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Early metal smelting in Aksum, Ethiopia; copper or iron?

Thorsten Severin, Thilo Rehren and Helmut Schleicher
Early metal smelting in Aksum, Ethiopia; copper or iron? (in Mineralogical sciences and archaeology, Isabella Turbanti Memmi (prefacer), Corina Ionescu (prefacer) and Ulrich Schuessler (prefacer))
European Journal of Mineralogy (December 2011) 23 (6): 981-992


A selection of archaeometallurgical remains from the 3rd/4th century A.D., found in Aksum, Ethiopia, were analyzed in order to determine the nature of the process by which they were produced, i.e., copper or iron smelting. Chemical and mineralogical analyzes excluded a relationship to copper smelting; instead, all samples are consistent with a highly efficient iron smelting operation using the bloomery process and slag tapping furnaces. A lateritic iron ore containing at least 80 wt% FeO was smelted, resulting in an estimated one unit by weight of iron metal produced for every unit by weight of slag left behind, and little erosion of furnace wall material. The zoning of spinels, with chromium- and aluminium-rich inner parts and mixed hercynitic-ulvitic outer rims, reflects the evolution of the melt phase under strongly reducing conditions.

ISSN: 0935-1221
EISSN: 1617-4011
Serial Title: European Journal of Mineralogy
Serial Volume: 23
Serial Issue: 6
Title: Early metal smelting in Aksum, Ethiopia; copper or iron?
Title: Mineralogical sciences and archaeology
Author(s): Severin, ThorstenRehren, ThiloSchleicher, Helmut
Author(s): Memmi, Isabella Turbantiprefacer
Author(s): Ionescu, Corinaprefacer
Author(s): Schuessler, Ulrichprefacer
Affiliation: Universitaet Hamburg, Mineralogisch-Petrographisches Institut, Hamburg, Germany
Affiliation: Universita degli Studi di Siena, Siena, Italy
Pages: 981-992
Published: 201112
Text Language: English
Publisher: Schweizerbart'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung (Naegele u. Obermiller), Stuttgart, Germany
References: 39
Accession Number: 2012-012654
Categories: Quaternary geologyEconomic geology, geology of ore deposits
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 2 tables, geol. sketch map
N14°07'00" - N14°07'00", E38°43'60" - E38°43'60"
Secondary Affiliation: Babes-Bolyai University, ROM, RomaniaJulius-Maximilians-Universitaet Wuerzburg, DEU, GermanyUniversity College London Qatar, QAT, Qatar
Country of Publication: Germany
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Abstract, copyright, Schweizerbart'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States
Update Code: 201207
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