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Metal production technologies in ancient societies

A multi-year, multidisciplinary research project has shed light on various aspects of the archaeological record in the vicinity of the copper ore deposits of the southern Aravah (Israel).
Metal production technologies in ancient societies
The southern Aravah is one of the best-preserved ancient metal production districts in the world. The project CTV (CTV is short for Central Timna Valley), based its work on excavations, surveys and complementary laboratory analyses. These were designed to address a number of critical issues in the archaeology of the Late Bronze and Iron Ages. Included in this was the history of copper production technology and the introduction of iron as well as historical issues concerning the nature of 13th to 9th c. BCE desert societies related to this production.

Researchers were able to establish connections between the copper production enterprise and the emergence of the local kingdom of Edom, which is known in the Old Testament and in Egyptian and Assyrian sources. Prior to this work, many of these contexts were mistakenly dated back to the Late Bronze Age. In light of this new chronology, researchers were able to study social and technological processes in high time resolution, based on the materials surveyed and excavated in various copper mining and smelting sites within the Timna Valley.

More than 20 high-quality, peer-reviewed scientific articles summarising the results of the different studies were published. Some areas of the studies included human impact on the ancient environment, investigating ancient mining technologies and ceramic typologies, and establishing age constraints on metallurgical remains.

CTV resulted in tight collaborations with seven universities. As a result, new research on various topics has been initiated, aimed at studying the role of metals and metal production technologies in ancient societies. An online digital database facilitates the management of field and laboratory data, making the data and the project results and conclusions available to the scientific community and the general public.

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Metal production, copper ore deposits, southern Aravah, CTV, Timna, archaeology, Edom, Iron Age
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