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Archaeometallurgy in Europe III

Z ei t s c h r i f t f ü r K u n s t u n d K u l t u r i m B e r g ba u

Beiheft 26

Archaeometallurgy in Europe III

Andreas Hauptmann
Diana Modarressi-Tehrani
Archaeometallurgy in Europe III
in Europe III
Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference
Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum

June 29 – July 1, 2011

Andreas Hauptmann
Diana Modarressi-Tehrani

Bochum 2015
Montanhistorische Zeitschrift Cover

Der ANSCHNITT. Beiheft 26 Domus Vettiorum / Casa dei Vettii, Pompeii (Campania, Italy,
63-79 BC), which was excavated in 1894. Section of a Pompeii-
= Veröffentlichungen aus dem Deutschen style scenic fresco showing Erotes and Psyches in a gold assay
Bergbau-Museum Bochum, Nr. 202 laboratory. In the left corner, scales for weighing gold are put on a
table. Next to it, one of the Erotes is working with a small hammer
on an anvil. On the right side, an assay furnace is shown. Ano-
ther of the Erotes is holding a small crucible with pincers with the
right hand while using a blowpipe with his left hand, supplying the
fire with air. The large bellow for the assay furnace is driven by
the third of the Erotes.

The conference Archaeometallurgy in Europe III

was supported by






Thermo Scientific Herausgeber:

Vereinigung der Freunde von Kunst und Kultur im Bergbau e.V.

Vorsitzender des Vorstands:

Springer Verlag Berlin Heidelberg Prof. Dr. Karl Friedrich Jakob
New York
Vorsitzender des Beirats:
Bergassessor Dipl.-Kfm. Dr.-Ing. E.h. Achim Middelschulte

Museumsdirektor Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Stefan Brüggerhoff

Redaktion Schriftleitung:
Diana Modarressi-Tehrani, Andreas Hauptmann Dr. phil. Andreas Bingener M.A.

Layout Editorial Board:

Rolf Krause Prof. Dr. Stefan Brüggerhoff, Dr. Lars Bluma, Dr. Michael
Farrenkopf, Prof. Dr. Rainer Slotta, Dr. Thomas Stölllner
Karina Schwunk Wissenschaftlicher Beirat:
Prof. Dr. Jana Geršlová, Ostrava; Prof. Dr. Karl-Heinz Ludwig,
Druck Bremen; Prof. Dr. Thilo Rehren, London; Prof. Dr. Wolfhard
Grafisches Centrum Cuno GmbH & Co. KG Weber, Bochum

Anschrift der Geschäftsführung und der Schriftleitung:

Deutsches Bergbau-Museum
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Die Deutschen Bibliothek verzeichnet diese Publikation in der Telefon (02 34) 58 77-0
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in Europe III

Scientific Advisory Board

Gilberto Artioli, Universitá di Padova, Italy
Roland Gauß, Fraunhofer-Institut für Silicatforschung,
ISC, Alzenau
Alessandra Giumlia-Mair, Merano, Italy
Gert Goldenberg, University of Innsbruck, Austria
Sabine Klein, J.W. Goethe University of Frankfurt/
Main, Germany
Marcos Martinon-Torres, University College London,
United Kingdom
William O’Brien, University of Galway, Ireland
Vincent Serneels, University of Fribourg, Switzerland

Standing Committee
Yannis Bassiakos, Athens, Greece
Alessandra Giumlia-Mair, Merano, Italy
Andreas Hauptmann, Bochum, Germany
Ivelin Kuleff, Sofia, Bulgaria
Susan LaNiece, London, United Kingdom
Ignacio Montero, Madrid, Spain

Local Organizing Committee

Michael Bode
Andreas Hauptmann
Diana Modarressi-Tehrani
Michael Prange
Ünsal Yalçın

