A joint scientific metal analysis project

Anatolia as the proverbial “cradle of civilizations” is also a major melting pot for innovations concerning early mining and casting technologies. A joint analysis project, conceived in 2005 and realized the following year in collaboration with the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority – Sarayköy Nuclear Research and Training Centre (SANAEM), Bilkent University Department of Archaeology, Ankara University Department of Protohistory and Near Eastern Archaeology, and the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations Ankara. Coordinated by Dr. Thomas Zimmermann, it targets questions related the metal production and consumption in the highly innovative, yet still insufficiently explored “Hatti heartland” (modern Central Türkiye) in the Early Bronze Age (3rd millenium BCE) previous to Hittite altering of its cultural landscape in the 2nd millennium BCE.

Applied are XRF (X-Ray fluorescence, both destructive and non-destructive) and FTIR (Fourier Transform Infrared) analyses on metals and other mineral grave goods from various necropoleis, settlements and museum collections. The results obtained so far yielded surprising insights into applied alloying techniques of small rural communities in the vicinity of early urban centres like Alaca Höyük. Recent research is partly extended to 2nd millennium Hittite metal artefacts, where we have rich textual evidence on metals and casting traditions, counteracting the still meagre body of scientific analyses carried out on the objects themselves.