A movable XRF instrument (a bench-top designed machine modified to work in the field for archaeological purposes) was used for analysis of artifacts and sediments during the field study (01-07 April 2003) of a small copper-smelting site in the Negev (about 30 km west of the Feinan complex of ancient copper mines and smelting sites in Jordan). The site consists of a relatively small hill with blackened slopes, covered mainly by crushed copper slag. The surface collection of datable objects (i.e. pottery shards and stone tools) indicated that the site had functioned at the end of the Early Bronze Age and during the Roman/Byzantine time. The analysis of Cu concentration in the ash and in the ground as well as the analysis of ore and slag, were used as markers for the identification of the operation centers and for locating the remains of the smelting devices used at the end of the Early Bronze Age for smelting copper. The ore in use typically contained 35-45% Cu, up to 1% Mn and up to several percent Fe. The slag contained 13-20% Mn and 1-5% Cu and Fe. From these results we are able to estimate the Cu production scale during the first and most active period on this site, at the end of the Early Bronze Age.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry