Technology in Ancient Anatolia Turkey (Tűrkiye)
Bronze Age Metal Technology
in Ancient Anatolia-Turkey
Copper and Copper Alloys
The earliest objects were made of native copper which is not very
common but occurs in small quantities in certain region. Native
relatively pure copper is a soft malleable material which can
be worked by cold hammering to form small objects. Although easy
to work, its versatility is limited. Hammering up to a point increases
its strength, but too much hammering can cause deformation of
the crystalline structure of the metal, resulting in the object
becoming brittle and cracking. Annealing, i.e. heating up to a
temperature of c. 400 C below melting point, causes re-crystallization
and reduces the possibility of cracking.
The oxides are also the easiest to work. The sulphides
accessible and more difficult to work but they constitute the
major copper deposits in Anatolia.
There is evidence for the use of copper during Neolithic. Excavations
at Cayonu have unearthed
objects made of native copper. Some experts believe that the practice
of annealing was used as early as Neolithic times.
The chalcholithic period, literally the copper-stone age, is so
named because copper quite commonly used for artefacts, alongside
the stone which had dominated the industries of preceding periods.
During the chalcholithic, however, technology relied increasingly
on metals and less on stone and obsidian for tools. Objects made
from native and pure copper and copper alloys were produces, and
the technique of casting was learned. Metal artefacts from Canhasan
include copper jewellery and a mace head made of almost pure copper
with shaft-hole casting.
The versatility of copper and the durability of copper with some
other metal and heating to produce an alloy. The most efficient
man-made copper alloy was a combination of copper and tin, resulting
in bronze. Analysis of bronze objects from Alacahoyuk
reveals proportions which indicate production of bronze containing
a percentage of tin ranging from 9% to 17%.
In all regions of Anatolia the majority of artefacts
of a late chalcholithic date were made of unalloyed copper. Some were also
made of arsenical coppers with a low arsenic content. Natural
arsenical copper is found in many regions of Anatolia and has
similar properties to tin-bronzes. Although tin is rare, there
was not such a huge demand for it during the first centuries of
the Bronze Age, and the local supplies were perhaps equal to the
relatively limited demand. Pure tin was sometimes used for soldering,
but it is not very suitable as a material in its own right as
it has a tendency to crack.
Before the smelting process begins, some of the unwanted particles
in copper and other ores can be removed by crushing the crude
ore into smaller pieces and washing, after which the ore must
be dried. A flux, the most suitable of which was iron oxide, combines
with unwanted material in the ore, facilitating the formation
of slag and, thus, the separation process. The understanding of
the importance of fluxes in the smelting process shows the levels
to which metallurgical technology had advanced in the Bronze Age.
For smelting they used furnaces, since they know that concentrated
heat in a closed space would produce higher temperatures and that
it was necessary to supply a draft, and it was probably a small
step to modify this idea for the purpose of smelting metals. The
earliest smelting furnaces discovered are of a Late chalcholithic date.
Smelting furnaces have also been found at some settlements. At
Norsuntepe, a site which
is now under the waters of Keban dam, smelting furnaces, copper
ore, slag, fragments of clay crucibles or molds, and finished
metal artefacts have been found inside and in the courtyards of
a group of buildings which seems to represent a quarter of the
settlement inhabited by metal workers.
Vessels made of gold and silver appear at the beginning of the
Bronze Age. In order to process gold, the placer deposits have
first to be separated from the gravel and sand by panning, after
which the metal is refined by eliminating the Cu and base metals,
producing a gold-silver alloy. This was probably achieved sing
the process of cupellation. Experiments have indicated that it
was employed from the 7th century BC at Sardis. It
has been suggested that similar techniques of gold refining were
used perhaps as early as the late 3rd millennium BC,
but this is not absolutely certain.
Silver can be removed from lead ores by repeated cupellation,
thereby oxidizing the lead. There is evidence from Beycesultan
to suggest the cupellation may have been practiced to produce
silver during the Late chalcholithic.
Artefacts made of gold-silver alloy, or of either gold or silver
alloyed with an amount of copper, were fairly common.
There is evidence for the smelting of lead during the
Chalcholithic period. One of the earliest lead artefacts was fond at Catalhoyuk,
dating to the mid 7th millennium BC. Lead was often
a component of a ternary alloy of copper, tin and lead, probably because it improved the
fluidity of the bronze casting.
A small number of iron objects have been fond in contexts of a
pre-3000 BC date. In the 3rd millennium their occurrence
increases, but finds are still sporadic. Weapons and tools were
made from iron for ritual of ceremonial purposes, decorative items
such as jewellery were made either from iron only or iron and some
other precious material.
There appear to have been less artefacts made from iron in the
Middle than in the Early Bronze Age, but from at least as early
as the 2nd millennium BC the number increases.
Iron was more difficult to process successfully than most other
metals. Smelted iron cold be worked to a certain extent by repeated
hammering and annealing. At Alacahoyuk,
both the artefacts made from smelted iron and meteoric iron ore
found, but it is not certain whether early smelted iron objects
were smelted deliberately or accidentally.
