Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences

, Volume 10, Issue 7, pp 1645–1672 | Cite as

Bronze metallurgy in the Late Phrygian settlement of Gordion, Turkey

  • Frederik W. RademakersEmail author
  • Thilo Rehren
  • Mary M. Voigt
Original Paper


A detailed understanding of bronze production remains absent in most archaeological contexts, despite the fundamental importance of this alloy. Here, we present a comprehensive discussion of the bronze production remains from Late Phrygian/Achaemenid Gordion: crucibles, moulds and casting waste and their find contexts. A detailed microscopic analysis of crucibles is complemented by chemical characterisation of their main materials (ceramic and slag) in order to discuss the technical performance of the crucibles and to evaluate the materials used for the metallurgical process. Given the lack of contemporary parallels, repeated reference is made to the Egyptian crucibles from Pi-Ramesse, for which similarly detailed descriptions are available. The crucible analyses are then connected to the other production remains to obtain a more holistic understanding of the metallurgical process. Finally, these technical observations are interpreted in their particular archaeological context at Gordion and discussed from a wider perspective. The results presented here offer the first detailed overview of bronze production for ancient Phrygia, as well as the wider region. Through the inclusion of extensive online supplementary data, this paper offers a detailed technical overview of ancient (bronze) crucible analysis, of which very few examples are currently available in the wider literature.


Phrygia Achaemenid Bronze metallurgy Crucible analysis Moulds 



Results presented in this paper are part of the first author’s PhD research undertaken at the UCL Institute of Archaeology (Rademakers 2015), which was funded by an ESR fellowship from the European Union: Marie Curie ITN (FP7-PEOPLE-2010) NARNIA project (grant 265010, led by V. Kassianidou). Unless otherwise noted, all analyses were undertaken at the Wolfson Archaeological Science Laboratories, UCL Institute of Archaeology. We want to thank Harriet White for her tireless support in the sample preparation lab and Kevin Reeves for his valuable help in the SEM lab. We would further like to thank Alison Fields for compiling field notes on the foundry evidence excavated by Young, and Peter Grave and Lisa Kealhofer for sharing their thoughts on the available Gordion ceramic data. Finally, the first author would like to thank Naomi Miller and the other staff at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology for their hospitality during his brief research stay there in the framework of this study. All modern archaeological research at Gordion (1950–2006) has been sponsored and supported by the University of Pennsylvania Museum; the College of William and Mary has been a co-sponsor since 1991, and the Royal Ontario Museum co-sponsored work carried out between 1994 and 2002. Excavation and survey at Gordion since 1988 has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH, a US federal agency), the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the National Geographic Society, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Kress Foundation, the IBM Foundation, the Tanberg Trust and by gifts from generous private donors. Anonymous reviewers’ comments have helped to strengthen this paper, and are greatly appreciated. Any remaining shortcomings are our own.

Supplementary material

12520_2017_475_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (8 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 8214 kb)(Please contact the corresponding author if higher resolution images are required.)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frederik W. Rademakers
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Thilo Rehren
    • 1
    • 3
  • Mary M. Voigt
    • 4
  1. 1.UCL Institute of ArchaeologyLondonUK
  2. 2.Division of GeologyKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  3. 3.College of Humanities and Social SciencesHamad bin Khalifa UniversityDohaQatar
  4. 4.College of William and MaryWilliamsburgUSA

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