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Metallurgy: Understanding How, Learning Why: Studies in Honor of James D. Muhly

Metallurgy: Understanding How, Learning Why: Studies in Honor of James D. Muhly

Philip P. Betancourt
Susan C. Ferrence
Volume: 29
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: INSTAP Academic Press
Pages: 325
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  • Book Info
    Metallurgy: Understanding How, Learning Why: Studies in Honor of James D. Muhly
    Book Description:

    Prof. James D. Muhly has enjoyed a distinguished career in the study of ancient history, archaeology, and metallurgy that includes an emeritus professorship at the University of Pennsylvania and a term as director of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens as well as receiving the Archaeological Institute of America's Gold Medal for a lifetime of outstanding achievement. In Muhly's honor, a total of 38 eminent scholars have contributed 30 articles that include topics on Bronze and Iron Age metallurgy around the Eastern Mediterranean in such places as Crete, the Cyclades, Cyprus, and Turkey.

    eISBN: 978-1-62303-024-7
    Subjects: Archaeology, Technology, History

Table of Contents

  1. List of Tables in the Text
    (pp. ix-x)
  2. List of Figures in the Text
    (pp. xi-xviii)
  3. Life with Jim Muhly
    (pp. xix-xxii)
    Polymnia Muhly

    James David Muhly was born in Minneapolis, Minn. on May 6, 1936, the middle child and only son of Gordon David and Violet Lucille Muhly. His mother was of Swedish descent, while his father had German roots and maintained a keen interest in the German connections of the Muhlys throughout his life.

    Jim and his sisters, Carolyn and Mary, grew up in South Minneapolis, within walking distance of Minnehaha Falls, in a house that their maternal grandfather, a carpenter, had built. He attended the local public schools, graduating from Roosevelt High School in 1954. By all accounts, especially his own,...

  4. Bibliography of James D. Muhly
    (pp. xxiii-xxx)
  5. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xxxi-xxxii)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. xxxiii-xxxvi)
    Susan C. Ferrence

    James D. Muhly is professor emeritus of Ancient Near Eastern History at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and director emeritus of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens in Greece. He has been a pioneering leader in the rarefied field of ancient metallurgy for over 45 years. His distinguished scholarship covers a wide geographic area from Italy to Mesopotamia and especially includes Cyprus and the Aegean. His knowledge of ancient literature and history, command of modern scholarship, and understanding of ever-evolving scientific analyses combine to form the basis of a long-standing and interdisciplinary academic career.

    One of the...


    • CHAPTER 1 Cypriot Chalcolithic Metalwork
      (pp. 3-10)
      Edgar Peltenburg

      In the most recent survey of the use of copper on the island of Cyprus before the Early Bronze Age, Noël Gale evaluated nine certain artifacts recovered from systematic excavations (Gale 1991). Since then, the tally has increased to 18 objects in addition to related evidence that bears on the early history of metalwork on an island renowned for its copper deposits (Table 1.1). James Muhly has been pre-eminent in elucidating the development of Cypriot metalworking in its wider technological, economic, social, and historical contexts (e.g., Muhly 1991). This note in honor of his many insights addresses a question that...

    • CHAPTER 2 Miniature Ingots from Cyprus
      (pp. 11-20)
      Alessandra Giumlia-Mair, Vasiliki Kassianidou and George Papasavvas

      Numerous analytical studies have focused on the main product of the Late Cypriot copper industry (i.e., the oxhide ingots), on utilitarian objects such as tools and weapons, or on the waste products of metallurgical processes (i.e., slag and remains of smelting and casting installations). Very few analysis programs, if any, however, have been published on the most important works of art produced in this period, such as the two gods from Enkomi. This is not surprising: analytical techniques such as Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy or Inductively Coupled Plasma Spectroscopy, thought to be the most appropriate for metal analysis, cannot be used...

    • CHAPTER 3 Broken Symbols: Aspects of Metallurgy at Alassa
      (pp. 21-28)
      Sophocles Hadjisavvas

      A broken miniature oxhide ingot found at Alassa-Pano Mandilaris during the 1984 excavation season put under dispute all earlier interpretations related to the ritual character or the symbolic values of the artifact (Knapp 1986; 1996, 79).* Was it a signal of the collapse of the complex society in Cyprus, or was it merely a demonstration of the lack of copper during the final phase of the Late Cypriot (LC) period, which led the owners to re-melt even the weights, as Zwicker identified the miniature ingots? This question and others related to the bronzes from Alassa will be discussed in this...

