Chapter

Patterns of early metallurgy on the Iranian Plateau, from the beginnings to the end of the Bronze Age. pp. 201-229 in: ON SALT, COPPER AND GOLD THE ORIGINS OF EARLY MINING AND METALLURGY IN THE CAUCASUS. Archéologie(s) 5, MOM Editions, edited by Catherine Marro and Thomas Stöllner

Authors:
  • Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the author.

Abstract

Overview article on the development of early metallurgy in Iran

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the author.

ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Article
Full-text available
BRONZE IN LURISTAN: PRELIMINARY ANALYTICAL EVIDENCE FROM COPPER/BRONZE ARTIFACTS EXCAVATED BY THE BELGIAN MISSION IN IRAN
Article
Full-text available
This thesis examines a small corpus of artifacts from Tal-i Iblis, Iran dating to the mid-6th millennium BCE. When excavated in the late 1960s, these artifacts were presumed to be evidence of an early copper smelting technology on the Iranian Plateau, and they were delivered to MIT for further analysis. In this thesis I briefly describe the origins of early metallurgical activity in the Old World focusing mainly on the Iranian Plateau. This will provide a basis for the significance of the thesis and of the early date associated with the metallurgical objects. I have studied six of the Tal-i Iblis artifacts curated at MIT through extensive qualitative and quantitative analytical methods. These methods are described in Chapter IV. The results and discussion are presented in Chapters V and VI. I have found that these Iblis sherds provide substantial evidence for the presence of a copper smelting technology during the early occupation levels at Tal-i Iblis, Iran.
Article
Full-text available
Distinctions between the concepts of ‘invention’ and ‘innovation’ are often confusing and ambiguous. Rarely, if ever, is invention the result of a lightening-strike ‘aha’ moment. Rather, invention tends to be the application of clever innovation from one aspect of life to another, shaped through personal observations and/or experiences. The ‘invention’ of metallurgy, for example, did not simply spring from the earth one morning, but rather evolved from observations of and experiences in other pyrotechnological processes. Past scholars have speculated on the invention of various early pyrotechnological activities, such as glass making and glaze production. What has not been fully explored, however, are the aspects of cross-craft interactions linking these and other pyrotechnologies. An example of this is the limited research exploring the technological connections between the advent and development of glass technologies and developments in metallurgical and other vitreous technologies. In this paper, these connections will be explored from pyrotechnological and craft technique perspectives. Ideas concerning connections between glass and non-ferrous metallurgy and glazing are discussed.
Article
Full-text available
Le systeme a trois periodes de Christian Jurgensen Thomsen (l'âge de la Pierre, l'âge du Bronze, l'âge du Fer) est considere a juste titre comme la base scientifique de l'archeologie prehistorique. L'element nouveau du systeme a trois periodes, la division des antiquites selon une chronologie en tenant compte de nombreux criteres characteristiques, est compris comme une partie d'une tendance generale dans les sciences du debut du XIX eme siecle, a adopter une classification chronologique. Outre cela, il convient de souligner l'importance de Thomsen pour l'evolutionisme classique. Le developpement rapide de l'archeologie prehistorique est presente dans le contexte du romantisme national danois du debut du XIX eme siecle et en tenant compte de la personnalite de Christian Jurgensen Thomsen vue a travers le materiel biographique.
Article
Full-text available
Copper-base artefacts from Bronze Age Luristan have been analysed for their chemical composition and the isotopic composition of their lead. We find no significant systematic differences between a group of objects recovered in the Pusht-i Kuh region in the course of controlled excavations during the Belgian Archaeological Mission in Iran (BAMI) and a second group of artefacts from the Louvre Museum which were acquired on the art market. According to these material features the objects from the art market are made of genuine "Luristan" metal which does not exclude the possibility that the artefacts are recent forgeries made of "old" metal. The data suggest a large fraction of the artefacts, copper and bronze, to derive from copper ores as they are available in the eastern part of the central Zagros Mountains from where also tin ores have been reported. Bronzes with high 206Pb-normalized abundance ratios, conspicuous in contemporary Mesopotamia, are missing in Luristan. We have no satisfactory explanation to offer why the manifold cultural and material connections between Mesopotamia and Luristan should have excluded the trade in bronzes with such exceptional lead isotopy.
