IAMS members present at BANEA

14 January 2013

Cambridge University

Two of our members have recently presented papers at the Metals and Colour themed Conference of The British Association for Near Eastern Archaeology held in Cambridge between the 3rd and 5th of January 2013.

The conference was a great success with delegates from all over the world coming together to share in the latests finds and discoveries in Near Eastern archaeology. And while it at times seemed that the current geopolitical situation in the region threathened to overwhelm many conversations, it was the reports of recent excavations and research which have shed new light on many aspects of ancient society in the region that brought the most interesting discussions.

One of the highlights of the conference for IAMS was the session themed Metals and Colour. This loose topic was shared between a wide range of papers covering such subjects as colour theory, art history, architecture, archaeology, and of course archaeometallurgy. Of particular interest to the development of metallurgy were a number of interesting papers on the use of colourful green and blue minerals for decoration and ceremonial purposes which occured in parallel to the earliest extraction of copper from similarly coloured minerals. How strong was this connection, and to what extent were these two mining industries related? Certainly questions worth exploring further in future conferences!

Well this is the question Dr. Miljana Radivojević began to answer with her paper entitled Tainted Ores and the Rise of Metallurgy in Western Eurasia. Her paper covered the rise of the earliest metallurgy in the Balkans and the role early that these early minerals may have played in the development of smelting technology in the 6th Millenium BC.

Similarly themed, but dating to the Late Chalcolithic in the mid 5th Millennium BC, Loïc Boscher presented a paper entitled The role of colour in the development of
arsenical copper alloy production and use
. Arguing that arsenical copper was an intentional alloy, he raised the possibility of colourful minerals as a necessary requirement for the identification and exploitation of arsenical minerals for alloying purposes.

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