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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.


John Ellis Jones

Metallurgy covers all processes involving native metal or metallic ores after mining (concentration, smelting, refining) up to the production of artefacts. Understanding these depends less on literary references (mainly Roman: *Strabo, *Pliny (1)) than on archaeological and scientific research, analytical, comparative, and experimental. Only the richest ores could be smelted directly; generally, enrichment was needed to avoid wasting fuel. So, mined rock was sorted underground and above, poorer material rejected, and the richer crushed with stone mauls or iron hammers on anvil-stones; deeply worn boulders are recognizable as such in *Laurium. Washing aided concentration of ores, especially those (gold, argentiferous lead) heavier than gangue; it could be done in pans or cradles, with rough cloth or fleeces (as in *Colchis, giving rise to the golden fleece legend). Milling to a fine grain, in rotary mills or hopper-querns, and sieving preceded washing. Laurium best exemplifies the elaborate arrangements for ore treatment which local conditions necessitated. Stone-built cement-surfaced rectangular washing tables had stand-tanks with funnelled jet-holes (perhaps serving wooden sluices), level floors, sunken channels, and sedimentation basins, which separated the milled ore from gangue and recycled water. There are also four known round washeries with helicoidal stone sluices. Repeated washing ensured the desired enrichment. Smelting was done with wood or carbon fuel in ovens of various forms, with heat intensified by means of bellows. Laurium offers five furnace sites, three excavated with a row of banked oven-rooms, filling-platforms, and traces of stone and clay chimney-ovens. Furnace techniques depended on the melting-point of metals, the ores used, the need to use fluxes or cope with slag, whether reduction or oxidization took place, and whether the process produced a liquid metal (copper, bronze, gold, a silver–lead mix) to be tapped into moulds to form ingots, or a livid mass (iron bloom) requiring hot hammering. Remelting and refining generally followed; so, ‘work-lead’, remelted under blown air produced metallic silver (for minting coins) and lead-oxide, which again remelted produced lead (for sealing cramps in masonry etc. ). The Greeks used crucible and cupellation methods, developed an early knowledge of alloys (e.g. copper, then arsenical coppers, true copper–tin bronzes, and lead-bronzes for casting), and mastered various hot and cold treatments for metals, smithing, and soldering. Some vase-paintings usefully illustrate workshop activities, like smithing and casting of bronze statues. See mines and mining, Greek.


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.


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.