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Repealing the Çatalhöyük extractive metallurgy: The green, the fire and the 'slag'

Radivojević, M; Rehren, T; Farid, S; Pernicka, E; Camurcuoğlu, D; (2017) Repealing the Çatalhöyük extractive metallurgy: The green, the fire and the 'slag'. Journal of Archaeological Science , 86 pp. 101-122. 10.1016/j.jas.2017.07.001. Green open access

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Abstract

The scholarly quest for the origins of metallurgy has focused on a broad region from the Balkans to Central Asia, with different scholars advocating a single origin and multiple origins, respectively. One particular find has been controversially discussed as the potentially earliest known example of copper smelting in western Eurasia, a copper 'slag' piece from the Late Neolithic to Chalcolithic site of Catal-hoyuk in central Turkey. Here we present a new assessment of metal making at Çatalhöyük based on the re-analysis of minerals, mineral artefacts and high-temperature materials excavated in the 1960s by J. Mellaart and first analysed by Neuninger, Pittioni and Siegl in 1964. This paper focuses on copper-based minerals, the alleged piece of metallurgical slag, and copper metal beads, and their contextual relationship to each other. It is based on new microstructural, compositional and isotopic analyses, and a careful re-examination of the fieldwork documentation and analytical data related to the c. 8500 years old high-temperature debris at Çatalhöyük. We re-interpret the sample identified earlier as metallurgical slag as incidentally fired green pigment, which was originally deposited in a burial and later affected by a destructive fire that also charred the bones of the interred body. We also re-confirm the contemporary metal beads as made from native metal. Our results provide a new and conclusive explanation of the previously contentious find, and reposition Çatalhöyük in a new narrative of the multiple origins of metallurgy in the Old World.

Type: Article
Title: Repealing the Çatalhöyük extractive metallurgy: The green, the fire and the 'slag'
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2017.07.001
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2017.07.001
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: MetallurgySlagCopper mineralsPigmentsÇatalhöyükAnatolia
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/1571679
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