This volume comprises a range of articles, which were 1981 by Professors Tsun Ko, Beijing, China, and Robert
submitted and selected from all the presentations given Maddin, then Philadelphia, USA. The focus of the eight
on the International Conference ”Archaeometallurgy in BUMA conferences held so far (the last one was held
Europe III”, held from the 29th of June to 1st of July 2011 in Nara, Japan, in 2013) lays on the development of
at the Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum, Germany. metallurgy in South-East Asia and the Pacific Rim. We
firmly belief that the two conferences complement each
The present volume is the third in the series “Archaeo- other very effectively and should therefore continue to
metallurgy in Europe” , capturing the spirit of the suc- exist side by side.
cessful series of international conferences on this special
theme of research. The first conference “Archaeometal- With this special volume of Der Anschnitt, we are de-
lurgy in Europe” had been organized by the Associazi- lighted to publish a selection of the lectures presented
one Italiana di Metallurgia and took place in Milano, at the conference at the Deutsches Bergbau-Museum
Italy, from the 24th to the 26th of September 2003. The Bochum in 2011. Many of the authors contributed with
second conference was held in Aquileia, Italy, from the very instructive and informative papers, which finally
17th to the 21st of June 2007. It was also organized by resulted in this volume.
the Associazione Italiana di Metallurgia.
We are very much obliged to all these authors who, with
The splendid idea to launch this conference series, a patience and persistence, cooperated with us and helped
scientific series of meetings limited to the countries of to shape this volume. We would also like to thank the
Europe, came from the late Prof. Dr. Walter Nicodemi, reviewers who decisively contributed in the improvement
formerly President of the Assoziazione Metallurgia di of the scientific level of this volume.
Italia. Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Alessandra Giumlia-
Mair, Merano, these conferences have developed into Our thanks go first to all those colleagues and friends
increasingly productive events with a high scholarly qua- who helped to organize the conference in 2011. The
lity. Since then three conferences have taken place and former director of the Deutsches Bergbau-Museum, Prof.
the fourth meeting is at an advanced stage of prepara- Dr. Rainer Slotta, and the present director, Prof. Dr. Ste-
tion and will take place in Madrid, Spain, from the 1st to fan Brüggerhoff encouraged and promoted our efforts
the 3rd June 2015. to organize this scholarly meeting. Dr. Michael Bode, Dr.
Michael Prange, and Prof. Dr. Ünsal Yalçın supported
The title of the conference series covers a research field the conference planning and realization in every aspect.
which is a distinctive part of archaeometry, and which Many colleagues of the staff of the Deutsches Berg-
so far was usually included as one of the topics in the bau-Museum, and many of the students working in our
program of the “International Symposium on Archaeo- research laboratory offered their assistance and help.
metry” (ISA), organized every third year at different lo-
cations in Europe and in the United States. However it Finally, our thanks go to Mrs. Karina Schwunk and Mrs.
is our opinion, that in the last decade archaeometallurgy Angelika Wiebe-Friedrich who performed the editorial
has developed as a very important research field, and work, design, and layout for this volume.
we are observing a large number of scholarly activities
all over the world. We are convinced that such an im-
portant topic needs to be organised and presented in Andreas Hauptmann
conferences specifically dedicated to this field. Therefo- Diana Modarressi-Tehrani
re the topic of this conference is the history of metals
and metallurgy primarily in Europe, but it also includes
other regions of the Old World. Contemporaneously to the conference in 2011 a volume
with abstracts on every lecture given and every poster
The future prospects of the conference series are pro- presented was published:
mising, especially because “Archaeometallurgy in Euro-
pe” constitutes an extremely useful broadening and a 2011 HAUPTMANN, Andreas, MODARRESSI-TEH-
regional counterpoint to the well-established and suc- RANI, Diana & PRANGE, Michael (eds.),
cessful conference series “The Beginnings of the Use Archaeometallurgy in Europe III. Abstracts.
of Metals and Alloys” (BUMA), which was launched in METALLA, Sonderheft 4, 2011.
Table of contents

Early mining and metallurgical innovation stages in Europe

Hans Anderssson
Iron – a driving force in early urbanisation 13

Florence Cattin, Matthias B. Merkl, Christian Strahm & Igor Maria Villa
Elemental and lead isotopic data of copper finds from the Singen cemetery,
Germany – a methodological approach of investigating Early Bronze Age networks 19

Guntram Gassmann, Sabine Klein & Gabriele Körlin

The Roman mines near Ulpiana, Kosovo 33

Marc Pearce
The spread of early copper mining and metallurgy in Europe:
an assessment of the diffusionist model
A key-note lecture 45

Ignacio Soriano
The earliest metallurgy in the north-eastern Iberian Peninsula:
origin, use and socioeconomic implications 55

Thomas Stöllner
Humans approach to resources: Old World mining between technological innovations,
social change and economical structures.
A key-note lecture 63

Simon Timberlake, Tim Mighalll & Thomas Kidd

Newresearch into Roman metal mining in Britain 83

Regional studies in Europe and beyond

Lucile Beck, Elise Alloin, Anne Michelin, Florian Téreygeol, Claire Berthier,
Dominique Robcis, Thierry Borel & Ulrich Klein
Counterfeit coinage of the Holy Roman Empire in the 16th century:
silvering process and archaeometallurgical replications 97

