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Development of metallurgy and raw material extraction in the Old World

The development and spread of metallurgy and its temporal and cultural context are a core theme of CEZA’s archaeometric research. Archaeometallurgy is concerned with the characterization of the metals (gold, silver, copper, lead, tin, iron, mercury and zinc) and their alloys known in Europe and Asia from the beginning of metallurgy up to the early modern period, as well as with the relics of extraction and processing (slags, technical ceramics) and raw materials (ores).

In addition to chemical and microstructural characterisation, the main focus is on the determination and development of suitable isotope systems. This systematic approach makes it possible to reconstruct the context between the deposit and the final product or the trade relations of individual regions.

The identification of technological innovations, geographical or temporal differences are also focal points of archaeometallurgical research. CEZA possesses the world’s largest collection of metal samples of archaeological and historical objects from the Early Bronze Age to modern times and is constantly expanding it.

CEZA also has one of the world’s largest databases of chemical and isotope analyses of archaeological objects. In the production and trade of siliceous materials (glass, ceramics), the focus is again on the determination of origin through the compound deposit-finished product, which is done by chemical and isotopic characterization.