The Production of Metal Vessels
After smelting, copper and copper alloys emerge in rough ingot
form. The metal might then be further refined by re-heating, then
cast in a prepared mold. These molds were open molds and two sided
molds. Another method was spinning, which involved the cast metal
being secured in a lathe and hammered from the outside whilst
it rotated. During the hammering process, periodic annealing would
be necessary. Vessels made in more than one piece required joining,
but it is often difficult to determine how the joining of the
two parts had been accomplished, as the joins were usually intentionally
masked for aesthetic reasons. There were a number of possible
methods of joining, including sweating, casting on and soldering.
Sweating is the heating and hammering of the two ends or edges
which required joining. Casting on involves using a molten form
of the same metal as the vessel itself. Soldering requires the
use of a metal or alloy with a melting point below that of the
metal from which the vessel was made; lead and/or tin was used
because of the low melting points. Hammering was also used for
joining in the Early Bronze Age vessels.
Technological Style in Early Bronze Age Anatolia
Ceramic crucibles, which were fundamental to the technology of
tin smelting in Early Bronze Age Anatolia, are essentially thick
walled open vessels able to withstand heating at very high temperatures.
The manufacturers of these crucibles obviously had some knowledge
of the advantages and disadvantages of using the different types
Anatolian metallic ware is a very hard, handmade, quartz-tempered
fabric fired at very high temperatures comparable to those reached
in the process of tin smelting, i.e. 1100C. There may be a positive
correlation between development of higher fired wares and high
firing temperatures used by metal smiths.
In most cases, metal smith need to crash and grind his materials
to reduce them to a powdery state and then remove the impurities
by vanning. Some of the metal smith's techniques were used in
the production of the hard-fired metallic ware. A more concrete
example is the paddle and anvil used for beating or hammering,
a technique shared by both potters and smiths alike (Trachsler
1965). This beating can be used to smooth the seams and surfaces
of vessels made of metal.
It is no coincidence that Anatolian metallic ware is found in
the Taurus mountains, an area rich in metal resources: silver,
gold, copper, tin and iron. Moreover, a study of the central Taurus
region revealed tunnel and pit mines, which on the evidence of
pottery and radiocarbon dates, have been dated to the Early Bronze
Age. Ore processing tools, crucible fragments and slag have found
on various sites throughout the region. Furthermore, the tin mines
at Kestel near Goltepe
show clear evidence of being worked during the Early Bronze Age
(Yener et al. 1991; Yener and Vandier, 1993).
Yener et al. (1991) have analyzed samples of ore and slag from
ancient mining sites in the Central Taurus range for stable lead
isotope ratios (Sayre et. al. 1992). The isotopic signatures of
the slag match the signatures of the ores from the local mines
indicating that the metals found in the slag did indeed originate
in the Central Taurus. The authors then followed up this analysis
with samples of chalcholithic and Early Bronze Age metal artefacts from south-western Asia to see if the isotope ratios of any of
those metals matched the ores and slag from the central Taurus.
They found over fifty artefacts with isotope ratios that are consistent
with one of the known Taurus ore fields (Yener et. al. 1991).
These metal artefacts included samples from Tarsus, Mersin, Tell
al-Judaidah, Hassek Hoyuk
and Acemhöyuk. The lead
isotope ratios of these artefacts all point to an origin in the
central Taurus region. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to suggest
that the central Taurus mountains supplied Cilicia and the Konya
plain with such valuable metals as silver, gold, copper, iron
and tin. Anatolian metallic ware has been found at Goltepe,
Tarsus, Mersin, Acemhöyuk and across the Konya plain.
Emre (1966) suggests that the technique of slipping and polishing
gives a gloss of copper to the terra-cotta vessels. It is possible
that metallic ware retained some of the formal characteristics
of metal vessels such as shape, sheen, and decoration but was
simply made of cheaper material. Schneider (1989) suggests that
the development of the hard-fired stone ware or Syrian metallic
ware is related to the competition with metal and that it was
not only the wish to make a denser and harder pottery but also
to imitate a metallic appearance by producing gray to red colours,
thus making pots look like used copper jars.
The Anatolian metallic ware under discussion has certain basic
characteristics. It is handmade, tempered with fine quartz sand,
ad fired at a very high temperature. It is hard, thin, breaks
along a straight fracture and makes a high pitched clinky sound
when struck, its colour varies from buff to orange to brown. The
vessels are usually slipped in a shade very near the colour of
the clay itself before firing or washed after firing. Some examples
are slightly burnished, the most common forms of metallic ware
are jugs with cylindrical necks, jugs with funnel necks and pitchers
with rising spouts, some bowls and cups are also made of metallic
ware. The metallic ware from Goltepe
is either plain or painted with a purplish-red or purplish-brown.
The most common painted designs are simple bands around the rim,
a row of dots at the base of the neck, and wavy vertical lines.
The jug with the cylindrical neck often has two opposing vertical
handles set between the rim and the shoulder of the vessel. The
pitcher with the rising spout usually has a single handle set
between the rim and the base of the neck. Many handles have marks
clearly inscribed on them, lugs are often found opposite the larger
handles just beneath the rim of the spout and sometimes on the
shoulder. Because lug-shaped handles are attached both vertically
and horizontally, Ozten (1989)
declares them not to be functional. This conclusion remains open
to further investigation.
In Anatolia, the most common form of a metallic ware is the painted
jugs which are found in and around the Taurus mountains, in Cilicia
and across the Konya plain. the distribution of this particular
variety of metallic ware demonstrates that Anatolian metallic
ware is common to the Taurus mountains and neighbouring regions
and in some places overlaps with Syrian metallic ware.
