excavations carried out between 1992 and 1996 by the University of Salento in the medieval village Quattro Macine (translated Four Millstones), located in the municipality of Giuggianello, a small town in...

Celtic Copper Alloy Coin Minting Technology: Experiential Approaches

Author(s)
Lawrence Herzman 1,
Monika Townsend 2 ✉,
Publication Date
In this paper, details are presented for three technical approaches that can be employed in the reproduction of Celtic coins from Britain: 1) the use of pellet trays to produce coin blanks of standardised weight; 2) the use of successive iterations of clay moulds to shrink coin design images while retaining clarity; and 3) the use of a low-carbon steel die that was heated to a plastic state and struck with a cast bronze slug to...

Viking Jewellery Mould Making. Experimental and Reconstructive Aspects

Author(s)
Anders Söderberg 1
Publication Date
Craftsmanship relies upon the silent knowledge of the skilled experience of the creative workings of the hands, a knowledge that is difficult to convert to written characters without creating a blur of words that make very little sense. Theoretical reasoning lacks the dialogue with, and the resistance from, the raw material. Making up a picture of how wax, clay and metal would behave without practical experience of them is...

A Seventh Century BC Picenian Cloack Clasp Made of Iron, Bone, Bronze and Amber: Reconstruction of a Masterpiece

Author(s)
Mauro Fiorentini 1
Publication Date
This article is dedicated to the reconstruction I’ve done in 2017 of a Picenian cloack clasp which is a pretty unique find. It has been found in a prince’s grave dating back to the early 7th Century b.C. and is considered a rare find because only a few similar items have been found in Central Italy, and because of the rare use of amber decorations and bronze plates, that makes this find a true masterpiece...

Experimental Archaeometallurgy of Early-Middle Bronze Age Cyprus: Pilot Experiments of Copper Smelting at Pyrgos-Mavroraki

Author(s)
Marco Romeo-Pitone 1
Publication Date

Experimental Archaeometallurgy and Pilot Experiments

Experimental archaeology applied to archaeo-metallurgical studies (experimental archaeometallurgy) has revealed itself as an essential tool to verify scholars’ hypotheses on the technological processes involved in ancient metallurgy. Experimental archaeometallurgy is a specialist field within experimental archaeology.

Learning to Recreate, Recreating to Learn. Experimental Archaeology

Author(s)
Beatriz Comendador 1 ✉,
Aaron Lackinger 1,2,
Elin Figueiredo 1,3
Publication Date
10th EAC Leiden 2017
***This paper aims to present and discuss ongoing activities that combine Experimental Archaeology and Ethnoarchaeology developed in the scope of a master's degree, a post-doctoral and other research projects at the University of Vigo (Galicia, Spain), in collaboration with regional open-air museums and educational centres...

An Experimental Diachronic Exploration of Patination Methodology of Dark Patinated (Arsenical) Copper Alloys on Case Studies from the Eastern Mediterranean Bronze Age and Early Iron Age

Author(s)
Marianne Talma 1
Publication Date

Artificially dark patinated copper alloys appear in various times and regions and are commonly applied in prestigious polychrome metallic objects. Currently, the earliest finds known are from ca. 2000 BC in Egypt (See Fig. 1) and Palestine (See Fig. 2), followed by ca. 1500 BC in Greece and Cyprus (See Fig. 3 and 4) and again during the Roman period from ca. the late 4th century BC (See Fig. 5 and 6). 

Now we’re Cooking with Gas! How Experimental Archaeology Challenges Modern Assumptions about Metal Recycling

Author(s)
E. Giovanna Fregni 1
Publication Date
It is accepted knowledge that when re-melting alloys, some of the metal with a lower melting temperature is lost through oxidation, and more metal must be added in order to maintain the desired alloy proportions. In order to understand the changes in alloy content when recycling using Bronze Age technology, experiments were undertaken by the author and others...

Reconstruction of the Ancient Greek Long Jump - an Opportunity for Multidisciplinary Collaboration

Author(s)
Hannah Friedman 1 ✉,
Peter J. Miller 2
Publication Date
The Games of the XXXI Olympiad – the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (5 August to 21 August, 2016) – continued the long tradition of Olympic sports, which began in ancient Greece (circa 776 BCE), and were heavily modified in their re-creation by the International Olympic Committee...

The Colour Palette of Antique Bronzes: An Experimental Archaeology Project

Author(s)
Jonathan Devogelaere 1
Publication Date
Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin, with lead also added. Hellenistic and Roman bronze objects have a variable percentage of metals, and because of this the colour of the alloy will differ depending on the proportions. The colour of the alloy can be maintained by polishing, but it is also possible to give a patina to the surface of bronze using a reagent...

Spiral Tube Decorations: a Thousand Years of Tradition

Author(s)
Riina Rammo 1 ✉,
Jaana Ratas 2
Publication Date
An overview of finds, their regional spread and significance though the ages. The spiral tubes are made of an alloy that consists of copper supplemented mainly with zinc and/or tin (Rammo, Ratas 2015, table 1). The outer diameter of the spiral tubes usually range from 2.5 to 5 mm. Woollen and linen threads as well as horse hairs, were used to join spiral tubes into decorations...

Getting Hammered: The Use of Experimental Archaeology to Interpret Wear on Late Bronze Age Hammers and Modern replicas

Author(s)
E. Giovanna Fregni 1
Publication Date
Metalsmithing tools such as hammers are rarely recognised for their significance in understanding prehistoric metalworking technology. Their development and specialisation signal new metalworking techniques and a wider array of the types of metal objects being made. Our knowledge of ancient metalworking is...

Experiencing Visible and Invisible Metal Casting Techniques in Bronze Age Italy

Author(s)
Monia Barbieri 1 ✉,
Claudio Cavazzuti 1,
Luca Pellegrini 2,
​Federico Scacchetti 3
Publication Date
OpenArch Dialogue with Skills Issue
***What we know about Bronze Age metalworking in Italy basically relies on finished artefacts and on stone, clay or bronze implements involved in the process of manufacturing (tuyères, crucibles, moulds, hammers, chisels, et cetera; Bianchi, 2010; Bianchi, in press).

Investigating the Influence of the Kettle Material on Dyeing in the Industry of Pompeii

Author(s)
Katrin Kania 1 ✉,
Heather Hopkins 2,
Sabine Ringenberg 3
Publication Date
7th UK EA Conference Cardiff 2013
***Dyeing, especially in bright, intense colours, has been one of the methods used to embellish textiles and add to their value. A considerable dyeing industry can be shown to have existed in Pompeii. The city of Pompeii was destroyed in a volcanic eruption in AD 79, but its remains were preserved in situ...

From the Soil to the Iron Product - the Technology of Medieval Iron Smelting

Author(s)
Adam Thiele 1
Publication Date
2013 EXARC meeting at Csiki Pihenökert (HU)
***Nowadays, the development of technology rushes past the people of the machine-based technical civilisation, therefore they fail to understand the technological wonders that surround them. One of these is the ancient technology of iron smelting...

To Use or Not to Use a Minoan Chisel? Ancient Technology in a New Light

Author(s)
Maria Lowe Fri 1
Publication Date
7th UK EA Conference Cardiff 2013
***The Minoan chisel is thought to have been used by the metal worker, the stone mason, the sculptor, the carpenter, and the ivory and bone worker. However, barely any work has been conducted to substantiate the different workers and their chisels...

Observations on Italian Bronze Age Sword Production: The Archaeological Record and Experimental Archaeology

Author(s)
Luca Pellegrini 1 ✉,
Federico Scacchetti 2
Publication Date
7th UK EA Conference Cardiff 2013
***In spite of the very large quantity of Bronze Age swords in Northern Italy, only a few stone moulds have been found. Tests have shown that carving such big stone moulds (more than 60 cm long) requires a large amount of raw material, deep knowledge and skill, rather than a wide set of implements...

From Wax to Metal: An Experimental Approach to the Chaîne Opératoire of the Bronze Disk from Urdiñeira

Author(s)
Aaron Lackinger 1 ✉,
Beatriz Comendador 2
Publication Date
7th UK EA Conference Cardiff 2013
***The so-called ‘Treasure of A Urdiñeira‘ (A Gudiña, south-east of the province of Ourense, Spain) consists of an assemblage of three metal artefacts: two gold bracelets and a bronze button or disk, dated from the transition between the Late Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age...

Copper + Tin + People: Public Co-Smelting Experimentation in Northwestern Iberia

Author(s)
Aaron Lackinger 1
Publication Date
7th UK EA Conference Cardiff 2013
***In the present paper an experiment made in north-western Iberia for producing bronze using local ores and similar techniques to those perhaps practiced by the ancient prehistoric metallurgists during Bronze Age is described...

A Picenian Warrior Who Lived in the Eight Century BC: A Hypothetical Reconstruction

Author(s)
Mauro Fiorentini 1
Publication Date

Various populations inhabited this territory from the tenth to the early third century BC, when the Roman army took control of it: the Laziali and Sabini in Lazio, the Etruscans and, from the fifth century, Celts in Toscana and Emilia Romagna, Umbri in Umbria and Picenians in Marche and Abruzzo. At the beginning of the Iron Age, and until the eighth century, we have evidence of other populations as well. The most ancient group being the Sub-Apenninical culture, which were Villanova and Proto-Villanovan populations that seem to have had towns in the Region Marche.

