General Mining [USED] Early Metal Mining and production

[USED] Early Metal Mining and production

SKU 18688
Weight 1.00 kg


Paul T Craddock, HB, 363pp, Edinburgh University Press 1995. OUT OF PRINT

From the arsenic-rich ores of Almirzaraque to zinc processing at Zawar, this tour of ancient metallurgical sites and processes covers the globe at a brisk pace. Since the last attempts to cover this wide subject area - the syntheses of Tylecote in the 1960s to 1980s - the study area has expanded, data have proliferated, and approaches have become more varied. How can such breadth be included in a single volume?

Firstly, the author makes no apology for not discussing the social and economic background of the metalworking communities. This is a book primarily about the technology of early mining and metalworking. Many of its intended audience may be more comfortable with technical terminology than with the language of archaeology, but the question remains why so many archaeometallurgists refuse to take up the broader issues underlying their subject.

Secondly, there is the pace of the presentation. There are times when the text is in danger of becoming no more than a filler between the very extensive references. These will provide an invaluable index of material for the researcher, but will be less palatable for the interested non-specialist. This volume is not a field guide. There is much emphasis on exotic metals and exceptional sites, and little on the more commonplace metalworking remains frequently encountered.

There is much to commend the book. The first chapter provides a sound introduction to the study of metallurgy. The broad perspective allows comparison of technologies across a wide geographical and temporal framework. Ethnographic studies, historical documentation and experimental reconstructions help to bring alive processes whose archaeological remains are not self-explanatory. Craddock has brought together an enormous amount of detailed information and the value of this work is in the breadth of his research and knowledge.

David Starley is an archaeometallurgist at the Ancient Monuments Laboratory, English Heritage

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