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Copper processing in the oases of northwest Arabia: technology, alloys and provenance

Liu, S; Rehren, T; Pernicka, E; Hausleiter, A; (2015) Copper processing in the oases of northwest Arabia: technology, alloys and provenance. Journal of Archaeological Science , 53 pp. 492-503. 10.1016/j.jas.2014.10.030. Green open access

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Abstract

Very little is known about early metallurgical activity in the north-western part of the Arabian Peninsula, despite the region’s cultural importance. To begin to address this research lacuna, metallurgical remains including crucible fragments, metal dross and a copper artefact were sampled from two oases in northwest Arabia, Qurayyah and Tayma. The metallurgical activity in Qurayyah is dated to the Late Bronze Age, and in Tayma to the Roman/Late Roman period. At both sites we identified evidence for copper alloying and refining. Small scale copper smelting might also have been practiced in Qurayyah. Arsenical copper was processed at both sites, but in Tayma tin bronze and leaded tin bronze dominated. The chemical analysis of metal prills in crucible linings showed that fresh copper and tin instead of scrap metal were employed in these processes. Lead isotope analysis indicates that at least some of the Tayma metal was imported. Access to raw materials from remote areas is consistent with the importance of Tayma in the trading network of northwest Arabia.

Type: Article
Title: Copper processing in the oases of northwest Arabia: technology, alloys and provenance
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2014.10.030
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2014.10.030
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Archaeometallurgy, copper smelting, arsenical copper, bronze alloying, Saudi Arabia, Late Bronze Age, Roman
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/1455994
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