The Taurus publication (Goldman 1956) depicts a number of vessels
and shreds that look remarkably like the metallic ware from Mersin
and Goltepe: a jug with
a cylindrical neck, a pitcher with rising spout, and a various
painted shreds. All of these pieces are described by Mellink (in
Goldman 1956) as "light clay miniature lug ware," which
is a thin, hard, well-fired buff-yellowish ware tempered with
sand which gives it a gritty feel. The ware is uniform in section,
implying that it is well-levigated. This particular variety of
metallic ware is distinguished by the presence of small, pierced
and unpierced lugs just beneath the rim or spout on the jars and
jugs. Shapes include jars with cylindrical neck, jugs with rising
spouts, two-handled jars, and bowls. Some of the pieces are burnished
and then painted with a purplish-red pigment. The painted designs
are similar to those found on the Goltepe
vessels. Mellink (1992) suggests that the light clay miniature
lug ware is a unique type of handmade painted ware, a "subgroup
of the handmade "metallic" ware of the Konya and Aksaray-Nigde
Two handmade jugs with rising spouts were found in an unsatisfied
context at the bottom of Trench X in the excavation of Mersin.
Both jugs are painted on their rims and handles and are very similar
in appearance to those found at Goltepe.
They each have a buff core, an orange-coloured slip and are lightly
burnished, the paint is brownish black. Garstang compares the
shape of these vessels with a similar jar from Tarsus (Garstang
and Goldman 1947).
Melleart (1954) describes the painted thin metallic ware from
the Konya plain as being thin, handmade, buff or red, gritty,
very hard fired and having a clinky ring when struck. The colour of the exterior ranges from buff to apricot to brown and bluish
gray or purplish black when overfired. The vessels are painted
with thick dark red, brown, black, purple and white matt paint.
Bands are painted around the lip of the vessel. Squiggles and
rows of dots are painted at the base of the neck. As Goltepe,
incisions are found only on the handles. Shapes include jugs with
cylindrical necks and jugs with rising spouts and lug handles
One possible metallic ware jug has been recognized in the EB II
levels at Kultepe. This
jug was found in a cist grave in level 14. It is brown, handmade,
squat, loop-handled beak-spouted pitcher with a pierced lug just
beneath the rim opposite the handle. Ozguc notes that this form is foreign to the region and has its closest
parallel at Tarsus in light clay miniature lug ware. Anatolian
metallic ware has also been recognized at Acemhöyuk in level 10 of the deep sounding (Ozten
1989; N. Ozguc 1983).
Metallic ware was first recorded on Early Bronze Age sites in
Anatolia by Seton-Williams in her 1951 survey of Cilicia. This
list was later appended by James Mellaart (1963) who participated
on the original survey. Mellaart added four more sites to Seton-Williams'
original list of 25, totalling 29 sites whose Early Bronze Age
assemblages contained metallic ware. Mellaart later recorded metallic
ware on 58 of the 135 known Early Bronze Age sites scattered across
the Konya plain. A more recent survey of Cilicia was conducted
in 1991 by a team from Bilkent University under the direction
of Dr. Ilknur Ozgen and Dr. Marie-Henriette
Gates. Their survey would add two more sites to the list
compiled by Mellaart and Seton-Williams but their pottery descriptions
are not as useful primary due to the confusion over the identity
of metallic ware on the part of the author.
The metallic ware that occurs in northern Syria in the latter
half of the third millennium is commonly referred to as "stone
ware" by archaeologists working in that region (Orthmann
1986). It is called so because its shapes are similar to contemporary
metal vessels and it has a metallic clinky sound when struck (Schneider
1989). Like Anatolian metallic ware, it is hard, well-fired, highly
vitrified and has a straight fracture when broken. Stone ware,
however, is fundamentally different from Anatolian metallic ware
because it is wheel made, not handmade.
During the tin smelting process tin ore, flux and charcoal were
placed in the interior of the vessel which upon heating to high
temperatures (950C-1000C) resulted in a blackened, reduced surface.
The lower parts of the crucibles were set in the ground and exposed
to a low firing temperature (700C-800C), producing and oxidized
reddish-orange surface. The interior of the crucibles is hard
whereas the exterior is soft and fireable. It should be noted that
the crucibles were not prefired as ceramics but rather fired for
the first time with the tin ore charge in place (Yener and Vandiver
I. The Proto-Urban Period
Late Chalcholithic-EB I: c. 3800-2800 BC
A. Western Anatolia
Our information about this period derives from three sides; Kurucay,
Beycesultan and Kusura.
The metallurgy observed at Kurucay
should have originated elsewhere for Duru (1983). Chemical analyses
indicate that unalloyed copper was used by the local smiths. The
presence of 1.19 Zn in the copper adze may be interpreted as an
early attempt in deliberate alloying.
About Beycesultan, Yakar agrees with de Jesus that the small amount
of metalwork from the early levels should not mislead us into
concluding that the metal industries at this site were underdeveloped.
The majority of the objects in the metal hoard were made of unalloyed
copper. However, low arsenical coppers were already being used
by the local smiths here to produce certain objects. As for the
silver ring found in the hoard, if it was not made of native silver
then one can assume that cupellation was already being practiced
at this time in western Anatolia.
