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A Conservator’s Perspective on Ancient Metallurgy

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Archaeometallurgy in Global Perspective

Abstract

This chapter focuses on technological research on ancient metal artifacts carried out by conservators in museum settings. By virtue of their multi-disciplinary training and experience gained through the daily handling, examining, documenting, analyzing, and preserving archaeological and historic artifacts, conservators bring a unique skill set to the study their physical nature. Often in undertaken in collaboration with archaeologists, art historians, craftsmen, scientists, and a broad range of other professionals, conservation research may focus on manufacturing processes, the identification and characterization of materials, analysis of subsequent alterations and wear, mechanisms of decay, and preservation strategies. Basic methods of fabrication—casting and hammering—as well as metallurgical and mechanical joining processes and surface finishing and elaboration techniques are discussed here. Four cases studies of metalworking traditions in Egypt, Peru, and Cyprus illustrate relationships between ancient metalworking technologies and cultural practices and prejudices.

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Schorsch, D. (2014). A Conservator’s Perspective on Ancient Metallurgy. In: Roberts, B., Thornton, C. (eds) Archaeometallurgy in Global Perspective. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-9017-3_12

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