Maryse Blet-Lemarquand, Arnaud Suspène & Michel Amandry

Augustus’ gold coinage: investigating mints and provenance through
trace element concentrations 107

Velislav Bonev, Boika Zlateva & Ivelin Kuleff

Chemical composition of fibulae from the Iron Age in Thrace (Bulgaria) 115
Carlo Bottaini, Claudio Giardino, Giovanni Paternoster
The Final Bronze Age hoard from Solveira (northern Portugal):
a multi-disciplinary approach 125

Jennifer Garner
Bronze Age tin mines in central Asia 135

Alessandra Giumlia-Mair, Susan C. Ferrence & Philip P. Betancourt

Metallurgy of the copper-based objects from Gournia, east Crete 145

Elisa M. Grassi
Roman metalworking in northern Italy between archaeology and archaeometry:
two case studies 155

Babara Horejs & Mathias Mehofer

Early Bronze Age metal workshops at Çukuriçi Höyük
Production of arsenical copper at the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC 165

Rüdiger Krause
New horizons: archaeometallurgy in eastern Europe and beyond
A key-note lecture 177

Janet Lang
The Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Dover Buckland, Kent, UK and the technology of
some of the iron artefacts 185

Lene Melheim
Late Bronze Age axe traffic from Volga-Kama to Scandinavia? 193

Alicia Perea, Patricia Fernández-Esquivel, Salvador Rovira-Llorens,

José Luís Ruvalcaba-Sil, Ana Verde, Oscar García-Vuelta & Fabián Cuesta-Gómez
Prehistoric gold metallurgy: the Arqeomeb research project 203

Irina Ravich & Mikhail Treister

The mirrors of the early nomads of the foothills of south Urals:
a complex archaeo-technological study 211

Irina Segal, Miryam Bar-Matthews, Alan Matthews, Yehudit Harlavan & Dan Asael
Provenance of ancient metallurgical artifacts: implications of new Pb isotope data
from Timna ores 221

Béla Török, Árpád Kovács & Zsolt Gallina

Iron metallurgy of the Pannonian Avars of the 7th - 9th century based on excavations
and material examinations 229

Frank Willer, Roland Schwab & Kati Bott

Large Roman Bronze statues from the UNESCO World Heritage Limes 239

Vladimir I. Zavyalov & Nataliya N. Terekhova

Three-fold welding technology in the blacksmith’s craft of Medieval Rus’
(concerning Scandinavian innovations) 247
Reconstructing ancient technologies

David Bourgarit & Nicolas Thomas

Ancient brasses: misconceptions and new insights 255

Vagn F. Buchwald
On the characterization of slags and ancient iron artefacts applying the
slag-analytical method 263

Joseph Gauthier, Pierre Fluck, Alessandre Disser & Carmela Chateau

The Alsatian Altenberg: a seven-hundred-year laboratory for silver metallurgy 271

Anno Hein, Ioannis Karatasios, Noémi S. Müller & Vassilis Kilikoglou

Material properties of pyrotechnical ceramics used in the Bronze Age Aegean
and implications on metallurgical technologies 279

Silviya Ivanova, Veselina Rangelova, Deyan Lesigyarski & Ivelin Kuleff

Observations on the technology of Bronze Age copper and copper alloy finds
from Bulgaria 287

David Killick
Archaeometallurgy as archaeology
A key-note lecture 295

Steffen Kraus, Christian Schröder, Susanne Klemm & Ernst Pernicka

Archaeometallurgical studies on the slags of the Middle Bronze Age
copper smelting site S1, Styria, Austria 301

Matthias Krismer, Gert Goldenberg & Peter Tropper

Mineralogical-petrological investigations of metallurgical slags from the
Late Bronze Age fahlore-smelting site Mauken (Tyrol, Austria) 309

Matthias B. Merkl
Some thoughts on the interpretation of the elemental composition of Chalcolithic
copper finds from central Europe 319

Nerantzis Nerantzis
Experimental simulation study of prehistoric bronze working: testing the effects of
work-hardening on replicated alloys 329

Barbara S. Ottaway
Experiments in archaeometallurgy
A key-note address 337

Alessandro Pacini
The Lombard fibula of the Arcisa: a substitution? 347

Salvador Rovira, Martina Renzi, Auxilio Moreno & Francisco Contreras

Copper slags and crucibles of copper metallurgy in the Middle Bronze Age site
(El Argar Culture) of Peñalosa (Baños de la Encina, Jaen, Spain) 355
Sana Shilstein & Sariel Shalev
Comparison of compositional variations in modern European bronze coins
with variations in some ancient coins 363

Elena Silvestri, Paolo Bellintani, Franco Nicolis, Michele Bassetti, Siria Biagioni,
Nicola Cappellozza, Nicola Degasperi, Marco Marchesini, Nicoletta Martinelli,
Silvia Marvelli & Olivia Pignatelli
New excavations at smelting sites in Trentino, Italy: archaeological and
archaeobotanical data 369

Maria A. Socratous, Vasiliki Kassianidou & Gaetano Di Pasquale

Ancient slag heaps in Cyprus: the contribution of charcoal analysis to the
study of the ancient copper industry 377

New approaches, new technologies in archaeometallurgy

Gilberto Artioli, Matteo Parisatto & Ivana Angelini

High energy X-ray tomography of Bronze Age copper ingots 387

Elisa Barzagli, Francesco Grazzi, Francesco Civita, Antonella Scherillo, Alessio Fossati
& Marco Zoppi
Characterization of ancient Japanese sword hand guards through time-of-flight
neutron diffraction and scanning electron microscopy 391

The authors 401

Jennifer Garner

Bronze Age tin mines in central Asia

Summary amazing discoveries of Bronze Age shipwrecks like Ul-

uburun, more and more questions arose about the prov-
enance especially of tin itself (Muhly 1973; Muhly 1985;
Since the oldest known artifacts of tin bronze appeared Crawford 1974; Stech/Pigott 1986; Pernicka 1998: 198
in Mesopotamia and ancient Orient, more and more ff.; Garner 2013: 6, 10 f.).
questions arose about the origin of this alloy, particular-
ly since neither copper nor tin deposits are present in For copper, many sources occur in Anatolia, Cyprus,
Mesopotamia. Due to this fact some researchers belief Jordan, Caucasus, Iran and Oman. More problematic is
that the source of the metal, especially tin, is located in the provenance of tin. No deposits in the cultural context
Central Asia. In Central Asia are large copper and tin of Mesopotamia are known and the sources in Central
deposits with traces of mining, dating to the middle and Europe are not connected with the Middle East during
Late Bronze age (2nd millennium BC). Tin production the 3rd and 2nd millennium BC. The idea, that Central
during the Early Bronze Age is also likely, since the first Asian tin could have been used by the cultures of the
tin-bronze artefacts appeared within the Sejma-Turbino Ancient Orient in the 3rd and 2nd millenium BC is by no
circle during the End of 3rd millennium BC. The Zer- means out of question (Kohl 2005; Garner 2013: 12 ff.,
avshan valley posses large tin deposits and a part of 44 ff.).
the later Silk Road leads through the valley connecting
the eastern with the western regions. Several different It seems that the innovation of tin bronze technology is
tin mining districts in the Zeravshan valley were exca- more associated with the northern steppe tribes than
vated: in Karnab and Lapas, situated between Samar- with the sedentary communities in Bactria or Margiana
kand and Bokhara; Čangali near Kattakurgan; Mushis- and that together with the expansion of the Androno-
ton, which is not far away from Pendjikent and the famous vo-culture to the south also the tin bronze metallurgy
settlement of Sarazm. The Mining took place in open spread over to the oasis cultures.
cast trench mines, which followed the veins into an un-
known depth or, like in Mushiston, in an underground It seems, because the oldest tin bronzes appeared in
mine, which old galleries and chambers formed a huge Mesopotamia, that this innovation spread from here to
labyrinth. Ceramic typology and radiocarbon dates date the western part of the Old World (Garner 2013: 228 ff.).
the mines in Karnab, Lapas and Changali to the middle But the use of tin bronze did not seem to have been
2nd millennium BC (Andronovo-Tazabagjab culture). On- generally accepted in the cultures of southern Central
ly Mushiston started at the end of the 3rd millennium BC Asia, although tin deposits were closely located. The
and stopped in the late Bronze Age. sedentary communities in Bactria or Margiana (Namaz-
ga VI), which are related to the cultures in Afghanistan,
Iran and India, seem to have used only copper or ar-
Introduction senical copper and antimony copper alloys. Tin-bronzes
appeared only sporadically (Terekhova 1981; Ruzanov
It has long been known, that tin bronze, an alloy of cop- 1982; Salvatori et al. 2002; Garner 2013: 33 ff.).
per and tin, appears in Anatolia and Mesopotamia at the
end of the 4th and the beginning of the 3rd millennium With the first appearance of the northern steppe tribes
BC (Hellwing 2009: 211). Since the middle the 3rd mil- in these regions during the middle of 2nd millennium BC,
lennium BC bronze became most popular and metal the occurrence of high quality tin-bronzes increased,
finds like equipment, weapons and jewellery in the an- especially within the Sapalli-culture in Bactria (Ruzan-
cient Near East were produced of the new alloy particu- ov1982; Kaniuth 2006). It seems that together with the
larly in Mesopotamia. With the increasing amount of steppe tribes’ movement also the tin-bronze-technology
analyses being carried out on metal artefacts and the spread to the south. Indeed, all investigated copper and

Jennifer Garner

tin deposits with traces of mining in Central Asia, from metallurgy of Central Asia lay more in the Eurasian-
Kalba-Narym-Mountains in Kazakhstan in the north to steppes than in Anatolia or Mesopotamia.
the Zeravshan valley in Uzbekistan in the south are con-
nected to the Andronovo culture (Garner 2013a). Al- This paper will focus on the middle part of Central Asia,
though traces of early Bronze Age mining are currently i.e. the Republics of Uzbekistan and Tadjikistan (Fig. 1),
unknown, there must have existed knowledge about where Bronze Age mining and metal production were
bronze technology since the first tin-bronze artefacts discovered in a research project between 1997 and
appeared within the Sejma-Turbino circle during the end 1999. The investigations especially in the tin area of the
of the 3rd millennium BC. However, because the Sej- Zerafšan valley was a multinational research-project of
ma-Turbino circle is associated, among others, to Sin- the German Archaeological Institute Berlin, the Univer-
tashta-Petrovka culture, which deemed to be the prede- sity of Freiberg, the Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bo-
cessor of Andronovo, it seems that the source of bronze chum, the Archaeological Institute of Samarkand of the

Fig. 1: Map of Central Asia, showing the different mining and metallurgy centres, especially the tin mines of the Zerafshan valley. The
numbers are:
I Kysylkum Desert, II Sogdian, III Hissar Mountains, IV Gorno-Badakhshan Region, V Afghanistan, VI Fergana, VII Shash-Ilak
Region, VIII Chatkal Mountains, IX Talas, X Balkhash Region, XI Northern Betpak-dala, XII Dzhezkazgan Region, XIII Karagan-
da-Karkaralinsk Region, XIV Bajanaul Region, XV Northkazakhstan (Kokshetau), XVI Eastkazakhstan (Kalba-Narym), XVII West-
kazakhstan (South-Ural), XVIII Southeastern Ural-Region.
The tin deposits of Karnab, Lapas, Changali and Mushiston, which are mentioned in this article, belongs to Sodgian mining centre.

Bronze Age tin mines in central Asia

Fig. 2: Many metallurgical sites like a copper furnace or slag heaps with Andronovo ceramics were found during a survey in 1999 in
the Kyzylkum desert. This example shows the potential of ore deposits in Central Asia for research.

Science Academy of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the

Institute for History, Archaeology and Ethnology of Tadz-

The current state of research is at the beginning. We

know almost nothing about the operational sequence in
this area. Here many remains of mining activities are
known, but the age of the “ancient” galleries is unknown.
It is also not known what kind of ore was exploited, and
where the ore was smelted. However, the absence of
research should not underestimate the ancient impor-
tance of the ore deposits in Central Asia. For instance,
in the Kyzylkum desert, during a three days survey, sev-
eral sites with metallurgical remains like copper slag,
furnaces and Ceramic were found (Fig. 2). Near the
mining sites it was possible to pick up some stone ham-
mers, which represent typical tools for prehistoric mining.
The ceramic from the slag and copper mining sites could
be assigned to the Andronovo-Tazabagjab culture. This
situation is similar to the Fergana Valley, where after our
own surveys many old galleries with traces of fire setting
or slag heaps occur, but no recent research has taken
place (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3: Example of an old gallery with traces of fire setting in the

Fergana Valley. Nothing or only a few is known about the mining
centres in Central Asia. Since the current state of mining research,
which is for the most part over forty years old, is insufficient, the
mining archaeological investigation must be intensified and com-
bined with modern analytical methods.

