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Article

bronze  

Frederick Norman Pryce and Michael Vickers

The ancients used the words χαλκός, *aes, indiscriminately for copper and for the harder and more fusible bronze, an alloy of copper and tin. Implements of bronze are found in Egypt and *Mesopotamia before 3000 bce. During the third millennium (the early Minoan period of Crete) the general use of bronze and the normal composition of the alloy (one part of tin to nine of copper) were established (see metallurgy). Until the introduction of *iron, bronze was the sole metal for utilitarian purposes, and afterwards it continued in general use to the end of antiquity for sculpture, many domestic objects, and, after the 5th cent. bce, for small-denomination coins. Brass (ὀρείχαλκος, orichalcum, a mixture of copper and zinc) is not found before Roman imperial times, when *lead was also added to bronze in increasing quantities.Copper is widely found in classical lands, where the principal sources of supply were, for Greece, *Chalcis in Euboea and *Cyprus, and for Italy, Bruttium, Etruria (see etruscans), and Elba, while under Roman rule *Spain produced largely.

Article

Sandra Blakely

The story of metallurgy in ancient Greece spans five millennia and a geographic range reaching from the Greek colonies in the west to Anatolia and the Levant. An interdisciplinary effort, its study engages archaeological fieldwork, historical texts, and scientific analyses, and has moved from social evolutionary models through Marxist, processual, and post-processual frameworks. Metallurgical innovation and invention are productive loci for the investigation of historical change and emerging complexity. Three case studies—the transition from native ores to smelting, the emergence of bronze, and the spread of iron technology—foreground the entanglement of metallurgy with ecological strategies, maritime and overland mobility, the status of the crafter, and elite and non-elite control of production. Deterministic paradigms and models based on revolutionary innovations are yielding to more nuanced frameworks of gradual change, tempered by insights from ethnoarchaeology and from new excavations which shed fresh light on the cultural meanings of metallurgy among both metalworkers and patrons.

Article

Stephen Hodkinson

Although animals were ubiquitous throughout the Greek countryside, animal husbandry has until recently received little systematic attention; hence current interpretations are frequently embryonic. Zooarchaeological studies of animal bone assemblages from the historical period are particularly needed.Evidence of domesticated animals goes back to the 7th millennium bce. In the early neolithic modest flocks of ovicaprines (sheep and goats), kept primarily for meat, were integrated into small-scale gardening, grazing on fallow and stubble and supplying manure. More specialized stock-keeping arose in the late neolithic and bronze age, with increased exploitation of ‘secondary products’, especially ox traction and ovicaprine textile fibres, culminating in the large-scale wool production of the Minoan and Mycenaean palaces (see minoan and mycenaean civilization). Older views of the Dark Age as one of nomadic pastoralism (often associated with the ‘Dorian invasions’; see dorians; heraclidae) are now under challenge. ‘Homeric society’ rested upon arable production, with large herds as a store for surplus wealth. The period of independent poleis (discussed further below) witnessed smaller herd sizes; Hellenistic and Roman Greece a subsequent increase.

Article

David William John Gill

Petrographical and chemical analysis are the two main ways to characterize pottery. The former treats the pottery as a geological sediment which has been used for a particular purpose. Thus by scanning thin sections of pottery under a polarizing microscope, mineral inclusions can be visually identified; this allows a parallel to be drawn with other ceramic material, which may lead in turn to an identification of the clay source. This technique is particularly useful for coarse wares such as transport *amphorae. However in the case of fine pottery where inclusions have been removed, the clay can be treated as a bulk material. The sample can be studied by three main means: neutron activation analysis, optical emission spectroscopy, and atomic absorption spectrophotometry. In addition to the three main elements within clay (silicon, aluminium, and oxygen), an analysis will seek to determine the percentage of other elements in the composition: iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and titanium. These proportions can then be plotted and the results compared with other tests from pottery or indeed from clay sources.

Article

Shelley Wachsmann

During the Bronze Age, ships and seafaring capabilities transformed the Mediterranean and Red Seas from insurmountable barriers to highways over which cultures communicated for a variety of reasons. Watercraft were essential to the development of maritime cultures in the Bronze Age. Our knowledge of these vessels derives primarily from contemporaneous iconography, but also from remains of the actual vessels and from texts. Each culture developed ships and boats that best suited their individual needs based on the availability of materials and local traditions.Ships and boats played a pivotal role in the Bronze Age Mediterranean, both on inland waterways and at sea. Virtually everything made or used by humans travelled in some way by watercraft, which allowed cultures to interact over vast distances through exploration, trade, warfare, piracy, and migration. Acquiring copper and tin was of primary importance, and in the late 2nd millennium bce the shape of some ingots, termed “oxhide ingots,” was particularly suited for ship transportation. Militarily, ships could be used as mobile fighting platforms during battles, but more commonly they served for coastal raiding and as naval transports for men and supplies. It is impossible to understand the Mediterranean Bronze Age world without taking into consideration the influence of .