    • CHAPTER 4 A Metallurgical Feast?
      (pp. 29-40)
      Vassos Karageorghis

      The excavations of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem at Athienou–Pamboularin tis Koukkouninas, Cyprus, in 1971 and 1972 revealed a building with its courtyard and the area east of the building with pits (favissae?) in which rich collections of unusual vessels and special objects such as an ivory rhyton were found, constituting a cultic site connected with metallurgy.* Stratum III extends from the late 16th to the end of the 13th century b.c. The building founded in Stratum III continued to exist in Stratum II, dated to the 12th century b.c. (Dothan and Ben-Tor 1983).

      Apart from the conical ivory...

    • CHAPTER 5 Blowing the Wind of Change: The Introduction of Bellows in Late Bronze Age Cyprus
      (pp. 41-48)
      Vasiliki Kassianidou

      Jim Muhly has laid down the foundations for the study of copper production in Cyprus, and it is a great pleasure to pay tribute to his work by contributing to a festschrift in his honor.

      Although it was initially difficult to decide upon a topic, the dilemma was soon overcome with the opening of a new museum in Nicosia, where among other exhibits there is one that is truly impressive for those of us who are studying ancient metallurgy. The object in question is a fragmentary pot bellows (now restored; Fig. 5.1), and it is part of the archaeological collection...

    • CHAPTER 6 A Newly Rediscovered Cypriot Tripod-Stand in the Florence Archaeological Museum
      (pp. 49-58)
      Fulvia Lo Schiavo

      A project that concerns the Cypriot collections in Italian museums is being led by Lucia Vagnetti with the assistance of Marco Bettelli and Silvana Di Paolo (all of the Istituto di studi sulle Civiltà dell’Egeo e del Vicino Oriente, Consiglio Nazionale delle Richerche [ICEVO–CNR]).* The present focus is on the Cypriot collection of more than three hundred pieces in the Florence Archaeological Museum. On the occasion of the exhibition Egeo, Cipro, Siria, e Mesopotamia: Dal collezionismo allo scavo archeologico: In onore di Paolo Emilio Pecorella, a sample of the objects was presented, and it included a tripod-stand that was...

    • CHAPTER 7 From Smiting to Smithing: The Transformation of a Cypriot God
      (pp. 59-66)
      George Papasavvas

      From all the places of the Ancient World, it is only on Cyprus that a metallic statuette standing on an ingot, such as the Ingot God from Enkomi (Figs. 7.1–7.3), does not come as a surprise. His discovery in 1963 and subsequent publication (Schaeffer 1965; 1971, 506–510) triggered an enduring discussion on the possible association of religion and metallurgy, as well as on his date, style, and identity. Jim Muhly, who has discussed this statuette on several occasions (e.g., Muhly 1980), was among the very first to capture the originality of Cypriot metalwork and to state that “…...


    • CHAPTER 8 Reconstructing Early Cretan Metallurgy: Analytical Evidence from Kephala Petras, Siteia
      (pp. 69-78)
      Mihalis Catapotis, Yannis Bassiakos and Yiannis Papadatos

      Recent excavations at Kephala Petras in eastern Crete (Papadatos 2008; Papadatos et al., forthcoming) brought to light new evidence for copper-smelting activities in Crete, dating at least to the earliest part of the Early Minoan (EM) I period or possibly to the end of the Final Neolithic (FN) period (Papadatos 2007a). The finds, typical of early copper-smelting processes, include two pieces of copper ore, six slag fragments, and four pieces of iron ore. To these probably are to be added a small number of deformed clay fragments clearly subjected to high temperatures, which might represent refractory material used in the...

    • CHAPTER 9 Silver and Bronze Artifacts from the EM I Necropolis at Gournes, Pediada
      (pp. 79-90)
      Calliope E. Galanaki, Yannis Bassiakos and Vassilis Perdikatsis

      A rescue excavation carried out in 1999 by the 23rd Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities on the north coast of Central Crete (ca. 8 km east of Herakleion in the area of the former American military base) revealed an Early Minoan (EM) I necropolis and a building dated to the Middle Minoan (MM) period (Fig. 9.1; Galanaki 1999; 2006; Blackman 2001, 129). The well known EM I–II cave tomb excavated by Stephanos Xanthoudides in 1918 lies in the adjacent modern village of Kokkini Chani, at a distance of approximately 1.5 km (Xanthoudides 1918). Architectural remains of the Early...