In Kusura too, the majority of the metal artefacts
were made of
unalloyed copper. But it seems that tin-bronze technology was
introduced at this site towards the end of EB I. The range of
metal objects at Kusura is limited to pins and needles which could
have been produced locally, or as suggested by de Jesus acquired
B. Central and North Central Anatolia
Alisar Hoyuk 19M-12M:
The repertory of metal objects is limited to awls, pins
and trinkets made of copper, silver, lead and tin-bronze. It should
be stressed, however, that tin-bronzes are few and found in the
late EB I (levels 13-12 M). Some artefacts are made of low arsenical
coppers. On the basis of available evidence and the absence of
molds from these or later third millennium BC levels, it is difficult
to judge whether the proto-urban settlement had its local industry
or relied on outside sources (e.g. itinerant smiths).
This side produced two flat-axes made of copper containing
less than 1% As. These objects may be dated to the last quarter
of the fourth millennium BC
Fragments of metal objects such as pins, rings and awls
found in almost all the Chalcholithic phases at Ikiztepe
are further proof that the metallurgy of this region too
had its origins elsewhere. The metal analyses published recently
suggest that most of the objects were made of unalloyed copper.
However, two of the metal objects analyzed contained small amounts
of arsenic which suggests that the metal smiths of Ikiztepe
were already familiar with copper-arsenic alloy.
C. Eastern Anatolia
Excavations in south-eastern Anatolia are producing important archaeological
discoveries compare to those made in Keban in the last decade.
It now seems that the "colonial" settlements of the
Uruk period were not limited to northern Syria only. Mesopotamian
settlers expanded their network of "colonies" in the
direction of the upper Euphrates valley, in the metal-rich zone
extending between Urfa and Keban. They were thus in a geographically
ideal position to provide their "mother" cities with
smelted copper, arsenic-rich copper, silver and even with finished
metal artefacts needed in the south. The silver deposits in the
Keban and the rich copper belt south of Elazig
must have been partially exploited by prospectors of different
cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The Uruk "colony" at
Norsuntepe had set up
a most elaborate metal industry which could have supplied both
the local demand and export orders.
of the mud brick houses, built according to Mesopotamian architectural
tradition, produce smelting furnaces, heaps of copper ore, chunks
of slag, fragments of burned clay and metal objects such as rings,
pins, and awls. The presence of so many finds relating to metallurgical
activity inside houses and also in courtyards and streets indicate
that the exposed buildings were inhabited by metal workers. The slogs found in the Uruk settlement were analyzed by Zwicker (1980).
According to hi a crystalline type of ore could not have been
used for copper smelting because the resulting copper alloy would
contain too much Sb and could not be fabricated into tools and
weapons (1980). This type of ore could be found in tertiary volcanic
rocks which have been mineralized locally. The copper carbonates
and the compounds of Sb, As, Pb and Zn occurs as fissure filings
together with quartz and borite. Crystalline type of ore could
have been used later as a raw material for an alloying reaction
with copper to produce an alloy containing Sb and As and thus
increase the hardness of copper. Similar ores can be found in
the Azerbaijan mineralized area which is the continuation of the
northeast Anatolian mineralized zone. Although the high content
of Sb and As would be suitable for an improved copper product
in the diagrammatic tree of the development of metallurgy, there
was no evidence of Sb and As in the slag analysis from the Late Chalcholithic level (Zwicker 1980). The ore used for the production
of the excavated slag was an easily reducible sandstone type of
ore. In all slag samples investigated from Norsuntepe
chloride was found in the interior of the slag so that one can
assume that chloride was found in the interior of the slag so
that one can assume that chloride fluxes were used for smelting
this oxidized ore. It seems that at about 3500 BC in Norsuntepe
an oxidized copper ore was smelted and that first trials
with a more complicated Sb and As containing ore were intended.
At a later time, 2800 BC, the workshops of Norsuntepe
were among the early users of sulphide ore for smelting copper
(Zwicker 1980). Zwicker believes that the small heaps of slag
could indicate that the smelting was votive smelting for an unknown
deity, Finds relating to metallurgical activity in the first half
of the third millennium BC include a horse-shoe-shaped fire place
used for melting copper, smelting furnaces in levels XXI-XIX,
clay-clones and a two-piece mould for casting a "Karaz type"
shaft-hole axes, crucibles and slag heaps. Metal artefacts from
the EB I-II levels consist mainly of decorated pins. It should
be added here that some of the pits found between levels XXII-XXIV
and XXIV-XXV contained vast quantities of slag, fragments of moulds
Ten analyses of slag and copper-ore fragments indicate that malachite
or azurite type ores were smelted at Tepecik and Tulintepe.
The high Ni and As contents in some of the samples suggest that
the copper used was not from the Ergani deposits. The smiths of
Tepecik, Tulintepe and Norsuntepe
could have obtained their supplies of copper from the deposits
of Malazgirt, the Ovacik-Tunceli
area, Coplerkoy, Mamlis, Keydak
and Karabek. The copper-ore sample Bu-31/82 from Tepecik
contained %0.72 tin which could indicate not only another source
of copper in Elazig, but
a remote possibility that Pertek was a source of tin in antiquity.
