University of Cambridge > > Pitt-Rivers Archaeological Science Seminar Series > Copper metallurgy at Kerma: Technological innovation in the Nile Valley

Copper metallurgy at Kerma: Technological innovation in the Nile Valley

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  • UserDr. Frederik Rademakers (KU Leuven)
  • ClockFriday 06 November 2020, 13:15-14:00
  • HouseOnline via zoom.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Alette Blom.

Kerma is a key site in ancient Sudan, at a cross-roads between ancient Egypt to the north and sub-Saharan Africa to the south, but also the east-west trade routes crossing the continent. Its material culture reflects these different influences but equally represents strong local traditions. In this seminar, new evidence for advanced metallurgical technology at Kerma is presented. This presentation discusses results from the 2018-2019 campaign, in which a Middle Kerma period (21st-18th century BCE ) metallurgical workshop, first discovered by Bonnet (1986), was re-excavated to understand its hitherto unknown function. Combining field evidence with archaeometric analysis and experimental archaeology, the large furnace structure can now be understood in the context of a highly specialised production chain to cast large bronze sheets – a technique without parallel in the ancient world. Our collaboration further allowed for the detailed analysis of metal artefacts as well as crucibles and technical ceramics associated with metal production at Kerma. As such, this research provides the first detailed overview of copper alloy technology and provenance at this important site. This seminar concludes with a comparison to contemporaneous evidence from Egypt, considering the exchange of materials and the spread of knowledge over time in the Nile Valley.

Bonnet, C., 1986. Un atelier de bronziers à Kerma, in Krause, M., Nubische Studien. Tagungsakten der 5. Internationalen Konferenz der International Society for Nubian Studies, Heidelberg, 22.-25. September 1982. Mainz: Verlag Philip Von Zabern, 19-22.

This talk is part of the Pitt-Rivers Archaeological Science Seminar Series series.

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