From mines to graves: metallurgy and metal exchange in north-western Anatolia

Full Title: From mines to graves: metallurgy and metal exchange in north-western Anatolia between the Late Chalcolithic and the Late Bronze Age, ca 3700-1500 BC

Location:  Kütahya 

Year(s):  2016-2017

Director: Michele Massa, Bilecik Şeyh Edebali University


Michele Massa, Bilecik Şeyh Edebali University, director
Erkan Fidan, Bilecik Şeyh Edebali University, Bronze Age archaeologist
Orlene McIlfatrick, pXRF specialist

Funding:  BIAA

Under BIAA SRI(s):  Cultural heritage, society and economy in Turkey, Habitat and Settlement in prehistoric, historical and contemporary perspectives

Summary: The project investigates metallurgical activity in north-western Turkey, an area with dense archaeological research, rich in metal deposits, and intersected by important natural routes connecting the Aegean coast with the central Anatolian plateau. The analysis on artefacts from 30 sites will allow exploring changes in how metal was extracted, refined, manufactured, and traded in the area between 3700-1500 BC. Major research objectives include shedding light on the: a) diachronic development of metallurgical technology, b) exploitation of local metal sources, c) impact of increasingly complex political structures upon the procurement of exotic metals (e.g. tin, gold), d) patterns of metal consumption in different social contexts (public spaces, domestic areas, graves). In order to achieve these objectives, 700 metal objects, slag, ore and tools are being submitted to chrono-typological, functional, technological analyses and to pXRF chemical composition analysis, a technique that allows fast, cheap and non-destructive investigation of the samples. The analytical results are integrated into a GIS platform to embed them within the regional historical context and the already-published metallurgical evidence. Finally, the small-scale, in-depth picture emerging from the project will be complemented with an Anatolia-wide panorama. This project is conceived as a pilot study for further, more detailed research that entails the employment of destructive chemical composition techniques (ICP-MS, SEM-EDS) and an archaeo-metallurgical survey in Kütahya targeting known and potential pre-modern mines in the region.

Resulting Publications: 

Fidan, E., Massa, M. and O. McIlfatrick (2017, accepted). Höyüktepe'de Erken ve Orta Tunç Çağı metalurjisi, in Türktüzün, M. and S. Ünan, “Kureyşler Barajı Kurtarma Kazıları 2015”, Kütahya, Kütahya Müzesi Müdürlüğü. 

Massa M., McIlfatrick O. and E. Fidan (2017, accepted). Patterns of metal procurement, manufacture and exchange in the Early Bronze Age northwestern Anatolia: Demircihüyük and beyond, Anatolian Studies 67.

Massa M., Fidan, E. and O. McIlfatrick (2017). Çiledir Höyük ve Seyiyömer Höyük Erken ve Orta Tunç Çağı metalurjisi, in Ünan, S. ‘Kütahya Müzesi 2015 Yıllığı’, Kütahya, Kütahya Müzesi Müdürlüğü.

Massa, M. (2016). The early stages of metallurgy and metal exchange in northwestern Turkey, Heritage Turkey 6, 23.

Michele Massa was the 2014-2015 BIAA Research Assistant and is now a honorary research fellow. He organised the 2012 BIAA workshop “Travelling across ancient Anatolia: revealing a palimpsest of road use from the Early Bronze Age to the Achaemenid period” and was in the Scientific Committee of the 2014 BIAA international conference “Pathways of communication: routes and roads in Anatolia from prehistory to Seljuk times”. He completed his doctoral research at University College London in 2016 with a thesis on cultural transfers between Anatolia and Aegean during the Early Bronze Age, and he is now teaching as Junior Lecturer at the Bilecik Şeyh Edebali University.


Belongs to;
Archaeology Related Disciplines

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