Department of Classics and Archaeology

New article by Prof. Mark Pearce

Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences cover (yellow background with title and a selection of small images showing DNA/gravesite/cells under microscope/skull etc)

Prof. Mark Pearce recently co-published a new article entitled 'The smelting of copper in the third millennium cal BC Trentino, north-eastern Italy' in Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, with Stephen Merkel, Andreas Hauptmann & Franco Nicolis.

Article abstract: 

"This paper presents observations and analyses on seven slag pieces from two third-millennium cal BC (Late Copper Age/Early Bronze Age) rock shelters in the Trentino, north-eastern Italy: La Vela di Valbusa and the Riparo di Monte Terlago. We review previous work on contemporary slags from the region and show that the smelting did not follow the well-known ‘Timna’, ‘Eibner’ or so-called ‘Chalcolithic’ copper smelting processes.

We show that ethnographic accounts of copper smelting in the Himalayas (Sikkim and Nepal) illuminate the smelting process, in particular the lack of preliminary roasting or ore beneficiation by washing, the use of slags as fluxes for the first smelt (matte smelting) and the use of wooden implements to lift the hot slags from the furnace during the smelt. The rock inclusions in the slag are consistent with an ore origin from mines at Calceranica or Vetriolo, as previously reported in the literature."

Read the full article online (open access).



Posted on Wednesday 13th April 2022

Department of Classics and Archaeology

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