Metallurgy

Lab 4

Introduction to Archaeology


Metals represent an important artifact category at many archaeological sites. Metal artifacts give us insights into the metalurgical technologies employed, the organization of labor, the system of extraction and processing of these metals, and the technologies utilized for working other materials (during which metal tools were used). View this animation before examining the remainder of the lab page.

Identifying Metals

An early task archaeologists are asked to perform is the identification of the metal, the process by which the object is produced and the utility of the object. The following section is intended to detail identification. Identify the following metals.

Go to the materials page.

Show box of objects: iron Copper silver gold tin lead brass bronze


Methods of Production


Smelting and Mining

Access to metals varies. Early worked materials were often native metals (pure forms of the metal which could be found in nature). Over time it became necessary to extract metals for certain mineral compounds. The method is known as smelting, in which metalic ores are cooked in a reducing atmosphere. Whereas coppers can be transformed into its liquid form relatively easily, early iron could not.


Pictures of Ancient Metal Production
Visit the ancient metals page.

Some Interesting Metalurgical Sites to Visit

Return to An 210 Syllabus


Return to Zagarell's Archaeology Page


Send comments to zagarell@wmich.edu