Logo Ancient copper production on Cyprus

Deutsche Version


The experimental reconstruction of copper working activities at Almyras started in 1995 with ore dressing experiments. Copper smelting experiments are now an established part of the Almyras Project. This is because actual work with authentic materials and techniques is as good a teacher of archaeometallurgy as any laboratory analysis, most certainly it comes to such factors as time, manpower, know-how and energy consumption.

Between September 1999 and May 2000, a total of five experimental copper smelting runs were carried out. The sequence of experiments at Almyras took place outside of the excavation perimeter and included ore crushing, the forming of ore pellets and their roasting, copper smelting in a single, free standing clay furnace, recharging of a slag/matte mixture in the same furnace for possible reduction and the casting of bronze objects in a separate casting hearth. Although bronze casting was never actually done at the site of Almyras in ancient times, we thought it important to go through the entire chain of operation and therefore include the ultimate goal of this huge endeavour - the production of an artifact ! We choose bronze astragali as the objects to be cast, as numerous examples have been found in Cyprus. Bronze astragali served as dice, to play or the read the oracle, and were part of funerary offerings already in the Bronze Age .

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Experimental furnace

Micrograph Experiments for TV