Assaying the eight metals of antiquity: Archaeometallurgical perspectives on Indian heritage

Srinivasan, Sharada (2024) Assaying the eight metals of antiquity: Archaeometallurgical perspectives on Indian heritage. Lecture. International Centre for Theoretical Sciences, Bengaluru.

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Abstract: Archaeometallurgy pertains to the technological study of metallic archaeological artefacts and art objects to gain insights into the manufacturing techniques and history of technology. It can also help in the better classification of archaeological artefacts through studies on provenance and sources of metal. Archaeometallurgy is increasingly becoming a widely inclusive discipline of archaeology that attempts to trace the history of ancient metal production, distribution and usage in antiquity and the related socio-cultural and economic ramifications. The early metals to be exploited were those that were found in the native state, followed by those that could be smelted or reduced easily from ores, while those that were more difficult to smelt were discovered later. The commonly used metals in antiquity included gold, silver, copper, iron, tin, lead, zinc, and mercury. In the first lecture, Prof Sharada Srinivasan will explore the broader trajectory of the use of metals, and in Indian and particularly south Indian antiquity. The second two lectures point to some highlights of pre-industrial Indian contributions interspersed with insights from surviving craft traditions. These lectures draw on her archaeometallurgical studies on non-ferrous metallurgy in the skilled early use of high-tin bronzes and the making of statuary bronzes to the unique methods of extraction of metallic zinc, and in ferrous metallurgy in the use of wrought iron and high-carbon Steels and to later innovations such as the use of metal-cased rockets. Thus the lectures would point to the significance with respect to a broader global understanding of the history of science and technology.
Item Type: Monograph (Lecture)
Subjects: School of Humanities > Heritage Studies
Divisions: Schools > Humanities
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2024 12:09
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2024 07:08
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