The metal artefacts discovered in the Late Chalcholithic levels
(Uruk settlement) and EB I-III houses are not very spectacular.
However, of interest is a spearhead mould found in the EB II strata.
It is important to emphasize that high content arsenical copper
objects in the Keban appear after this region was settled by newcomers
arriving from Transcaucasia (or via Transcaucasia).
Korucutepe Late Chalcolithic: One of the two mud-brick
tombs had a wooden roof recalling the roofed house-like tombs
of the Kurgan culture. The gray pottery found in one of the tombs
in reminiscent of the ceramics of the Gray Ware culture of northern
Iran, c. 3000 BC. At Turengtepe this culture is considered to
be Indo-European. Finds from this cemetery include several lumps
of copper ore near a child burial which suggests copper working
nearby. But the most spectacular metal artifacts were discovered
in two of the excavated monumental tombs. These are: (a) a mace-head
of a bluish black metal, probably haematite or iron ore, (b) a
silver band ending in spirals, (c) a tanged dagger with midrib,
(d) a silver stamp seal-bracelet, engraved with a horned animal,
not unlike the wild mountain goat often depicted in Iran. Another
burial, a young girl, was also buried with silver objects. Around
her head a silver band was accompanied with two pairs of small
silver rings with overlapping ends. On top of her skull were too
more silver rings, probably forming a hint ornament. Around her
neck she wore a crescent-shade gorget made of silver. Near the
right forearm 16 pieces of silver metal thread (4 mm in thickness)
were found. Near the pelvis a band silver pin completes this extensive
range of jewelry found in this tomb.
Arslantepe (Malatya) VI A-B: One of the most spectacular
discoveries made in level VI A, corresponding roughly to the proto-literate
b-c/d period in Mesopotamia, is a hoard of "22 arsenical
bronze objects made up of 9 swords, 3 of them decorated with silver
inlay, 12 spearheads and a plaque which is thought to be a buckle.
The dating of this hoard which was found in 2 bundles of problematical;
it was found in the remains of a building which is slightly later
than the palace. The character and typology of the Arslantepe
hoard have important chronological and technological implications
in the evaluations of the origins of Anatolian and north Syrian
metallurgies. According to Palmieri the swords must have been
cast in open molds and the spearheads in closed ones. The swords
are flat and there is no difference between thickness of the blade
and hilt. The hilts are decorated with raised bands, incised and
some with silver inlay. The spearheads have leaf-shaped blades
with a cylindroid mid-rib and a long butt. Tangs are straight
ending in chisel-shaped tips. This type of spearhead is closely
comparable to those known to us from Karahasan and Carchemish.
The plaque of quadruple spiral shape found together with the spearheads
and swords is equally problematic to date. In Near Eastern jewelry
this motif is found in later periods, although in glyptic art
it is represented in the EB I not only at Arslantepe but in the
Amuq (Phase G) and in the Euprathes valley as well.
The alloying technique, as described by Palmieri (1981), suggests
that arsenic in high proportions was added to produce a deliberate
alloy of arsenical bronze. The content of arsenic for the swords
range between 5.8 and 3.2%; for the spearheads 4.3 - 1.3% and
finally for the plaque 5.6%. In fact the EB III cemetery produced
hundreds of metal objects produced with this type of alloy. One
of the quadruple spiral plaques from Ikiztepe
was found to contain up to 5% As.
D. The Amuq (Phases F and G)
The metal tools from phase F reflect the wide range of the local
repertory which include reamers, pins, daggers and chisels. This
were made of copper containing over 10% nickel. Although arsenic
is present in these alloys this is attributed to the presence
of nickel. From the typological point of view of metal work of
this period seems to have been the product of a local industry
with a long tradition and experience.
The phase G metal artifacts include cupreous objects such as pins,
reamers, and a necklace which, from the typological point of view,
partly shows an advance from the previous period. However, this
phase witnessed changes in alloying techniques. Tin and arsenical
bronzes are now more in evidence replacing the copper nickel alloys
of Amuq F. There is no reason to believe that the new alloying
techniques were developed by local smiths with no outside stimulus.
It is very likely that the changes in alloying practices were
also related to changes in the sources of copper supplies. In
fact, the high nickel content in the copper tools of the previous
period suggest that the source for such copper may have been located
as far away as Oman or western Iran. The absence of nickel in
phase G indicates a switch to different sources of copper ore.
The group consists of three male and three female figures which
were obviously cast using lost-wax process. The basic metal of
the figurines is a copper-base alloy with over 10% tin content,
to be called true bronze. With the exception of one female figure,
all of the statuettes have various details added in a non-copper-base
alloy. This metal is a silver-rich alloy with copper and gold.
It was used in sheets for the helmets of the male figures and
the caps and collars of the two larger female figures. The clump
in which the figurines were found yielded fragments of the accessories
of the figurines in both the silver alloy and the cupreous metal
with tin alloy.
II. The Early Urban Period
EB II: c. 2800-2450/2400 BC
During this period which must have lasted 4 centuries, the metal
industry in Anatolia continued to develop at a slow pace. Regional
schools of metalwork in west and central Anatolia introduced new
alloying methods for the production of bronze tools, weapons and
other objects. However, unalloyed copper was still the most common
metal used in Anatolia, followed by arsenical-bronze, tin-bronze
of lower grades of alloys containing small amounts of tin and
arsenic in copper (ternary alloys). Tin-lead pewters were occasionally
produced by some local work shops in this period. For ornamental
purposes pewter may have offered a more economical material than
silver or tin-bronze. But it could also be that lead was included
in the tin and arsenical bronzes in order to preserve the latter
from "metal disease".