Jennifer Garner

The Zerafshan valley every mine human remains were discovered. Because
they were disturbed due to the secondary utilization as
a shelter, it is hard to say, if they are relicts of graves or
An exception is the Zerafshan-valley, where Bronze Age more modern corpses, which somebody wanted to get
tin-mines are known (Alimov et al. 1998; Alimov et al. rid of.
1999; Parzinger/Boroffka 2003)1. The tin deposits of the
Zerafshan valley belong to a belt of tin and wolfram After cleaning the surface around the mine, some small
mineralisations, which spans from the north of Buchara, depressions in the rock surface, directly beside the mine,
near the border to Turkmenistan above the Zirabu- came to light (Fig. 6). We suggest that these holes were
lak-Mountains and Samarkand to Central-Tadzhikistan. used for ore crushing. Indeed a large number of crush-
Altogether four mining districts were investigated in our ing stones were found nearby. Obviously the first rough
project: Karnab, Lapas and Changali, which are located ore dressing took place directly next to the mine after
between Buchara and Samarkand, and Mushiston, the ore was extracted. Then it was probably transported
which is located in a side-valley of Zerafshan circa 3000 to settlements for secondary beneficiation and smelting.
m above sea level (Fig. 1). One of the settlements was located only 1 km from the
mines. Metallurgy related remains such as furnaces and
similar stone tools like those from the mines were found
Karnab (Parzinger/Boroffka 2003).

The model area of Karnab has an extension of 1500 x After excavating the mine to a depth of 9 m, the ground
500 m, but the whole mining district is around 10 ha. In collapsed because of a hallow, which was filled with
the 1950ies and 1980ies Soviet geological prospections groundwater. This was the reason, why the excavation
took place in the mining district of Karnab. This is the had to stop at this level and the further extension of the
reason why today the surface of this area is heavily mines into greater depth remains open. Originally rock
disturbed by hundreds of meters of prospection trench- pillars were left in place by the ancient miners, which
es running from north to south. They are cutting ore prevented a breakdown of the mine. Maybe this is the
veins and old mines, which run in a west-east direction. reason, why no traces of wooden timbering could be
The geology of the area is made up by metamorphic found. For the current research, the rock pillars are very
sediments of Cretaceous age with a massive granite important, because they might contain the original ore
intrusion. Cassiterite bearing quartz veins stand almost which could be sampled now for analysis. This is as
vertically in the granite body. They have a thickness more important because normally the ancient miners left
between 0.40 m and 1.20 m. almost no ore in the mine. And this is the reason why
at Karnab almost all of the ore samples, which were
The excavations took place only in three “Groups”. All taken from the mines showed unexpectedly low tin con-
the mines are open cast trench mines, which followed tents which was often less than 1%.
the veins into a depth unknown so far (Fig. 4). The wa-
ter table was reached after 9 m, but one mine in Group In the neighboring mining settlement a piece of ore with
6, situated on a hill, could be excavated to a depth of a tin content of 7.74 % was found, which proved, in
17 m. All the mines are often extremely narrow. They conjunction with other finds, a subsequent ore dressing.
followed the shape of the exploited ore veins. A stray surface find near Group 6 proved to be a piece
of tin ore with a concentration of 22 % tin. Unfortunate-
In Mine 5-1, the gallery seems to have been used as a ly this most interesting piece of ore was lost. The features
shelter in later times (Fig. 5). Fireplaces with animal in the mining settlement, as well as the ore found near
bones and ceramic finds show that it could have been group 6 make clearly, that the tin content of the exploit-
reused since the middle ages to recent times. Every- ed ores must have been substantially higher, than the
where on the roof and walls are traces of firesetting ores found today in the rocks of the ancient mines. This
which may indicate that the old miners to crack the rock is underlined by a quartz maul with a content of 0.78%
made use of fire setting combined with stone hammers. tin found in the mining settlement. It seems that mate-
Fire setting is a method which takes advantage of the rial with such low tin content was not deemed as an ore.
fact that the heated rock cracks from the arising tensions It was worthless and only suited at best as a raw mate-
of the different minerals in the rock. The cracked mate- rial for tool production. Other stone tools with low con-
rial was then crushed away mainly with heavy hammers tents of tin from the mining settlement have been dis-
made of local limestone. An experimental fire setting in covered and were used for making scrapers or blades.
Karnab showed that it was indeed possible to crack the Obviously quartz with less than 1% of tin was not iden-
harder granite and quartz with a limestone hammer. tified as an ore. Therefore the tin-containing quartz veins
Climbing aids like foot holds or steps could still be seen. in the mines, which are still available for analysis, do
Maybe they were used from the ancient miners as a not represent the richness of the tin ores exploited in
help to carry the ore out of the mine to the surface. In ancient times.

