The metal forging tools of the Late Bronze Age population of the forest-steppe  Tobol River region

(experimental-traceological analysis)     

Kostomarova Yu.V.  (Tyumen, Russian Federation)


              page 4860


The paper reports on the results of experimental-traceological study of stone tools used for metal forging by the Late Bronze Age population of the Middle Tobol River region (Western Siberia). The chronological span of the study, according to the radiocarbon dating, extends from the 17th to 9th centuries BC. This paper aims to substantiate and expand the existing knowledgebase on the metalwork production with the aid of experiments in forging copper and bronze. The research materials include about 60 stone tools from the Late Bronze Age sites and 23 experimental tools. The trace evidence analysis and microphotography of the signs of use-wear have been performed using a continuous-zoom microscope MC-2 ZOOM with 10 to 40 magnification and a Canon EOS-1100-D camera. The experimental study involved cold and hot forging of copper and bronze items with different tin content and their surface smoothening. As a result, the efficiency of the stone tools in molding has been confirmed. The signs of use-wear of the tools have been recorded. Distinctive use-wear features of hammers for cold and hot forging associated with the tool kinematics have been identified. It has been concluded that the wear signs on the hammers used for incomplete hot and hot forging were identical. It appeared that the smooth working area of some flatters was the result of preliminary abrasive treatment. Smoothening and drawing proved efficient in processing of copper items and low-alloyed bronzes. This treatment was carried out on the hot metal. It has been ascertained that the kinematics of processing of the copper and bronze items was the same. The signs of usage of the tools employed for shaping bronze moldings with different tin content differ from those on the tools used on copper by more extensive chipping, which is due to a higher hardness of tin-copper alloys. Prototype multi-functional tools used in different operations, viz., forging and drawing, have been identified. Their specific is the working area with a combination of several groups of wear marks overlapping each other. Therefore, we managed to produce a series of the experimental tools used in copper and bronze forging. This allowed us to elaborate the functional identification and technology of some archaeological instruments from the Late Bronze Age sites of the forest-steppe Tobol River region.

Key words: forest-steppe Tobol River region, Late Bronze Age, industrial activity, metalworking, stone tools, experimental work, the use-wear analysis.


Funding. The atticle is written within the framework of the State Project No. -17-117050400147-2.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Accepted: 29.05.2020

Article is published: 28.08.2020


Kostomarova Yu.V.

Tyumen Scientific Centre of Siberian Branch RAS, Malygina st., 86, Tyumen, 625026, Russian Federation