Conference Papers

“A new approach to the identification of inter-regional connections in the Eastern Mediterranean
during the third millennium BC,” Historical Metallurgy Society 50th Anniversary Conference, Quaker Friends House, London, UK, 14-16 June 2013.

Abstract: This paper presents a method for studying inter-regional contacts in the Eastern Mediterranean during the Bronze Age. The method identifies evidence of shared metallurgical techniques, in this case those used for the production of metal vessels. Whereas typological similarities between the material cultures of different regions can result from the importation and subsequent imitation of styles, there are some aspects of vessel manufacture which are more likely to reflect temporary or permanent movements of peoples. This is because the complex nature of some techniques would require extended, face-to-face contact between peoples such as would result from the temporary or permanent migration of artisans. Many influences of Egyptian artistic traditions on those of Minoan Crete, for example, result from the import of Egyptian goods, whereas the Minoan influence on Mycenaean traditions is generally regarded to be a result of not only the import of Minoan goods but also of the movement of Minoan artisans to mainland Greece. This paper will describe several metalsmithing techniques which might require extended face-to-face contact to be transmitted between regions and, furthermore, will outline shared technical features of the vessels of different peoples of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Near East which would reflect these types of contact.

“Minoan metal vessel manufacture: Reconstructing techniques and technology with experimental archaeology,” 39th International Symposium on Archaeometry, Katholieke Universiteit (KU) Leuven, Belgium, 29 May 2012.

Abstract: Metal vessel production flourished in Crete during the Protopalatial, Neopalatial and early Postpalatial periods. Almost all of these vessels were hammered, largely from tin bronzes, and include various pans, cauldrons, hydrias, pitchers, lekanes, lamps and cups. Vessels in precious metals are also extant from Crete, but not in large numbers. The equipment and processes used to manufacture these vessels have not previously been investigated in detail. The aim of this study was to reconstruct the process used to create these vessels. An interdisciplinary approach was taken, combining archaeological research with practical metalsmithing. Initially, a comprehensive study of Minoan metallurgical technology was carried out and some of the vessels examined for evidence of their manufacture. Subsequently, Minoan metallurgical equipment such as hammers, an anvil and a hearth were replicated and used to create Minoan vessel forms including bowls, a hydria and a lekane. The results indicate that the simple tools found at many Minoan metallurgical sites are very effective for vessel making and that unhafted stone hammers, a common Minoan tool, are particularly suitable for making Minoan vessel forms. The process of creating these forms revealed that, unlike those of contemporary cultures in the region, Minoan vessels were formed predominantly by sinking, where the vessel is formed by hammering from the inside, and that only a limited amount of raising, working the vessel from the outside, was carried out. This appears to be a result of technological limitations.

"Minoan metal vessel manufacturing: Techniques and technology," Historical Metallurgy Society Research in Progress Meeting, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom, 9 November 2011.

Abstract: Hammered metal vessels in precious metals and tin bronzes were produced on Crete by Minoan smiths largely during the Neopalatial period and the first half of the Postpalatial period, between approximately 1700 and 1340 BC. Some of the more common forms in bronze include hydrias, pans, three-legged cauldrons, basins, lekanai, scoops and lamps. My PhD research in the Gold and Silversmithing Workshop at the Australian National University School of Art has involved reconstructing the technology and techniques used to manufacture these vessels by combining traditional archaeological research with practical metalsmithing carried out in the workshop. Using reconstructed Minoan tools, I have managed to recreate the vessel-making techniques. This research shows that the simple stone-tool types found at several Minoan metallurgical sites are very effective for creating the Minoan vessel forms. In this presentation I will discuss the process used to produce the vessels and demonstrate how these tools work.

“The craft of metal vessel manufacture during the Greek Bronze Age,” ANU School of Art Graduate Conference, Australian National University, 23 September 2011.

“Identification of a raised vessel manufacturing workshop in Minoan Crete,” ArchaeoMetallurgy Conference (Research in Progress Meeting for the Historical Metallurgy Society), University of Bradford, United Kingdom, November 2009.

Abstract: The identification of the site of a metallurgical workshop in Late Bronze Age (Minoan) layers in Crete is inevitably tied to the process of casting. The remains of casting are relatively easy to identify – metal spill, evidence of a high-temperature hearth, the remains of moulds, crucibles and tuyères – and allow for certainty in the identification of a workshop. Such remains have helped in the identification of workshops at Kommos, Knossos, Mochlos, Gournia and others. However, the range of metallurgical techniques used in Late Minoan Crete is much broader than casting, including forging, raising, repoussé, soldering, granulation, engraving and sheet punching. There should be remains which indicate these other processes, although they may be subtle and easily overlooked. With a focus on the manufacture of raised vessels, this paper aims to identify what equipment may have been used for the process, how a site at which raising occurred may be identified and which known Late Minoan metallurgical sites show evidence of raising having occurred.

© Christina Clarke 2018