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Into the crucible : methodological approaches to reconstructing crucible metallurgy, from New Kingdom Egypt to Late Roman Thrace

The subject of this PhD thesis is the study of ancient metallurgical crucible assemblages, with a particular focus on the methodological framework for such studies. This is approached through three case studies from the eastern Mediterranean: Qantir – Pi-Ramesse (Ramesside Egypt, 13th century BC), Gordion (Late Phrygian/Achaemenid Anatolia, 6th-4th century BC) and Nicopolis/Philippopolis/Serdica/Stara Zagora (Roman Thrace, 2nd-5th century AD). For each of these three case studies, the metallurgical activities are reconstructed and contextualised. This involves determining the technical processes, material use and organisation of metal production both on the site and regional scale. No relation exists between these sites and each case study stands on its own: results from the technological reconstruction are interpreted within their particular archaeological and regional/historical context, to which they offer novel contributions. The main research material consists of crucible remains, and to a lesser extent metal remains, which are investigated using optical microscopy and SEM(-EDS) to establish the technological processes and material use. The applicability of handheld XRF for such reconstructions is evaluated as well. Finally, lead isotope analysis (using MC-ICP-MS) of metal remains (scrap, spills, ingots, objects and prills extracted from crucible slag) and crucible ceramic and slag is performed. The overarching goal of this research is to evaluate methodological approaches to the study of crucibles and crucible assemblages by comparing the results for these three examples, not in terms of technology, but by evaluating the influence of varying crucible typology, preservation, abundance, contextual information, and sample availability, as well as the use of various analytical techniques. These considerations are then combined to formulate more general recommendations for the sampling, examination and interpretation of ancient crucible assemblages.
Date January 2015
CreatorsRademakers, F.
PublisherUniversity College London (University of London)
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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