Kythera Island Project
 

Archaeometallurgy

Principal Investigators:
Myrto Georgakopoulou (UCL)
Thilo Rehren (UCL)
Antonia-Maria Zianni (UCL)

Save for some minor iron-rich ores in the north of the island, Kythera is devoid of metal resources. This concentrates the analysis of its metal goods and metallurgical debris on the importation of non-local materials augmented, after the Bronze Age, by a possible degree of expedient use of local iron resources. KIP research comprises two independent elements:

  1. the study of metallurgical material from the field survey and
  2. the analysis of samples taken from materials excavated in the 1960s at Kastri.

Iron slag from KIP site 154
Iron slag from KIP Site 154. Photography by A. Bevan 2003.

The former category overwhelmingly comprises metallurgical slags from iron production of the Classical and later periods, and will be studied by Myrto Georgakopoulou. The Kastri material was studied in 2003 by Antonia-Maria Zianni (supervised by Thilo Rehren, UCL), using metallographic microscopy, SEM, XRF and electron microprobe analyses. It too included metallurgical debris, indicative of small-scale unspecialised metal production and smithing at Kastri during the Classical period, as well as some pieces of Late Roman date. But perhaps the most important samples come from small fragments of several artefacts found in an early Second Palace context (Late Minoan IA?), apparently a small pit below a house floor. Among the most interesting of these are pieces of copper ingots of uncertain type. These ingots are necessarily imports to Kythera, and provide evidence that Kastri had access to the trade in metals that was so prominent a feature of the Aegean at this time.

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