Chemical and mineralogical examination of metallurgical ceramics from a Late Bronze Age copper smelting site in Cyprus
SourceJournal of Archaeological Science
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For metallurgical processes in antiquity functional materials were required, which were sufficiently heat resistant. Commonly, ceramics were used for the production of furnaces, tuyères and crucibles. Because normal pottery usually could not withstand the extreme temperatures, which were needed for metallurgical operations, the ceramic production process had to be modified. An analytical case study will be presented on refractory ceramics from the Late Bronze Age copper smelting site Politiko- Phorades (Cyprus). Cyprus had a major role in copper production, starting from this period, and the selected site is the earliest primary smelting site discovered in Cyprus until now. Furnace and tuyère fragments were analysed chemically and mineralogically, in order to investigate ancient ceramic technology in view of heat resistance.