Article
This paper reviews the evidence for complexity at the small mound site of Tall-e Bakun A. Alizadeh has identified the village as a manufacturing centre controlled by an élite group. This argument was based on the sealings, prestige goods, distinctive architecture and segregation of areas found at the site. It is suggested here, however, that these data are also consistent with a largely undifferentiated society. An alternate model is offered, in which the community was structured in a series of extended family households.
Article
In this dissertation, the scientific analyses of the metallurgical remains from Tepe Hissar—a 4th and 3rd millennium site in Northeastern Iran—are presented and juxtaposed with a new understanding of the 2000-year archaeological sequence at the site. It is argued that two types of contemporaneous metallurgical production occurred within this ‘middle range’ community: traditional practices (so-called “cottage industry”) and standardized practices (e.g., workshop production). While traditional models for the development of metallurgy in Southwest Asia (the “Levantine Paradigm”) would see these two types of production as representing entirely different stages in social development, at Tepe Hissar they are carried out at the same time and less than 100m from each other. Furthermore, the sophistication of metallurgical production at this site, particularly among the more ‘traditional’ practitioners, is truly staggering, and forces us to reconsider what independent craftspeople in small-scale societies understood about the chemical and material properties of the objects they made and used. ^ In addition to challenging the “Levantine Paradigm,” this dissertation set out to test theoretical discussions of “craft specialization” by applying various models to the data compiled herein. Although difficult in this situation to speak confidently about the craftspeople themselves, given the lack of suitable burial information and the secondary contexts of most of the metallurgical remains, it seems evident that using the concept of specialized craftspeople (e.g., “independent” vs. “attached” specialists) to compare the traditional vs. standardized practices at Tepe Hissar is not suitable. Instead it is argued that the spatial context of production directed technological practice, and not the level of specialization held by the artisans themselves. That is, distinct areas of the site (called “workshops”) were designated for specialized (and standardized) production, while other areas (called “houses”) were used for non-specialized, traditional craft production—a distinction not necessarily requiring different craftspeople. While this critique of “craft specialization” must await further analysis of the crafts from this site and others, the metallurgical remains from Tepe Hissar present an interesting case study for craft production in ancient societies that should resonate with our understanding of craft production in traditional societies today.
Article
Ancient mining practices are often overlooked in favour of the smelting and working practices that led to metal objects. However, mining was, in many ways, the most socially and economically taxing part of the chaine operatoire of ancient metallurgy, involving groups of people in both intra- and inter-regional trade relationships. Montanarchäologie or mining archaeology is the formal study of ancient mining and ore extraction processes, and includes the study of mining techniques, social organisation and economic networks that made ore extraction possible. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media New York. All rights are reserved.
Chapter
The Iranian Plateau was one of the heartlands of early copper metallurgy, yet it is also one of the least studied and least understood archaeometallurgical regions. Complex ore deposits combined with precocious technological know-how contributed to the development of an often unprecedented metallurgical tradition beginning in the Late Neolithic period and continuing through the Bronze Age. In this chapter, the development of metallurgy on the Iranian Plateau is juxtaposed against the better-known development of metallurgy in the Levant to show how different regions of Eurasia-even those connected through trade routes-maintained unique traditions. The evolution of metallurgy in one region cannot be used as a model for metallurgical development in another region unless direct technological transfer can be demonstrated. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media New York. All rights are reserved.
Article
This paper reviews the evidence for complexity at the small mound site of Tall-e Bakun A. Alizadeh has identified the village as a manufacturing centre controlled by an élite group. This argument was based on the sealings, prestige goods, distinctive architecture and segregation of areas found at the site. It is suggested here, however, that these data are also consistent with a largely undifferentiated society. An alternate model is offered, in which the community was structured in a series of extended family households.
Article
A team brings traditional metallurgy to bear on archeology.