The Quality of the Craft

Author(s)
Paul Eklöv Pettersson 1
Publication Date
In this study the sustainability of crucibles used during the Scandinavian Bronze Age is tested. Due to the crucible’s high or low sustainability the idea of it being a disposable object may be ratified or discarded. Earlier experiments focusing on the casting process in Scandinavian Bronze Age have concluded that crucibles such as the ones used during Bronze Age were disposable objects due...

Scandinavian Iron Age and Early Medieval Ceramic Moulds - Lost Wax or Not or Both?

Author(s)
Anders Söderberg 1
Publication Date
1999 Wilhelminaoord Workshop
***Since the 1940s we have had a discussion in Scandinavia concerning ancient mould-making methods. The question of different methods in the production of ceramic moulds has taken a large part in these discussions; by lost wax or by direct matrix-methods...

How Metallographic Examinations Can Give the Forming Process of Metal Artefacts? The Example of the Hoard of Farébersviller

Author(s)
Cécile Veber 1 ✉,
Michel Pernot 1
Publication Date
1999 Wilhelminaoord Workshop
***The hoard of Farébersviller (Moselle, France) was discovered in 1991 during rescue excavations (See Image above). This set contains 130 "bronze" artifacts, which date to the Late Bronze Age (8th century BC)...

Precision Lost Wax Casting

Author(s)
Nigel Meeks 1,
Caroline Tulp 2,
Anders Söderberg 3
Publication Date
1999 Wilhelminaoord Workshop
***The limits of precision casting were explored experimentally at the Bronze Casting Workshop at Wilhelminaoord, the Netherlands, by making wax models, moulds and lost wax castings using essentially early metalworking conditions. Geometrically patterned models of Dark Age type dies were used to...

The Experimental Reconstruction in Bronze of a Merovingian Treasure Box from Sixth Century A.D.

Author(s)
Frank Willer 1
Publication Date
1999 Wilhelminaoord Workshop
***Considerations about a lost ancient fabrication technique of bronze attachements from a merowingian treasure box pointed out that practical experiments had to be done to reconstruct the cast and coldwork. A self made oven and mould sould help to...

From the Object to the Mould: Is there a Connection between Microstructure of a Cast Bronze Object and its Mould Material Used?

Author(s)
Emanuela Jochum Zimmerman 1 ✉,
Nina Künzler Wagner 2,
Stefanie Osimitz 2
Publication Date
1999 Wilhelminaoord Workshop
***The question studied within the framework of the Wilhelminaoord Workshop was: In which way the mould material does influence the cast structure of a bronze object? For this, casts in two different mould materials...

Producing Silver Sheet According to Cellini

Author(s)
Martin Damsma 1
Publication Date

Experiment

When the subject of techniques of reproduction was raised these questions came back to me. Casting a slab of silver and subsequently hammering it might be a way to answer some of these questions. This would involve following the suggestions of certain treatises in combination with scientific research.

Ancient Repairs on Bronze Objects

Author(s)
Renske Dooijes 1
Publication Date
1999 Wilhelminaoord Workshop
***Bronze objects can be damaged in many ways, for example during casting or during their time of use. Often this damage was repaired using various techniques. In this paper, some examples of ancient repairs and their techniques are described and illustrated with examples published in the literature...

The Use of Metal Moulds to Cast Lead Weights onto the Wooden Shaft of a Plumbata

Author(s)
David Sim 1
Publication Date
Plumbata - Plural plumbatae. a projectile weapon used during the latter part of the Roman period – a fletched dart. They usually consisted of a barbed iron head with a lead weight fitted to a fletched wooden shaft. Plumbatae have been found on several sites in Britain and abroad and written evidence for their existence has been reported in the fourth century by Vegitius...

"But if you don't get any IRON..." Towards an Effective Method for Small Iron Smelting Furnaces

Author(s)
Darrell Markewitz 1
Publication Date

Building and operating a small bloomery iron furnace is certainly a wonderful public demonstration for any museum or living history site. It is however a complex technical process, with many individual factors combining for success. Over the last decade in North America, small teams of blacksmiths have developed predictable working methods through trial and much error. This direct practical experience can provide some insights into questions that even the best researched theories may not be able to solve.

Anatomy of Prehispanic Bells - Study of an Ancient Lost Process

Author(s)
Raúl Ybarra 1
Publication Date

The elaboration of bells in the Prehispanic Era was of great importance due to the special meaning attributed to them in religious ceremonies. Today, knowledge of the techniques that were used in their fabrication is scant and lacking in detail. For that reason, the objective of the present study was to carry out a morphological study of bells from western Mexico...