2014 - 2015

  Archaemetallurgy of the Ancient Near East  
Erez Ben-YosefGilman-humanities319Mon1400-1600 Sem  2
University credit hours:  2.0

Course description
The discovery of metallurgy – the production of metal from ore with the use of fire – opened the way for complicated social processes that dramatically influenced the development of human societies. Metallurgy first appeared about 7000 years ago in the Ancient Near East. Throughout the millennia this region was a background for pyrotechnological developments and sophisticated human interactions with natural resources. Many of the key sites for understanding ancient metal production are located in this part of the world, including Timna in southern Israel, where the archaeometallurgical research field was first conceived more than 50 years ago.

Since its establishment as a distinct research field within archaeology, archaeometallurgy has become a widely practiced discipline with flourishing research centers currently located in various universities and museums. The archaeometallurgical research is engaged in the study of one of the unique components of ancient material culture and the archaeological record, ancient metals and related production debris. This research field is based on a tight collaboration between approaches and tools from natural, human and social sciences with research being conducted in the field, laboratory and current traditional societies (ethnorarchaeology).

The course surveys evidence and theory regarding the inception of metallurgy, major technological developments, and the role the industry played in Ancient Near East societies (Neolithic – Iron Age). In addition, the course reviews research methodologies and tools, both in the laboratory and in the field, and the implications of the archaeometallurgical research on broad archaeological and anthropological questions. The course analyzes a wide variety of archaeological examples and presents current research trends. It is a basic course in the program of archaeological materials.

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