Article
Metallographische Gefügeuntersuchungen an Randleistenbeilen des Sächsischen Typs und solchen des Typs Langquaid zeigen, daß im Verlauf der Frühbronzezeit eine Vereinheitlichung der Schmiedetechnik auftritt. Diese ist nicht allein auf die regelhafte Verwendung hochprozentiger Zinnbronze ab der entwickelten Frühbronzezeit zurückzuführen. Vielmehr faßt man eine Stabilisierung der Herstellungsprozesse insgesamt, eine Angleichung metallurgischen Wissens und eine intensivere, überregionale Kommunikation. Ausgehend von diesem Befund wird nach handwerklicher Spezialisierung und der gesellschaftlichen Einbettung frühbronzezeitlicher Metallurgie gefragt. Indem wir Metallobjekte als Prestigegüter betrachten, deren Herstellung und Verwendung von einer entstehenden Oberschicht kontrolliert wurde, überschätzen wir das Organisationsniveau des frühbronzezeitlichen Metallhandwerks und die soziale Differenzierung der entsprechenden Gesellschaften. Denn im Siedlungs-und Bestattungswesen der Frühbronzezeit fehlen weitgehend die Belege für die Existenz stabiler gesellschaftlicher Hierarchien. Zu fragen ist also, wie die Zinnbronze auf einem eher niedrigen gesellschaftlichen Organisationsniveau allgemeine Akzeptanz finden und sich mit den Beilen des Typs Langquaid zudem eine deutliche Stabilisierung der Schmiedetechnik einstellen konnte. Unter Rückgriff auf ethnographische Analogien wird vorgeschlagen, daß Abstammungsgruppen als grundlegende Organisationseinheit vorstaatlicher Bevölkerungen auch für die Vermittlung und Angleichung metallurgischen Wissens entscheidende Bedeutung zukam.
Article
From 1967 to 1975 a team of archaeologists excavated the site of Tepe Yahya in southeastern Iran under the direction of C. C. Lamberg-Karlovsky. Although there are two forthcoming “final reports” (Hiebert (in progress), and Magee (in press); see also Lamberg-Karlovsky & Potts, 2001), analysis of the materials continues as opportunities allow. Metal artefacts, most especially those made of copper and its alloys, are found at this site from the late Neolithic through the Iron Age. Archaeometallurgical analysis, radiocarbon chronologies, and archaeological interpretation allow one to state when and how a type of metal or a style of object was invented, its use as a trade item, and its function and value to an ancient community. In the hopes of establishing a framework for future archaeometallurgical studies, most of the metal artefacts from Tepe Yahya, Iran, stored in the Peabody Museum of Harvard University, were analysed for elemental composition to complement stylistic and metallographic data.
Article
Godin Tepe, a large tell situated in western Iran along the Silk Road (High Road) and excavated from 1965 to 1973 by T. Cuyler Young, Jr. (Young, 1974, 1972, 1969, 1968; Young and Levine, 1974), yielded over 200 metal artifacts dating to the Early Bronze through Iron Ages. Sixty-nine of these were investigated for this project using traditional metallography and electron probe microanalysis. It was found that the metal objects at Godin Tepe reflect a range of manufacturing techniques and represent multiple producers. In addition, a high degree of variability in production methods is seen for typologically similar aesthetic items like bracelets and pins, but there is uniformity in production of utilitarian items like chisels. The metals from Godin Tepe have provided great insight into the diverse manufacturing methods present on the Iranian Plateau in antiquity, especially during the Bronze Age.
Article
In the article "Man's first encounters with metallurgy" by T. A. Wertime (4 Dec., p. 1257) the interpretation of the kinds of shading used in Table 1 was printed in reverse order. The correct order. is (i) Bronze. (ii) Smelting and closed mold casting of copper from ores. (iii) Melting and open mold casting of native copper. (iv) Hammering and annealing of native copper. The shading itself is correct. In Table 3, Tell Asmar was erroneously noted as being in Iran; it is located in Iraq.
Article
This article is dedicated to Ronald F. TylecoteArchaeologists and historians of metallurgy have attempted to explain the gradual abandonment of arsenic bronze in favor of tin bronze in the ancient Old world by making comparisons between the mechanical properties of the two bronzes. These comparisons purport to show the superiority of copper-tin alloys over alloys of copper and arsenic, despite an absence of data on the physical properties of the copper-arsenic system. The study reported here presents the results of mechanical tests carried out on experimental samples of both types of bronze over a broad range of alloy compositions. Hardness, tensile strength, and elongation determinations were made on cold worked and hot worked (forged) material. Whereas tin bronzes can be work hardened more extensively than arsenic bronzes, the far greater ductility of arsenic bronze makes it a desirable alloy for the manufacture of thin metal sheet. The widespread use of low-arsenic copper-arsenic alloys in the Americas, especially in the Andean culture area, is attributable in part to the tradition there of sheet metal production in the elaboration of three-dimensional forms.