A. Western Anatolia
Troy I-II a-b: Copper and bronze casting in open and closed
molds was practiced at Troy I to produce jewelry and arrange of
other items. Knives with curved blades and riveted handles are
characteristic of this period. While pins were made of copper
and silver, jewelry must have included gold artifacts and not
only bronze-made examples. The local smith of Troy I already possessed
the technology to refine and amalgamate gold and also perfected
a method for gilding. Other technologies in the metal industry
include the use of rivets for blades, copper and bronze sheet-metal
working, cupellation of silver and probably tin-bronze production.
Of the 7 analyses of Troy I there is only one high tin-bronze
indication, whereas the remaining results show that the unalloyed
copper and low grade arsenical copper were the main metals used
by the metal smiths.
Beycesultan XIX-XVI: The few analyses available from the
EB II period suggest that at the site too the metal smiths were
using unalloyed and low arsenical copper to manufacture daggers
and, probably, other basing implements as well. With the exception
of a low grade tin-bronze found in level X (EB III), which could
have been an import, there is no concrete evidence that tin-bronzes
came into used at Beycesultan before the second millennium BC.
Kusura B: The small number of analyses available from phase
B, a total of 12 samples, include at least one ternary alloy of
tin, lead and copper, 2 tin-bronzes, a ternary alloy of tin, arsenic
and copper, and 6 arsenical coppers; the rest is unalloyed copper.
The range of metal objects from this phase does not indicate any
real change from the previous phase A which was limited to awls
and points. Pins, however, became very common in this period.
Tin-bronzes and ternary alloys attributed to this phase may have
in fact belonged to the second half of the third millennium BC.
The analyses published by Esin suggest that the metal smiths of
a site dated by Stronach (1957) to the Troy II period, used mainly
low-grade arsenical copper for the manufacture of daggers and
pins. Other alloys used to lesser extend include lead-copper,
and a low and medium grade tin-bronze. The latter include 1.1%
lead which indicates the practice of deliberate ternary alloying
known also at Kusura.
The 8 analyses published by Esin are a strong indication that
low and medium grade arsenical copper was the main alloy used
to produce the metal artifacts. A spearhead of medium grade tin-bronze,
and containing arsenic, is the only evidence that suggests the
production of ternary alloys in Balikesir.
Non of the 7 analyses shows any traces of tin in the copper. The
daggers of Bayirkoy were
produced from low and medium grade arsenical copper in accordance
with the alloying traditions of western Anatolia. One of the daggers
has a very unusual compositions; for while it is quite free of
tin, lead, antimony of nickel, it has a very high content of arsenic:
7.58%. The surface of this dagger, which is definitely of EB III
date, is covered with lead plating presumably applied by soldering
process. In fact, this dagger with its high arsenic content and
plating could have been an import from the Bafra plain. At Ikiztepe
too the EB III cemetery produced such weapons (e.g. spearheads).
The only logical explanation for rendering such weapons useless
without breaking them could be a tribal custom which probably
required the sheathing of a death warrior's weapon prior to its
deposition in the grave. It is important to stress that at Ikiztepe
most of the EB III weapons were made from high arsenical copper.
Of the 420 excavated tombs in cemeteries of this EBA settlement,
74 of them contained metal goods in the form of personal jewelry,
ornamental articles, tools and weapons. Most of the objects were
made from copper-based metals. Bordaz (1982) is convinced that
the Karatas copper-based
artifacts are of a copper native to Cyprus.
The burials from Karatas-Semayuk
or those from Ahlatli
Tepecik contained silver trinkets which could have been manufactures
B. Central Anatolia
Both Polatli and Hashoyuk
produced very little in the way of metal artifacts of this period
to be considered under separate headings. Polatli
finds include four pins (11729,11735, 11736, 11738), a chisel
(11730) and a shaft-hole axe (11732) which have been assigned
to this period. With the exception of a pin (11729) which is a
low-grade-tin-bronze and 11738 made of unalloyed copper, the rest
are low-grade arsenical copper/ the only analysis from Hashoyuk
is that of a pin. It shows a low-grade arsenical copper alloy.
Alisar T 14-13 ; M 8-11:
The metal workers of Alisar
continued to some extent with the earlier tradition of manufacturing
different objects of unalloyed copper. But, as the published analyses
show, tin-bronzes of low and medium grades, and arsenical copper
artifacts, put together exceeded the number of the unalloyed copper
objects at this site. Most of the artifacts found at Alisar
come from intra-mural tombs and consist of pins, including
toggle pins of the late EB II period. Commenting on the metalwork
of Alisar de Jesus remarks (1980)
that this does not seem to have followed closely the spectacular
development of other central Anatolian or Pontic sites such as
and to a certain degree, Ahlatlibel.
