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 .