Accidental Innovation? Using Isotopic Analysis to Test Possible Iron Production as a By-Product of Advanced Copper Smelting
This is an abstract from the "The Movement of Technical Knowledge: Cross-Craft Perspectives on Mobility and Knowledge in Production Technologies" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.
The Faynan region of Southern Jordan is one of the largest copper ore deposits in the Levant. These ores were exploited throughout history, and during the Iron Age (ca. 1200-800 BCE), copper production in Faynan reached an industrial scale. However, excavations at Khirbat en-Nahas (an Iron Age smelting center in the region) also discovered iron metal dating to the 10th-9th centuries BCE in the form of mixed copper-iron chunks and a few iron objects. These iron artifacts were initially interpreted in two ways: 1) as possible evidence for innovative iron production stemming from advanced copper smelting technologies or 2) as waste materials from failed smelts resulting in unworkable copper (and the iron objects as imported). If correct, the former interpretation would have significant implications for understanding the currently enigmatic origins of iron production in the Levant. To address this dichotomy, these iron materials were recently analyzed with mass spectrometry to look for isotopic connections between the raw metal and select artifacts (to determine if the iron objects were produced from the copper-iron chunks). This paper will present preliminary results/interpretations from this analysis and their contributions to understanding the iron in Faynan and iron production in the Levant more generally.
Cite this Record
Accidental Innovation? Using Isotopic Analysis to Test Possible Iron Production as a By-Product of Advanced Copper Smelting. Brady Liss, Thomas Levy, James Day. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451650)
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min long: -10.151; min lat: 29.459 ; max long: 42.847; max lat: 47.99 ;
Abstract Id(s): 23309