Article
The paper reviews the corrosion morphology of some copper-based alloy objects frthe Middle Elamite site of Haft Tappeh, south-west Iran, about 1400 BC. These artefacts have undergone extensive bronze disease corrosion and their interior is completely converted to a greyish-white, tin-rich phase, with corresponding loss of copper.The paper reviews the corrosion morphology of some copper-based alloy objects frthe Middle Elamite site of Haft Tappeh, south-west Iran, about 1400 BC. These artefacts have undergone extensive bronze disease corrosion and their interior is completely converted to a greyish-white, tin-rich phase, with corresponding loss of copper.Cet article passe en revue la morphologie de la corrosion de quelques objets en alliages de cuivre provenant du site moyen élamite de Haft Tappeh, au sud-ouest de l'Iran, datant de 1400 avant JC environ. Ces objets ont subi une atteinte extensive de corrosion et leur intérieur est complètement transformé en une phase gris blanc riche en étain, ce qui découle de la disparition du cuivre.In der vorliegenden Arbeit wird ein Überblick über die Korrosionsmorphologie verschiedener Kupferlegierungen an Objekten des Mittleren Ostens aus Haft Tappeh, Südwestiran, etwa 1400 v. Chr. gegeben. Die Artefakte zeigen eine intensive Bronzekrankheit und das Innere ist vollständig in eine grauweiße, zinnreiche Phase umgewandelt, was dem Verlust an Kupfer entspricht.Este artículo trata la morfología de la corrosión en objetos realizados con aleaciones basadas en el cobre procedentes del yacimiento Haft Tappeh, del periodo Elamita Medio (c. 1400 a.C.) en el suroeste de Irán. Estos objetos presentaban una patología de corrosión generalizada y su interior se encontraba completamente transformado en una masa gris-blanca, rica en estaño, con una correspondiente pérdida del cobre.
Chapter
Southern Iran saw profound socio-economic and political transformations between 6500 and 3000 bc, which are marked by a series of innovations in ceramic production. This paper looks at the pace and nature of change in prehistoric ceramic technology and decorative style to investigate the relationships between processes of culture change, innovation and transmission. It is noted that the dynamics of culture change across the diverse cultural and physical geography of Southern Iran is marked by a complex pattern of rapidly dispersing major technological innovations followed by protracted periods, where there is evidence for regionally distinctive stylistic elaboration of vessel decoration and form. The multifaceted and variable relationships between people, material culture, technology, style and landscapes have the potential to provide insight into the dynamics of culture change.
Article
Models for the development of metallurgy in Southwest Asia have for a long time been focussed on research carried out in the lowland regions of the Levant and Mesopotamia. These models do not take into account the different developmental trajectories witnessed in the resource-rich highlands of Anatolia, the Caucasus, and Iran. In this paper, the beginnings of the use and production of metals in Iran will be juxtaposed with a cursory overview of the lowland model (the ‘Levantine Paradigm’) in order to highlight these differences. By synthesizing data from a number of current research projects exploring the early metallurgy of the Iranian Plateau, this paper demonstrates how at least one of the highland regions of Southwest Asia was at the very forefront of technological innovation from the seventh through the second millennium BC.
Article
An archaeological and metallurgical investigation was made in the Central Persian desert where diversified mineral deposits occur, the most prominent being gold, lead-silver, copper, iron, antimony, zinc, nickel and chromite. Evidence of heating copper in crucibles in the 5th millenium B.C. Has been found at Tal-i-Iblis in Kerman (the ancient Carmania) province, which also yields old mines and slag heaps. The more easily available cerussite (PbCO 3 ) was used as lead ore before the more deeply located and less readily smelted galena (PbS). The lead mines were a source of Pb and Ag in ancient times and some are mined today for Zn, which was formerly considered an impurity. Fumes of zinc oxide as by-product of lend smelting furnaces in this area were mentioned by Marco Polo who used the early name tutiya. The hypothesis that the use of iron ore in smelting lead was a factor in the discovery of iron still has not been proved. The copper-stained crucibles found at Iblis were probably used for casting rather than smelting; the crucible melted in an experiment in which a temperature of more than 1200°C was reached over a charcoal fire in forming a copper bead.
