The location of specialized copper production by the lost wax technique in the Chalcolithic southern Levant

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Abstract

The origins of southern Levantine Chalcolithic copper metallurgy have been debated for decades. Typological and metallurgical examinations of the copper artifacts from the Nahal Mishmar hoard and elsewhere have indicated a dichotomy between simple tools, made of pure copper by open casting, and elaborate items made by the "lost wax" technique of copper alloys with arsenic, antimony, and nickel. While the first were considered local production of the northern Negev sites, the prestige objects were either considered as imports from the remote sources of arsenic copper, or local to the southern Levant. The present paper presents the results of a research project that was aimed at examining this issue through the analysis of ceramic mold remains that were still attached to a large number of copper implements from Israel. The En Gedi area in the Judean Desert of Israel is identified as the place of origin of all copper objects produced by this method. Based on the results, some new interpretations are suggested to the complex topic of Chalcolithic copper metallurgy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-397
Number of pages24
JournalGeoarchaeology
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

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