Mining for Ancient Copper
Essays in Memory of Beno Rothenberg
The story of copper and the role it has played since the dawn of metallurgy more than 7,000 years ago is a remarkable, at times breathtaking, often inspiring tale of evolution and innovation; it imparts some of the greatest technological achievements of man and his persistent striving towards efficacy in the transformation of stone into metal.
The 37 chapters of this volume, dedicated to the memory of Beno Rothenberg, present a variety of new studies related to copper in antiquity, with case studies spanning from the British Isles to Oman, Cyprus, and Greece. Special emphasis is given to Timna and other copper ore districts of the Arabah Valley, which have been subjected to a surgeof research in recent years. This new research is a direct continuation of Rothenberg’s pioneering work at Timna, and similarly takes advantage of the extraordinary preservation of archaeological sites there to shed new light on copper production technologies and the societies behind them.
Rothenberg’s collaborative work at Timna during the second half of the 20th century was an important milestone in the foundation of the research discipline of archaeometallurgy, the study of metal and metal production in antiquity. The present volume, the work of 66 scholars, reflects the current prosperity of this discipline in its broadest sense, with contributions that reach beyond technological reconstructions and analytical reports, including studies on metalworkers’ diet and habitation and the metal trade. In this, the book aptly emphasizes Rothenberg’s impact, as his research on ancient copper was always part of a comprehensive search for a better understanding of past societies and historical processes.
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