Technology and organisation of early Cycladic metallurgy : copper on Seriphos and Keros, Greece
This thesis investigates aspects of the technology and organisation of Early Bronze Age (EBA) Cycladic copper production based primarily on an analytical examination of metallurgical remains identified in two different contexts: the slag heaps of Seriphos and the settlement of Daskaleio-Kavos on Keros. The Cyclades show intense prominence during this period and the identification of local metal production raises important archaeological questions. A geological reconnaissance on Seriphos established the existence of copper minerals on the island. Five occurrences were identified, sampled and characterised. The slag heaps of Kephala and Phournoi on Seriphos were dated to the third millennium BC by thermoluminescence of furnace fragments. Examination of a substantial suite of slags from these sites showed that unalloyed copper was produced estimates of several key process parameters for the smelting operations were obtained. No indications for other metallurgical activities aside from smelting were recognised. A preliminary study of material from the still undated Avessalos slag heap was also undertaken. Analyses of the Daskaleio-Kavos finds gave evidence for two copper-producing activities, resulting in unalloyed and arsenical copper metal, respectively. Identification of a single litharge specimen raises the possibility that cupellation was additionally carried out. The copper slag heaps identified on Seriphos conform to a pattern known also from neighbouring Kythnos, where relatively large-scale EBA copper smelting is attested, isolated from any known contemporaneous settlements and within a metal-rich area. The dispersed distribution of these slag heaps and several technological characteristics suggest a largely uncentralised production. The finds from Daskaleio-Kavos showed that some small-scale metal production was also carried out within some of the settlements these activities show several differences compared to those associated with the western Cycladic slag heaps. The thesis highlights the importance of appropriate technological studies in understanding the role and organisation of copper metallurgy in the EBA Cyclades.