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Department of Archaeology

Friday, 4 November, 2022 - 13:15
Event speaker: 
Jane Humphris, University of Cambridge

Applying a multiscale approach to Meroe’s archaeometallurgical remains.


The Royal City of Meroe in modern-day Sudan is renowned for being one of Africa’s great iron production centres. The scale of Meroe’s archaeometallurgical remains, accumulated over more than a millennium, is spectacular. When archaeometallurgical research began at the site in 2012, an approach was required that could accommodate the enormous quantities of iron production waste, from the macro to the micro level. Techniques to ensure as much information as possible could be gathered from the archaeometallurgical remains have been developed and combined over the years: from topographic to geophysical surveys; and from excavation to processing of archaeometallurgical material. Sampling strategies to accommodate the diverse make-up of the slag mounds, including various types of slag, ore, technical ceramics, charcoal, and non-metallurgical remains, have also evolved. Importantly, sampling and analysing the so-called ‘fine-fraction’ material, i.e., material of a size too small to be routinely selected for archaeometallurgical analysis, but present in a diversity of material types and large enough quantities to be potentially very significant, has proved particularly rewarding. This fine-fraction material may have major consequences for interpretations of iron production processes, which are traditionally based on the analysis of larger ‘representative’ samples. The benefits of the multiscale approach, as well as the drawbacks, will be considered.


Department of Archaeology Zoom04 is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.


Topic: Pitt Rivers Seminar

Time: Oct 14, 2022 13:15 PM London


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Meeting ID: 913 9752 1021

Passcode: 100832

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Event location: 
McDonald Seminar Room
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