    • CHAPTER 10 The Dog Diadem from Mochlos
      (pp. 91-104)
      Jane Hickman

      In the 1985 article “Beyond Typology: Aegean Metallurgy in Its Historical Context,” James D. Muhly argues for a comprehensive examination of metal objects associated with early periods in the Aegean.* While it is essential to organize and categorize material culture, one must move beyond the classification of objects in order to place them into a broader historical and cultural framework. Objects should be evaluated in relation to their archaeological context, rather than as static pieces in museum cases (Muhly 1985, 134). Quoting Professor Muhly, “typology is quite different from explanation” (1985, 109).

      Although the scope of this paper is limited...

    • CHAPTER 11 The Triangular ʺDaggersʺ of Prepalatial Crete
      (pp. 105-116)
      Keith Branigan

      Forty years ago I published a paper on the Early Bronze Age (EBA) daggers of Crete (Branigan 1967), which divided them into two very distinct groups, the long daggers and the so-called triangular daggers (although with their convexly curved edges they are not, strictly, triangular). While the long daggers proved to have a long history in Crete, surviving not only throughout the Bronze Age but into later periods too, the triangular daggers seem to have gone out of production no later than Early Minoan (EM) III. Unlike the ubiquitous long daggers, they were also unique to Crete with only one...

    • CHAPTER 12 A Marine Style Gold Ring from the Hagios Charalambos Ossuary: Symbolic Use of Cockle Shells in Minoan Crete
      (pp. 117-124)
      Philip P. Betancourt

      An interesting gold ring was discovered during the excavation of the Hagios Charalambos cave by Costis Davaras (for the excavation, see Davaras 1976, 1982, 1983, 1986).* It consists of a circular gold band with the addition of a decorative plate bearing marine style ornament on its upper surface (Fig. 12.1). The band was made from a thin strip whose long edges were rolled to form a double roll before it was bent to create a circular form. The decorative plate was made separately and then fused to the circular ring. Three tiny cockle shells and irregular raised areas representing rocks...

    • CHAPTER 13 Metalworking at Malia, Quartier MU: High or Low TechnologY?
      (pp. 125-132)
      Jean-Claude Poursat and Cécile Oberweiler

      Bronze working is well attested at Malia during the Protopalatial period.* In Quartier Mu, three workshop houses near the two large elite residences A and B have preserved a few tiny blocks of copper ores, many smith’s tools (stone molds, clay crucibles, and tuyères), as well as some remains from copper melting processes (Poursat 1996). About 100 copper or bronze tools and weapons have been found in the various buildings (Fig. 13.1). Among them, two so-called “carpenter’s hoards”—axes, chisels, and saws from Buildings A and B (Poursat 1985) and a deposit of three bronze vases hidden under the floor...

    • CHAPTER 14 The Mochlos Sistrum and Its Origins
      (pp. 133-146)
      Jeffrey S. Soles

      Four varieties of loop sistra have been reported in Crete.* The first and oldest type is a simple clay sistrum with an oval loop that dates to the Middle Minoan (MM) I–II period (ca. 2100–1700 b.c.). Iannis and Efi Sakellarakis, Phil Betancourt, and Jim Muhly have described this class in some detail (Sakellarakis and Sakellaraki 1991, 184–187, figs. 15–18; 1997, 351–356; Betancourt 2005, pl. 102c; Betancourt and Muhly 2006, figs. 1, 2). The oldest example comes from Tomb 9 at Archanes and dates to MM IA; five more come from the Hagios Charalambos burial cave...


    • CHAPTER 15 Akrotiraki and Skali: New Evidence for EBA Lead/Silver and Copper Production from Southern Siphnos
      (pp. 149-156)
      Zozi D. Papadopoulou

      Siphnos was renown in antiquity for its wealth owing to silver and gold.* It is thanks to their rich mineral resources that the Siphnians were able to build their treasury for Apollo’s oracle in Delphi (Hdt. 3.57–58; Paus. 10.11.2). However, neither the travelers of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, who were inspired by the ancient writers to visit the island, nor the miners that reactivated the ancient mines at the end of the 19th century encountered any precious metal. A large scale field program by a team of reseachers from the Max Planck Institute in Heidelberg, Germany worked...