Bronze Age tin mines in central Asia

Fig, 4: The opencast tin-mining of Karnab. Based on ceramic finds, the mining area could be attributed to the Andronovo-Tazabag’jab
culture, and according to 14C dates, Karnab was in use between 1600 and 1000 BC.

Fig. 6: A little hole for ore dressing directly beside the mine 5-1.
Fig. 5: Karnab, Mine 5-1, view inside the mine. All the mines are The first steps of ore dressing were carried out in direct vicinity
often extremely narrow and unstable and took on the shape of of the mines, as evidenced by anvil stones, pestles and mortars
the exploited ore veins. Climbing aids like foot holds or steps in Karnab. A similar assemblage of ore dressing tools were found
could still be seen as well as rock pillars, which helped to brace in a nearby mining settlement, where further steps of beneficiation
the mine. could have taken place.

Jennifer Garner

Fig. 7: The tin deposit of Mushiston with traces of old mining activities. The Andronovo-Tazabag’jab culture was capable of both
surface extraction, as well as underground mining, like those in Mushiston.

Besides of the ore dressing tools, horn from gazelles rocks with higher quality was forgotten. The occurrence
and other things like a stone scepter, more than 5000 of gazelle horns as a tool appeared only in group 3 and
stone hammers were found in the mines. 3500 of them 6, while they are absent in Group 5, this could be an-
were recorded in a database. After an analysis and clas- other clue for two exploitation phases. According to the
sification into different categories and types, it was pos- ceramic finds, both phases could be assigned to the
sible to say that the tin exploitation in Karnab was per- Andronovo-Tazabagjab-Culture and/or a sequence of
formed in two phases. In the eastern part of the mining Andronovo and Jaz I would be conceivable. The later
district (Group 6 and 3) different types of stone hammers Achaemenid or Medieval ceramic finds do not belong to
were found than in the western part (Group 5). The raw the exploitation period of the mining, but to a secondary
materials for the hammer production were extracted from use as a shelter. All radiocarbon dates were collected
stone quarries and were not collected as rounded cob- from stratified layers and according to them, the mines
bles from riverbeds. It seems that the harder and there- in Karnab worked between 1600 and 900 BC.
fore of a higher quality rock like fine grained granitic
aplite and quartzite, preferentially appear in Group 6 in
the eastern part of the investigated area, while most of
the inferior limestone tools appear more in Group 5 in Mushiston
the western part of the mining district.
In contrast to the tin mining districts in the steppe area
Generally limestone hammers were obviously used of the Zeravshan valley, Mushiston is situated at 3000
mainly in the west, while the metamorphous and quartz- m above sea level in the western part of the Pamir Alai
ite stone hammers were used rather in the east. Maybe mountains in West Tadzhikistan. Herewith, the deposit
an exploitation of different stone quarries in varied times does not exactly lie in the immediate catchment area of
could be the reason, because otherwise a steady distri- the main ancient traffic routes along the Zeravshan riv-
bution of the different types of rock used for the hammer er. Although the infrastructure may have been more fa-
production or an exclusive use of only one single rock vorable in Karnab, Lapas and Čangali, the ore deposits
type would be expected. It is evident that either the stone of Mushiston were much larger and had probably a
quarries with the better rock quality was exhausted in higher output than the other tin deposits mentioned be-
the course of the time and this could have been the fore. Because of mining activities of the Soviets during
reason why it was necessary to take low quality mate- the 1970s and 1980s the whole mountain of Mushiston
rial, or, that the periods between the exploitation phases is covered with traces of bulldozer trenches, which cut
were longer and the knowledge about the occurrence of almost every ancient mine at the surface (Fig. 7).

Bronze Age tin mines in central Asia

Fig. 8: Plan view of the labyrinth-like underground mine of Mushiston. The labyrinthine mining complex reaches a depth of up to 21
meters below the surface and over 40 meters into the mountain. Although the mine was not fully excavated, it is likely that the min-
ing activities advanced to even greater depths.

Jennifer Garner

The most particular feature in Mushiston is the ore itself, geological conditions or because of mining innovations,
because not only copper ores and tin ores are associ- the complicated pit labyrinth of the second type arose,
ated, but the mine is also the type locality of the mixed which was also worked with fire setting and stone ham-
copper-tin ore mushistonite. It has the chemical formula mers. Shortly after that, a third phase was started, which
(Cu,Zn,Fe)Sn(OH)6. After smelting the ore it directly pro- is marked by the use of metal tools, though no break in
duces a natural bronze. Like the tin mines in Bajmurza the radiocarbon dates can be seen between the last two
or Kalai Topkan in East Kazakhstan the galleries in Mush- phases. The last use of the mine can be dated to the
iston follow the veins into the mountain. late Bronze Age.

