Detecting changes in copper technology by analyzing slag from Nahal Amram Israel

Sana Shilstein, Tal Kan-Cipor - Meron, Uzi Avner, Sariel Shalev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As part of the archaeological study of Nahal Amram in the ‘Araba valley, copper slag samples from a mining camp dating from the 5th millennium BCE until the 1st millennium AD were chemically analyzed by X-ray fluorescence (XRF) in an attempt to determine the technological level of production in each of the site’s occupation. The method provides a tool to distinguish between slag of various technological phases and periods. Thus, the slags from different sites in Nahal Amram related roughly to four stages of metallurgy development. These metallurgical results indicate the reuse of slag from earlier periods in later periods in order to produce more copper from the slag as a result of more complex production methods that were available in the later periods. Thus, in Nahal Amram, we can observe a real technological development of metallurgical production from earlier to later periods based almost exclusively upon the results of slag analyses. The results were compared with other smelting sites in the region.

Original languageEnglish
Article number96
JournalArchaeological and Anthropological Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • Ancient copper smelting
  • Israel
  • Slag content
  • Technology improvment
  • XRF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology


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