The three different alloying techniques practiced by metalsmiths
of Alisar point to co-existing
traditions within the same regional school of metallurgy. It is
interesting to note that while the artifacts discovered in the
jar burials were of simple forms such as pins and bracelets, the
rather frequent use of tin-bronzes definitely suggests either
a local source of supply of some sort of organized trade with
distant regions, which in either case should have satisfied the
increasing local demand for tin-bronzes. The fact that no moulds
of EBA were found at this site has been interpreted by some, as
indicating that no independent metal industry existed at this
urban settlement, and that the inhabitants obtained their metalwork
C. Eastern Anatolia
Karaz: The repertory of metal artifacts include daggers,
shaft-hole axes, chisels, pins, awls, some jewelry and at least
one sickle. the analyses show that low arsenical copper alloys
were widely used (75% of all objects analyzed); the rest of the
material was made of unalloyed copper. Guzelova
which is not so far from Karaz produced only three metal
artifacts: a tin-bronze bracelet which is of questionable EB II
date. The use of low arsenical copper alloys in the demonstrated
by the Pulur finds. Among the copper deposits in the Erzurum area,
the ones at Pitkir may
have been exploited as early as proto-urban period. It is important
to note that these deposits contain arsenical ore (realgar) as
D. The Amuq (Phases H and Part of I)
The 42 metal objects from Phase H include pins, reamers, a large
blade, a lancehead and an axe. More than half of the analyses
suggest the use of medium to high grade tin-bronzes. Some of these
are ternary alloys of tin-arsenic-copper. The presence of a high
silicon level in some of the bronzes is remarkable. The early
part of Phase I, which is contemporary with Cilician EB II, should
also be included in the study of the urban period metallurgies
in the Amuq, despite the fact that some of the nine metal objects
from this phase (seven are copper-based metals with four made
of tin-bronzes) could belong to the late Phase I: EB IIIa. The
presence of a mould for metal tools found in Phase I is a further
indication of an independent metal industry at Judeidah..
Tarsus EB II: Compared to the EB I period metalwork which
consisted mainly of small objects, in EB II there is definitely
a larger repertory of artifacts including toggle pins. De Jesus
suggests (1980) that toggle pins make their appearance in Tarsus.
The analyses from Tarsus EB II number some 28 of which more than
half are unalloyed copper. The alloying of copper with arsenic
or tin, and in some cases with both (ternary alloys) seem to have
been practiced by some local metalsmiths. The tin-bronzes are
low to medium grade; the arsenical coppers too are low grade.
Lead was occasionally added to the base metal either to lower
the melting point or to prevent possible metal disease. Cilician
settlements did not have to import copper supplies from very distant
regions. The ore which contains 7-7.4 gr./ton gold may have also
been a minor source in EB II period. Other sources of copper exist
in the region of Anamur and Hatay.
III. The Period of Emerging Dynasties
EB III: 2450/2400-2100/2000 BC
In this period, large zones in the Pontus and in the highlands
of eastern Anatolia must have been inhabited by nomadic and semi-nomadic
tribes. They were, as indicated by metal artifacts found with
their burials, highly skilled metallurgists whose alloying techniques,
casting methods and characteristic "animal style" in
decorative art had left their imprint in central Anatolian schools
of metalwork. Another factor which could have accelerated the
diffusion of metal forms and technologies would be the exchange
of gifts between royal houses such as Troy and Poliochni. Such
exchanges could have resulted in the adoption of new conceptions
A. Western Anatolia
The material evidence for the EB III metallurgy is mainly derived
Troy and the extra-mural cemeteries in the Balikesir
area. It must be stressed, however that with the exception
of Troy most of the evidence from the other sites is chronologically
problematical and rather inconclusive.
Karatas-Semayuk: The majority of the artifacts are derived from sheet-metal
(Bordaz 1982). Since none of the Karatas
sheet-metal objects were fashioned in the round, the sheet, once
prepared on open moulds or by hammering, would have been cut in
outline in the shape of the projected artifacts (Bordaz:1982).
The technologically more advanced process of casting in bivalve
moulds was, nevertheless, known to the smiths of Karatas.
Daggers with pronounced mid-rib reinforcing and a carinated macehead
found among the metal assemblage could only have been produced
in bivalve moulds. Open moulds must have been used in the production
of sheet-metal and bar-ingots which were subsequently hammered
into wire. Razors, flat-blades and chisels too were probably cast
in such moulds. Ear-studs found at Karatas
were manufactured with a layer of incised gold sheet masking a
core of some black crystalline material, perhaps a mixture of
sand and pitch (Bordaz 1982).
Tory IIc-IV-V: The new type of tools and weapons include
a great variety of spearheads, daggers, knives, chisels and some
toilet implements (Branigan 1974; Esin 1969 and Bittel 1959).the
technical improvements from the previous period are seen mainly
in jewelry making, and in the greatly increased production of
large and small vessels. It is a fact that certain metal technologies
(e.g. sheet-metal) or the potter's wheel reached western and central
Anatolia from Syria/Mesopotamia rather late in the Early Bronze
Age. The absence of smelting equipment at Troy II (as in Troy
I), such as smelting furnaces or pot bellows, and waste material
(slag heaps), is constructed as an indication that the craftsmen
here were involved in smithing and not smelting (de Jesus 1980).
