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Inventing Metallurgy in Western Eurasia: a Look Through the Microscope Lens

Radivojević, M; (2015) Inventing Metallurgy in Western Eurasia: a Look Through the Microscope Lens. Cambridge Archaeological Journal , 25 (01) pp. 321-338. 10.1017/S0959774314001097. Green open access

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Abstract

The quest for the ‘when’ and ‘where’ of the world's earliest metallurgy has been dominating scholarly research on this topic for decades. This paper looks beyond the question of origins by discussing ‘how’ and ‘why’ metallurgy was invented. It looks into choices and skills involved in selection, experimentation and processing of distinctively coloured copper minerals and ores throughout c. 2000 years in the Balkans. The body of evidence is built around the currently earliest evidence for copper smelting, dated at c. 5000 bc and discovered in the Serbian Vinča culture site of Belovode. The ‘microstructure’ of a metal invention process is explored through optical and compositional analyses of a selection of copper minerals and metal production evidence: ores, slags, slagged sherds and metal droplets recovered from seven settlements in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, altogether dated between the late seventh and the late fifth millennia bc. This research suggests an independent technological trajectory of the emergence of metallurgy in the Balkans based on a unique technological meme, black and green mineral, which follows the evolution of early metallurgy from mono- to polymetallic within the fifth millennium bc.

Type: Article
Title: Inventing Metallurgy in Western Eurasia: a Look Through the Microscope Lens
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/S0959774314001097
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0959774314001097
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.
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
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1470180
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