    • CHAPTER 16 Early Bronze Age Copper Smelting on Seriphos (Cyclades, Greece)
      (pp. 157-164)
      Olga Philaniotou, Yannis Bassiakos and Myrto Georgakopoulou

      Archeometallurgical studies on the islands of Kythnos (Bassiakos and Philaniotou 2007) and Siphnos (Wagner and Weisgerber, eds., 1985) have brought to light conclusive evidence for Early Bronze Age (EBA) copper and lead-silver production, respectively. This evidence emphasizes the important, although not exclusive (Georgakopoulou 2007), role of the western Cycladic islands as early Aegean metal suppliers. Seriphos, which is situated between Kythnos and Siphnos, has long been postulated as another potential metal-producing island during the EBA (e.g., Barber 1987, 14; Broodbank 2000, 292). The two previously briefly reported slag heaps of Avessalos and Kephala, however, remained undated and largely unstudied until...

    • CHAPTER 17 Searching for the Early Bronze Age Aegean Metallurgistʹs Toolkit
      (pp. 165-180)
      Christos G. Doumas

      As Keith Branigan had pointed out in his pioneering study of metallurgy in the Early Bronze Age (EBA) Aegean, facilities and equipment for smelting metal ores should be sought “in the vicinity of the ore sources themselves” (Branigan 1974, 69), from where the extracted metal was brought in the form of small ingots to the settlements (Branigan 1974, 70; Renfrew and Slater 2003, 307). Recent surveys and excavations have demonstrated not only that smelting was, indeed, conducted both near and far from the mining areas (Betancourt 1997; 2006, 179–184; 2007, 64; Bassiakos and Philaniotou 2007; Catapotis 2007; Catapotis and...

    • CHAPTER 18 Technological Aspects of Bronze Age Metallurgical Ceramics in the Eastern Mediterranean
      (pp. 181-188)
      Anno Hein and Vassilis Kilikoglou

      The development of metallurgy has been associated with the selection of adequate materials for the production of pyrotechnical tools and their adaptation for use at high temperatures. The flawless function of heat resistant tools, such as furnaces, tuyères, molds, and crucibles, was necessary for effective processing of the metal ores and metals. Failure would have resulted possibly in the loss of valuable resources. Ceramics were the most common materials used for the production of pyrotechnical tools due to their high thermal capacity and their heat resistance at considerably high temperatures. The common pottery clays that were used in antiquity, however,...

    • CHAPTER 19 Slags from the Late Bronze Age Metal Workshops at Kition and Enkomi, Cyprus
      (pp. 189-202)
      Andreas Hauptmann

      There are two major issues in archaeometallurgy.* The first one is the question regarding the provenance of metal objects, or, in addition, of the raw sources that were utilized to produce metal. In a larger context, provenance studies are needed to reconstruct trade routes, exchange of goods, shipment centers, and the spatial distribution of metal. The aim of the second issue is to decipher technologies applied in ancient mining and metallurgy. What was the composition of the ores used, from which part of an ore deposit were they mined, and which metallurgical operations were applied to smelt them to finally...

    • CHAPTER 20 The Metallurgy of Iron during the Early Years of the Iron Age
      (pp. 203-210)
      Robert Maddin

      I first became aware of Prof. J.D. Muhly in 1972 on reading an article he had written for The American Scientist, a publication of the scientific research society, Sigma Xi. He wrote of the trade in metals (copper and tin) during the Bronze Age in the eastern Mediterranean. I found the article fascinating and was even more interested to learn that he was at the same institution, the University of Pennsylvania; his office was only about 350 meters from mine. At that time, my interests in early metallurgy were nascent; my primary commitment was to studies in materials science. His...


    • CHAPTER 21 Copper Oxhide Ingots and Lead Isotope Provenancing
      (pp. 213-220)
      Noël H. Gale

      The distinguished and multifarious contributions of James Muhly to ancient history, archaeology, and archaeometallurgy have embraced both traditional and very new approaches to research. Muhly long ago perspicaciously advocated that the study of the Late Bronze Age Mediterranean metals trade had to begin with learning all that we could about the copper oxhide ingots, especially “how they were made, why they were made and where they were made” (Muhly 1977, 81). Muhly thereby inspired, and made major contributions to, over 30 years of research in this field. He was also quick to appreciate and engage with (Muhly 1983) the new...

    • CHAPTER 22 ʺBiscuits with Ears:ʺ A Search for the Origin of the Earliest Oxhide Ingots
      (pp. 221-230)
      Zofia Anna Stos-Gale

      Copper oxhide ingots are generally flat, rectangular ingots measuring 4–8 cm thick, 30–60 cm long, and 20–45 cm wide. The weight of these ingots varies greatly, from about 10 kg to 37 kg. The most prominent features of the “oxhide” ingots are elongated, pulled-out corners that would facilitate carrying them by two people or tying them together, or to the back of an animal, with a rope. The shape of these “ears” and the ingot sides vary a great deal, from very long hornlike “ears” and a small waist as on the ingot found at Mycenae, to...