The "palatial" workshops, if the great number of moulds
from this period (Branigan 1974) is any indication, must have
increased their production of tools and weapons. Of paramount
interest in alloying techniques is the nearly unprecedented popularity
of tin-bronzes in the manufacture of flat axeheads, arrowheads,
spearheads, long and short daggers, pins, needles, razors, tweezers,
chisels, nails, saws, knives, spikes, borers, fish-hooks, punches
and sickles (Esin 1969, Branigan 1974). High and middle-grade
tin-bronzes at Troy II account for more than 64% of all the pieces
analyzed (de Jesus 1980). In the later phases of Troy II closer
contacts with regions in north-central Anatolia, the southern
plateau, Cilicia and across the Amanus may account for some of
the innovations in the field of metallurgy and new forms of artifacts.
It must be these contacts that helped the smiths of Troy II become
familiar with the metalworks of their Mesapotamian counterparts.
The cire-perdeu and jour casting processes were
introduced at this time. New forms include the double-spiral pin,
the toggle pin, probably introduced from the southeast, the barber
arrowhead, the knife with a pronounced curve tip, the shaft-hole
axe-adze and the shaft-hole axe-hammer (de Jesus 1980).
Troy III-IV/V: It may be assumed that some of the alloying
practices of Troy II continued in this period. Most interesting,
as far as techniques are concerned, is the introduction of appliqué,
cloisonné decoration and gold to gold soldering in the
B. Central and North-Central Anatolia
Tombs": The shallow shaft-graves of Alaca are absolutely
different from what we know about tomb architecture in Anatolia
and in the ancient Near East in general. The Alaca material from
the tombs may be divided into a number of categories; objects
of religious significance, weapons, jewelry and household objects
made of gold. Mould or cire-perdue casting was practiced in the
Pontus. The "inverse segregation" process in coating
some of the metalwork, and in particular the bull figurines, with
a thin layer of arsenical-copper was a technique brought to Anatolia
probably from the Caucasus.
The high quality tin-bronzes from Alacahoyuk,
Horoztepe and Kayapinar are another indication of highly
developed alloying techniques in the Pontus. Close to half of
the analyzed artifacts from Alacahoyuk
were made of tin-bronzes. It seems that the smiths of the Pontus
region preferred to work with tin-bronze rather than arsenical
copper. The latter was also used as a base-metal but to a much
lesser extent. Tin could have been preferred for a variety of
reasons; in ingots it was obviously not very cumbersome to transport,
and being less brittle than arsenical copper it must have been
easier to work with. But the main reason for its popularity no
doubt should be related to the steady supplies of this metal,
either from a still unknown local source or via Transcaucasia.
One encounters the metal needles found in the graves mentioned
above for the first time in the Bronze Age in the Royal Grave
and the troy and other contemporary settlements. Use of this material
continued with the Hittites,
Horoztepe (Graves): Sheet-metal technology seems to be
widely practiced here as at other Pontic sites. It is not unlikely
that this method of manufacturing metal vessels, head bands and
furniture reached this part of Anatolia, as well as western Anatolia,
from metalworking centers in southeastern Anatolia or from Mesopotamia.
At Horoztepe high and medium-grade tin-bronzes make for more than
half of all the objects analyzed. Middle and low arsenical coppers
account for one quarter of the metal artifacts.
The presence of a red-burnished ware with black interior suggests
that this site was inhabited to some extent in the third millennium
and fourth quarters of the third millennium BC. A mould (shaft-hole
axe) discovered at Ikiztepe suggests that at least some
of the metal production was done locally.
Most of the spearheads are shaped like willow-leaves. They are
trapezoidal in section with a flat ridge and a long bent tang.
The blades are not slotted and at least one of them is unusually
large. Some of these blades were placed in a sheath before being
deposited in the grave.
Most of the metal objects produced by the smiths of Ikiztepe
are copper-based. Even the jewelry, with the exception of a few
pieces, is made of copper. Strangely enough, tin-bronzes were
not manufactured at Ikiztepe.
The preferred alloy was a high arsenical copper.
analyses of some 22 copper-based metals suggest that high tin-bronzes
and low to medium grade arsenical coppers were equally popular
at this site. Unalloyed copper, on the other hand was mainly used
for the production of jewelry and may be some tools. The fact
that, as in Alaca and Alisar,
here too no ternary alloys of copper-arsenic-tin were used has
been interpreted as the co-existence of two distinct metallurgies.
Tarsus EB III: The metalwork from Tarsus and the Soli treasure
include forms which were new to Cilicia. These are the bent-tanged
spearhead with slotted blade, daggers and swords. Despite the
changes in the material culture in the field of metallurgy, it
is possible to observe the preservation of the EB II traditions
especially in the alloying techniques. Of the 29 analyzed from
Tarsus EB III, close to 66% of the artifacts are unalloyed copper
and the remaining are divided between copper-arsenic and ternary
alloys. No pure tin-bronzes are known. This is very strange because
in northwest, north-central and central Anatolia tin-bronzes became
very abundant in this period, and in the Amuq they constituted
an important percentage of the copper-based metal. It seems the
problem was not really related to supplies of tin.
There is very little change in the local repertory of metalwork
from the previous phase I. Reamers are no longer present and the
10 metal artifacts discovered include a shaft-hole axe and a dagger.
There is no change in the alloying techniques; tin-bronze accounts
for half the objects analyzed. The other half is composed of copper-arsenic
alloys. Unalloyed copper which was the main metal used in Tarsus
was apparently not appreciated by the smiths of Amuq.
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