Silver, Copper, and Bronze in Early Dynastic Ur, Mesopotamia. A High-Resolution Analysis Approach


Eveline Salzmann


Archaeometallurgy, Mass spectrometry, Near East, provenance discussion, Trade relations


The excavations of the Royal Tombs of Ur by Leonard Woolley in the 1920s to 30s provided a great wealth of precious metal artefacts, which must have travelled a long way due to their location in the metal-poor alluvial plains of the Euphrates. Where did you come from? Ur had a strategically important position on the shores of the Persian Gulf in the Early Bronze Age connecting to a long-distance trade network.
The University of Pennsylvania's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology provided a collection of silver, copper, and bronze samples for provenance studies. They were analysed using state-of-the-art scientific methods.
The results gave interesting information about the silver and copper sources. In addition, detailed methodological evaluation of the in situ analysis could be achieved, as well as a large-scale compilation of the old mining regions in the Near and Middle East, which was compiled by means of GIS applications.



July 12, 2019


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