Data on the technological change of copper alloying in the light of finds excavated at the tumulus of Regöly

Szilvia Gyöngyösi, Z. Erdélyi, Laura Juhász, Péter Barkóczy, Mária Fekete, Géza Szabó

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We observed a Sn-Ni phase unnoticed earlier during the archaeometallurgical examinations even in several of the bronze objects of the tumulus of Regöly that can be linked to the early Ha D1 period, showing substantial changes in its finds and traceable via Asia Minor to Central Asia in its interrelations. In examining and revealing the reasons for the unique phenomenon, focus was being shifted increasingly to the raw material, the way copper had been alloyed. The fundamental step of bronze workmanship in the prehistoric age that is alloying copper with tin still triggers a number of disputes. Making tin bronze has basically four options that we know: melting a mixture of metallic tin and copper; adding naturally occurring tin oxide (tin ore or cassiterite, SnO2) to already molten copper; smelting an ore containing both copper and tin; reducing a mixture of copper ores and tin ores. Based on archaeological field observations, it is an overwhelming opinion on our continent that alloying to the raw material for the finds of the European Bronze Age was performed still in the smelting phase using a mixture of ores of the proper composition. At the same time, successful archaeological experiments demonstrate that it was possible to directly alloy pure metals, copper and tin, under the technical circumstances of the age in question. However, Europe shows no sign of having as intense production at significant archaeological sites of tin ores as at copper mines of the prehistoric age. Moreover, we are not aware of commerce of tin of any significant volume; the use of objects made from pure tin did not become widespread up to the end of the Bronze Age anywhere on our continent. The few tin objects known seem to be extremely low compared to the quantity of bronze produced in that age for the case of alloying pure copper even if we assume the melting of the majority of tin objects. Also, no proof of alloying pure-metallic tin has been shown as yet at archaeometallurgical sites in the area of Europe during archaeometallurgical examinations, to our knowledge. The data referring to the direct alloying of copper unknown earlier in the European material of the new Sn-Ni phase observed in the Regöly finds examined recently also proves that manufacturisation and the accompanying explosion-like technological advance is not the outcome of the internal development of the Hallstatt culture sphere. It had been a ready-implemented practice in Europe by masters of the last Ionian migration starting from Asia Minor in the last third of the 7th century BC in the Carpathian Basin just as had been the technology of alloying copper directly with metallic tin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-28
Number of pages16
JournalArcheometriai Muhely
Volume16
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019

Fingerprint

Copper
Tumuli
Technological Change
Ore
Bronze
Smelting
Bronze Age
Melting
Raw Materials
Asia Minor
Archaeology
Fundamental
Dispute
Metals
Hallstatt
Experiment
Tin-bronze
Carpathian Basin
Tin Oxide
Archaeological Sites

Keywords

  • Cauldron
  • Chain
  • Copper
  • Incenser
  • Lead
  • Manufacturisation
  • Metal-to-metal alloying
  • Nickel
  • Serial production
  • Tin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology

Cite this

Gyöngyösi, S., Erdélyi, Z., Juhász, L., Barkóczy, P., Fekete, M., & Szabó, G. (2019). Data on the technological change of copper alloying in the light of finds excavated at the tumulus of Regöly. Archeometriai Muhely, 16(1), 13-28.

Data on the technological change of copper alloying in the light of finds excavated at the tumulus of Regöly. / Gyöngyösi, Szilvia; Erdélyi, Z.; Juhász, Laura; Barkóczy, Péter; Fekete, Mária; Szabó, Géza.

In: Archeometriai Muhely, Vol. 16, No. 1, 01.01.2019, p. 13-28.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Gyöngyösi, S, Erdélyi, Z, Juhász, L, Barkóczy, P, Fekete, M & Szabó, G 2019, 'Data on the technological change of copper alloying in the light of finds excavated at the tumulus of Regöly', Archeometriai Muhely, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 13-28.
Gyöngyösi, Szilvia ; Erdélyi, Z. ; Juhász, Laura ; Barkóczy, Péter ; Fekete, Mária ; Szabó, Géza. / Data on the technological change of copper alloying in the light of finds excavated at the tumulus of Regöly. In: Archeometriai Muhely. 2019 ; Vol. 16, No. 1. pp. 13-28.
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