Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor of Archaeology, Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Literature and Humanities, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

2 Associate Professor of Neurology, Faculty of Restoration - Department of Restoration and Archaeology, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran.


Shahdad is located on the western side of the Lut desert in the central Iranian Plateau. Shahdad has been a major focus of archaeological and archaeometallurgical research in the region due to extensive metallurgical activities documented at the site during the Bronze Age and for having the most abundant remains of copper metallurgy in southeastern Iran. The metallurgical developments at Shahdad have been well documented due to the previous studies by researchers working on the vast peripherial area of Shahdad dating to the period when the settlement was a permanently occupied city during the 3rd millennium BCE. Our latest surveys at the site have identified copper extraction metallurgy across a very large area based on significant amounts of ancient metallurgical remains on the surface including copper ores, moulds, crucibles, furnaces and complete metal tools. Pottery and slag have been observed macroscopically and microscopically in order to find particular traces of the metallurgical processes used during the EBA of Shahdad. Preliminary observations supply a new synopsis by re-tracing the ancient metallurgy at Shahdad. This research has revealed that the metal-workers of Shahdad mainly used copper sulphide (covellite) as their primary Cu-bearing ores. Three different slag types were identified according to their color, external texture and fabrication. Pottery samples were associated with copper metallurgy based on their phase characterizations, which were interpreted as the artefact of a distinct step in the metallurgical production process. This pottery is very porous and rough-textured due to the particular additives, leading to the formation of copper carbonate and copper oxide enrichments in the voids of the ceramic fabric.


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