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Archaeometallurgy – a specialist field of archaeometry – applies natural scientific methods to explore issues surrounding the mining and spread of metals during (pre-)historic times. This work is based on close collaborations between the  material science and research laboratories of the Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum and external partner labs.

Archaeometallurgy is the study of every facet of the metallurgical chain of processes relating to the production of metals from ore, and how these are subsequently processed to make artefacts. Archaeometallurgy has become an established specialist field of archaeometry through the expertise of geo-scientists, materials scientists, chemists, physicists and engineers, and is now reshaping the focus of research performed within the humanity disciplines.

The archaeometallurgical investigations conducted by the Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum encompass geophysical prospection projects, experimental methods as well as analytical and materials science-based lab processes. Archaeometallurgy uses geophysical prospecting to examine the geology of mineral repositories, with the aim of documenting metal production areas based on deposits recorded there. Experimental methods are employed to examine the interactions of metallurgical, but also atmospheric processes, such as corrosion, on chemical and physical characteristics. All archaeometallurgical studies are based on analytics performed using cutting-edge methods.

Archaeometallurgy is certainly not limited to purely applying natural science methods to examine archaeological questions. Instead, it also focuses on the development of new methods of exploration, because the sample material differs significantly from those found in the specialist areas of natural science. One example of this is high-precision analysis of elements and isotopes, which must be adapted to the considerably more complex nature of the metallurgical material spectrum.

The Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum has maintained an archaeometallurgy research department, established in 1990 with the financial assistance of the Volkswagen Foundation.

Research Projects
  • Cohen, M. u. a.: Copper Alloy coins from the Byzantine-Period Ma’agan Mikhael B Shipwreck, Israel: Metallurgical Characterization, in: Metallography, Microstructures, and Analysis 5, 2018. DOI 10.1007/s13632-018-0476-8
  • Folkers, A. u. a.: ‘Römisch-germanische Kontakte an der Huntemündung? Fragestellungen, Methoden und erste Ergebnisse aktueller interdisziplinärer Forschungen am Ufermarkt von Elsfleth-Hogenkamp und seinem Umfeld.’, in: Burmeister, S. (Hrsg.): Phantom Germanicus, Osnabrücker Forschungen zu Altertum und Antike-Rezeption, 2018, S. 335-360.
  • Güder, Ü./Gatess, M.-H./Yalçın, Ü. (2017): Early Iron from Kinet Höyük, Turkey: Analysisi of Objects an Evidence for Smithing, in: Metalla 23.2, 2017, S. 51-66 [peer-reviewed].
  • Hauptmann, A. u. a.: Types of Gold, Types of Silver: The Composition of Precious Metal Artifacts Found in the Royal Tombs of Ur, Mesopotamia, in: Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und vorderasiatische Archäologie 108 (1), 2018: S. 100-131 [peer-reviewed].
  • Jansen, M., Hauptmann, A. & Klein, S.,2018, Copper and lead isotope characterization of Late Bronze Age copper ingots in the Eastern Mediterranean: results from Gelidonya, Gournia, Enkomi and Mathiati. In: F. LoSchiavo and A. Giumlia-Mair (eds), Festschrift für Robert Maddin and Vassos Karageorghis
  • Jansen, M./Klein, S./Hauptmann, A.: Zur Herkunft des Goldes aus den Königsgräbern von Ur, in: Yalcin, Ü. (Hrsg.): Anatolian Metal VIII – Eliten – Handwerk – Prestigegüter, Bochum 2018 (= Der Anschnitt, Beiheft 39), S. 123-137.
  • Merkel, S.: ’Archaeometallurgical Investigations of a Viking Brass Ingot Hoard from the Hedeby Harbor in Northern Germany’, in: Journal of Archaeological Science Reports 20, 2018, S. 293-302.
  • Merkel, S.: ‘Archaeometallurgical Analysis of Metalworking Debris from a Germanic Goldsmithing Workshop at Elsftelth-Hogenkamp, 2nd-3rd Century AD.’, in: Glaser, L. (Hrsg.): Archäometrie und Denkmalpflege 2018, 2018, S. 95-98.
  • Yalçın, Ü. (2018): Anatolian Metal VIII, Eliten – Handwerk – Prestigegüter, Bochum 2018 (= Der Anschnitt, Beiheft 39).
  • Yalçın, Ü. u. a.: Derekutuğun Eski Maden İşletmeleri ve Madenci Yerleşmesi 2016 Çalışmaları, 39. Kazı Sonuçları Toplantısı, 3. Cilt, Ankara 2018, S. 573-596.
  • Yalçın, Ü./Yalçın, G.: Könige, Priester und Handwerker? Neues über frühbronzezeitliche Fürstengräber von Alacahöyük, in: Yalçın, Ü. (Hrsg.): Anatolian Metal VIII, Bochum 2018 (= Der Anschnitt, Beiheft 39), S. 91-122.

Der Forschungsbereich Archäometallurgie arbeitet u.a. mit folgenden Institutionen zusammen:

Kooperations- und Forschungspartner

  • British Museum, London
  • Çorum Museum
  • École Normale Supérieure de Lyon
  • Deutsches Archäologisches Institut
  • Institute for Aegean Prehistory, Philadelphia
  • Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies, Haifa
  • LWL-Archäologie für Westfalen
  • Niedersächsisches Institut für Historische Küstenforschung
  • Römisch-Germanische Kommission des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, 
    Frankfurt a. M.

Universitäre Kooperationen

  • Bülent Ecevit Üniversitesi Zonguldak
  • Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart Üniversitesi
  • Goethe-Universität Frankfurt a. M.
  • Hitit Üniversitesi Çorum
  • Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
  • Ruhr-Universität Bochum
  • Université de Toulouse - Jean Jaurès
  • University of Oxford, Institute of Archaeology
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Museum for Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia (Penn Museum)
  • University of Warsaw, Department of Chemistry
  • University of Warsaw, Institute of Archaeology
  • Conference series Archaeometallurgy in Europe, Standing Committee
  • Deutsches Archäologisches Institut
  • Deutsche Mineralogische Gesellschaft
  • Gesellschaft für Naturwissenschaftliche Archäologie – Archaeometrie
  • Historical Metallurgy Society
  • Kommission für Archäologie Außereuropäischer Kulturen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts
  • Vereinigung der Freunde von Kunst und Kultur im Bergbau e. V.

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