From ores to metals

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

34 Scopus citations


The first steps in the production of a metal object are to extract the ore from the mine, process the ore for smelting, and then eventually smelt the ore into metal. As fundamental as these steps may be, they are also the least studied in ancient metallurgical research, as finished metal artifacts (i.e., the end result of the entire process) are usually more interesting to archaeologists than bits of ore or slag. However, the study of the earlier stages is often more enlightening on the social structures of metallurgical groups, on the choices made by ancient metal workers, and more generally about human engagement with ores and metals. In this chapter, the first steps of the metallurgical process are outlined and discussed, with an eye towards the sorts of anthropological and archaeological research questions that can be asked by both archaeologists and archaeometallurgists of ores, mines, furnaces, slag, etc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationArchaeometallurgy in Global Perspective
Subtitle of host publicationMethods and Syntheses
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages35
ISBN (Electronic)9781461490173
ISBN (Print)1461490162, 9781461490166
StatePublished - Aug 1 2013


  • Extractive metallurgy
  • Geochemistry
  • Mining
  • Ore geology
  • Prehistory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities


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