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Pursuing the mineral sources of Yinxu bronze objects (BC13th-BC11th): study on the lead ingots from Anyang, China

Author(s): Yu Liu ; Jigen Tang ; Jianyu Liu

Year: 2017

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The bronze objects played a more significant role in the formation of Chinese ancient civilization than any other early civilizations, especially in late Shang and Western Zhou dynasty (BC13th-9th). So far more than 2000 bronze vessels and thousands of other type bronze objects were excavated from Yinxu, the capital of late Shang dynasty (BC13th-11th), located in Anyang, Henan province. The discussion of the mineral sources of Yinxu bronze objects last a long time because of rare ingots found in Anyang. Recently 300 pieces of lead ingots excavated from Anyang provide some new clues to solve the problem. Through Metalloscope observation, SEM-EDS and ICP-MS analysis of 12 ingot samples, the composition, microstructure, trace elements and lead isotope data were analyzed. The results show that the ingots are not pure lead but lead-copper alloy. The lead Isotope data belongs to "ordinary common lead", and is very close to those data from bronze objects or slags of the 4th phase of Yinxu period, which implies that the bronzes mineral source were probably from the same lead ore at that time, and the "highly radioactive lead" data probably indicates not the lead ore but the copper ore, such as Tongkuangyu in Zhongtiaoshan zone.

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Pursuing the mineral sources of Yinxu bronze objects (BC13th-BC11th): study on the lead ingots from Anyang, China. Yu Liu, Jigen Tang, Jianyu Liu. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431610)


Geographic Keywords
East/Southeast Asia

Spatial Coverage

min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16259

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America