    • CHAPTER 23 Metal Exchange in Italy from the Middle to the Final Bronze Age (14th–11th Century b.c.e.)
      (pp. 231-248)
      Reinhard Jung, Mathias Mehofer and Ernst Pernicka

      The supply and interregional exchange of metal in the Italian Bronze Age is much discussed. Distribution maps of bronze objects, the classical tool of such studies, show their geographical distribution as it is known from archaeological excavations or chance finds. However, many studies have shown that concentrations of specific types in certain regions and their absence in others are not necessarily representative for the areas in which they were made and/or used. Apart from chance finds (e.g., in industrialized and densely populated regions), ancient customs regulating the deposition of bronze objects may have acted as filters for the appearance of...

    • CHAPTER 24 Cyprus, Copper, and Alashiya
      (pp. 249-254)
      A. Bernard Knapp

      Cyprus, copper, and Alashiya have formed the subject of academic inquiry for well over a century, but it was not before James Muhly published two key papers that interested scholars finally could begin to appreciate all the complexities involved in integrating Cypriot archaeological and archaeometallurgical data, cuneiform documentary evidence, and historical interpretation (Muhly 1972, 1989). Muhly’s views, at least about the identification of Alashiya with Cyprus, have found supporters (e.g., Knapp 1985; Knapp, ed., 1996, 3–13) as well as detractors (e.g., Merrillees 1972, 1987). Overall, however, a century of very uneven debate and scholarship has done nothing to persuade...

    • CHAPTER 25 Alashiya: A Scientific Quest for Its Location
      (pp. 255-264)
      Robert S. Merrillees

      This is not the first time I have paid tribute to Jim Muhly’s contribution to ancient Near Eastern history (Merrillees 1998), nor, I suspect, will it be the last. Longevity—and active engagement—will ensure that Jim continues his valued research in this field, and we can look forward to many more years of productive work on the archaeology, especially metallurgy, of the eastern Mediterranean in the Bronze Age. Forty years ago we both had articles on Alashiya included in the published proceedings of the First International Cypriological Congress held in Nicosia in April 1969 (Merrillees 1972; Muhly 1972). Our...

    • CHAPTER 26 Hittite Metals at the Frontier: A Three-Spiked Battle Ax from Alalakh
      (pp. 265-272)
      K. Aslıhan Yener

      It is both a pleasure and a pleasant surprise to have been invited to contribute an article to a festschrift for James Muhly: a pleasure because it is gratifying to have the opportunity to pay tribute to a prolific and inspiring scholar; and a pleasant surprise because he has been a worthy opponent on the issue of tin sources in Turkey, about which we have disagreed for so long. The question of tin sources in Turkey has been dormant for 15 years, but new discoveries by the Turkish Geological Survey (MTA) have strengthened the notion that considerable tin deposits of...

    • CHAPTER 27 Sources of Tin and the Tin Trade in Southwest Asia: Recent Research and Its Relevance to Current Understanding
      (pp. 273-292)
      Vincent C. Pigott

      Current archaeological evidence suggests that during the early 3rd millennium b.c. in Southwest Asia, the earliest known use of tin-bronze occurred in Anatolia and Mesopotamia (e.g., Weeks 1999, 2003; Kaniuth 2007).* This alloy of copper and tin was used initially mainly for decorative items. Over the next two millennia, tin-bronze became the alloy of choice for ornaments, vessels, tools, and weapons across the Asian continent—from Beirut to Beijing to Bangkok. This was not to change until iron began to become widely available ca. 1000 b.c. and in the centuries immediately following, at which point tinbronze reverted back to being...

    • CHAPTER 28 Three Copper Oxhide Ingots in the Şanlıurfa Archaeology Museum, Turkey
      (pp. 293-308)
      Cemal Pulak

      In September 2000, Tufan Turanlı, of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) in Bodrum, Turkey, informed me of three unpublished copper ingots in the typical Late Bronze Age oxhide shape that he had seen by chance in the storeroom of the Şanlıurfa Archaeology Museum. I was first told about these ingots in 1994 by the then director of the Şanlıurfa Museum, Adnan Mısır, who had invited me to study and publish them, but his untimely death in 1998 prevented me from doing so. At my request and with the kind permission of the museum’s director, Eyyüp Bucak, Tufan Turanlı and...