Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Studying the Metallurgy of the Harappan Civilization

Characterization and comparison of the copper-base metallurgy of the Harappan sites at Farmana in Haryana and Kuntasi in Gujarat, India


Park et al


Copper-base metallic artifacts excavated from two Indus settlements at Farmana in Haryana and Kuntasi in Gujarat, India, were examined for their microstructure and chemical composition. The two sites were approximately contemporaneous and belong to the mature Harappan phase of the Indus Civilization, spanning the second half of the 3rd millennium BC. The microstructural data revealed that almost every object examined was substantially worked during fabrication. The composition data showed that arsenic served as the single alloying element in about 60% of the Farmana artifacts, with the rest of them made of either unalloyed copper or brass. Tin was not added deliberately in any of the Farmana artifacts. In the Kuntasi assemblage, however, tin as well as arsenic played a key role and most artifacts were alloyed with either arsenic or tin or both. Nevertheless, the two Harappan sites seem to have established a similar technology based on forging as the key fabrication method and circulation of product intermediaries as the primary means for metal acquisition. This article will present a detailed account of the mentioned results to characterize the technological status achieved by the two Indus communities. The results will then be compared with those of other Indus sites to gain insight into factors representing the general Indus bronze tradition.

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