Gonur Depe. Eine bronzezeitliche Königsstadt in Mittelasien
  • N Boroffka
Boroffka 2015: N. Boroffka, "Gonur Depe. Eine bronzezeitliche Königsstadt in Mittelasien", Mitteilungen der Berliner Gesellschaft für Anthropologie, Ethnologie und Urgeschichte 15, 2015, pp. 15-24.
Tracing prehistoric social networks through technology. A diachronic perspective on the Aegean
Brysbaert 2011: A. Brysbaert (dir.), Tracing prehistoric social networks through technology. A diachronic perspective on the Aegean, Studies in Archaeology 3, New York/London, Routledge, 2011.
Die vorgeschichtlichen Montanreviere an der Grenze von Europa und Asien. Das Produktionszentrum Kargaly
  • E N Chernykh
Chernykh 2003: E.N. Chernykh, "Die vorgeschichtlichen Montanreviere an der Grenze von Europa und Asien. Das Produktionszentrum Kargaly", in T. Stöllner, G. Körlin, G. Steffens, J. Cierny (dir.), Man and Mining. Mensch und Bergbau. Studies in honour of Gerd Weisgerber on occasion of his 65th birthday, published in Der Anschnitt. Beiheft 16, 2003, pp. 79-92.
Archaeological ages as technological stages
  • V G Childe
Childe 1944: V.G. Childe, "Archaeological ages as technological stages", The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 74/1-2, 1944, pp. 7-24, pl. 1-2.
Craft specialization. Issues in defining, documenting and explaining the organization of production
  • C L Costin
Costin 1991: C.L. Costin, "Craft specialization. Issues in defining, documenting and explaining the organization of production", Archaeological Method and Theory 3, 1991, pp. 1-56.
Archaeology at the Millennium. A sourcebook
  • C L Costin
Costin 2001: C.L. Costin, "Craft production systems", in G.M. Feinman, T.D. Price (dir.), Archaeology at the Millennium. A sourcebook, New York, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, 2001, pp. 273-328.
Private houses and graves in the Diyala Region
  • P Delougaz
Delougaz 1967: P. Delougaz, "Khafajah", in P. Delougaz, H.D. Hill, S. Lloyd (dir.), Private houses and graves in the Diyala Region, Oriental Institute Publications 88, Chicago, The University of Chicago Press, 1967, pp. 1-142.
Trouvaille de la statuette d'or
  • R De Mecquenem
de Mecquenem 1905b: R. de Mecquenem, "Trouvaille de la statuette d'or", in J. de Morgan (dir.), Recherches archéologiques, Mémoires de la Délégation en Perse 7, Paris, Ernest Leroux, 1905, pp. 131 -136.
Ingenious man, inquisitive soul: essays in Iranian and Central Asian archaeology for C.C. Lamberg-Karlovsky on the occasion of his 65th birthday
  • Emberling
Emberling et al. 2002: G. Emberling, J. Robb, J.D. Speth, H.T. Wright, "Kunji Cave. Early Bronze Age burials in Luristan", Ingenious man, inquisitive soul: essays in Iranian and Central Asian archaeology for C.C. Lamberg-Karlovsky on the occasion of his 65th birthday. Iranica Antiqua 37/C, 2002, pp. 47-104.
Technological change in southwestern Asia. Metallurgical production styles and social values during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age, PhD
  • L Frame
Frame 2009: L. Frame, Technological change in southwestern Asia. Metallurgical production styles and social values during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age, PhD, The University of Arizona, Department of Anthropology, 2009 (unpublished).
Marv Dasht III. The excavation at Tall-i-Mushki
  • Fukai
  • Matsutani Horiuchi
Fukai, Horiuchi, Matsutani 1973: S. Fukai, K. Horiuchi, T. Matsutani, Marv Dasht III. The excavation at Tall-i-Mushki, Tokyo, Tokyo University, 1973.
Le 'Sit Šamši' de Šilhak in Šušinak
  • J.-E Gautier
Gautier 1911: J.-E. Gautier, "Le 'Sit Šamši' de Šilhak in Šušinak", in J. de Morgan (dir.), Recherches archéologiques, Mémoires de la Délégation en Perse 12, Paris, Ernest Leroux, 1911, pp. 143-151.