Altogether 11 galleries from the surface and 4 deep un- The investigations which were carried out at the two
derground were excavated. The measurement and the mining districts of Karnab and Mushiston demonstrate
excavations proved that two types of galleries can be the importance of the Central Asian tin deposits for the
distinguished in the district. The first type represents bronze production during the Bronze Age. However, fur-
small separate chambers, which were only a few meters ther research work is needed to identify the recipient of
wide, and could also be elongated more like an adit. The these tin resources and to reconstruct the trade net-
second type of mining structure was comprised of an works.
extremely multi-layered, labyrinth-like mined space,
which was comprised of obviously just one coherent
complex and by far exceeds the scale of the first mine
type. These kinds of galleries were found in the modern
adit 3, which were cut by modern mining activities at a Acknowledgements
depth of 35 m underneath the surface (Fig. 8).
We thank Prof. Dr. E. Pernicka and Dr. J. Lutz, Curt
The radiocarbon dates in the different galleries reveal Engelhorn Zentrum für Archäometrie, Mannheim, Ger-
that there were at least two exploitation phases. The first many to make the tin concentrations of the ores avail-
phase dates between 2400 and 1900 BC and only has able.
the first type of galleries. The second phase refers to a
main focus from the middle to the end of the 2nd millen-
nium BC and belongs to the huge deep underground
mining complex of the second type. But not only the
14C-data refer to at least two exploitation phases: In the
mines of the first type, as well as in the mines of the
second type stone hammers were found together with a J., PARZINGER, H., PERNICKA, E., RUZANOV, V., SHIRINOV,
spread of charcoal in the spoil which suggests, that the T. & WEISGERBER, G.:
1998 Prähistorischer Zinnbergbau in Mittelasien. Vorbericht
hammers were used together with fire setting to extract der Kampagne 1997. Eurasia Antiqua 4, 137-199.
the ore. Also bone tools, as well as horns, were probably 1999 Research at Karnab, Uzbekistan. Preliminary Notes
used. Additionally, exploitation marks from metal tools from the 1997 Campaign. Pod red. T. Š. Širinova, Is-
torija materialnoj Uzbekistana 30, 80-87. Samarkand
were observed, which indicate the use of a chisel-like
mining tool. Unfortunately, the tools were not found by CRAWFORD, H.E.W.:
our team. However, a geologist, who worked during the 1974 The problem of tin in Mesopotamian bronzes. World
Archaeology 6, 242-247.
mining activities of the Soviets in Mushiston reported
that they found a metal tool in an old gallery, similar to GARNER, J.:
an axe, with a wooden handle and made a sketch of it. 2013 Das Zinn der Bronzezeit in Mittelasien II. Die Montan-
archäologischen Forschungen der Zinnlagerstätten
(Archäologie in Iran und Turan 12 = Veröffentlichungen
Ceramic finds belong to the Andronovo-Tazabagjab cul- aus dem Deutschen Bergbau-Museum 194).
ture, like in Karnab, and a wheel thrown sherd, which 2013a Zum Forschungsstand der bronzezeitlichen Rohstoff-
gewinnung in Kasachstan. In: T. Stöllner, Z. Samašev
was secondarily used as a lamp, refer to the Late Bronze (Hrsg.): Unbekanntes Kasachstan - Archäologie im
Age. Finds of later periods did not appear and also the Herzen Asiens. Band I. Katalog der Ausstellung des
Deutschen Bergbau-Museums Bochum vom 26. Janu-
radiocarbon dates give no indication of a later period of ar bis zum 30. Juni 2013 (Veröffentlichung aus dem
exploitation. Although the ceramic finds are very poor, Deutschen Bergbau-Museum Bochum Nr. 192), Bo-
they show two periods and at least confirm the two ex- chum, 345-356.
ploitation phases described. HELWING, B.:
2009 Rethinking the Tin Mountains: Patterns of usage and
circulation of Tin in Greater Iran from the 4th to the 1st
To sum up these observations, it can be supposed that Millennium BC. TÜBA-AR 12, 209-221.
the oldest mining phase first began in the upper area of
the mountain slope with small mining chambers of the KANIUTH, K.:
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