Artifacts of Metalsmithing

7. Artifacts of Metalsmithing

Although the charred bowl and broken stone seen here may not look impressive, they are actually important artifacts of ancient metalsmithing. Archaeologists discovered this ceramic crucible and stone mold during the excavation of Yorghan Tepe, near modern day Kirkuk, Iraq. These tools were used together. The flecks of green visible on the crucible are bits of oxidized copper; but scientific examination has also revealed minute traces of tin and lead. These elements are mixed together to make bronze. A smith heated small bits of metal in this shallow bowl until they melted at about 950 degrees Celsius. The molten metal was then poured into a mold, like the one seen here. Once cool, the cast object could be removed from the mold and finished by the metalsmith into a functioning tool. This mold appears to have been used to make a chisel and a slender axe head.

Your final stop on this audio tour is #8, one of the glass vessels in the glass case to your right.