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Experimental design of the Cu-As-Sn ternary colour diagram

Radivojević, M; Pendić, J; Srejić, A; Korać, M; Davey, C; Benzonelli, A; Martinón-Torres, M; ... Kamberović, Z; + view all (2017) Experimental design of the Cu-As-Sn ternary colour diagram. Journal of Archaeological Science , 90 pp. 106-119. 10.1016/j.jas.2017.12.001. Green open access

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Abstract

The aesthetic appearance of metals has long been recognised in archaeometric studies as an important factor driving inventions and innovations in the evolution of metal production. Nevertheless, while studies of ancient gold metallurgy are well supported by modern research in colour characteristics of gold alloys, the colour properties of major prehistoric copper alloys, such as arsenical copper and tin bronzes, remain either largely understudied or not easily accessible to the western scholarship. A few published studies have already indicated that alloying and heat treatment change the colours of copper alloys, although they are mainly based on examples of prehistoric tin bronze objects and experimental casts. Here we present a procedure for building the Cu-As-Sn ternary colour diagram, starting with experimental casting of 64 binary and ternary alloys in this system. We used two types of information to produce two different ternary colour diagrams: one based on photographs of the samples, and the other based on the colorimetric measurements. Furthermore, we developed a procedure for creating a graphic representation of colours in the Cu-As-Sn ternary diagram using QGIS. As an initial case study, we plotted the composition of the world's earliest tin bronze artefacts; the graphic representation further supports claims about the importance of a golden hue for their invention and demand, c. 6500 years ago. We argue that the presented colour diagrams will find wide use in future investigations of aesthetics of prehistoric copper alloys.

Type: Article
Title: Experimental design of the Cu-As-Sn ternary colour diagram
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2017.12.001
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2017.12.001
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Colour, Copper alloys, Ternary diagram, Cu-As-Sn alloys, Colorimetry, Archaeometallurgy, Composition, Voronoi cells, Tin bronze
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10042747
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