TWF-Project:  Experimental Archaeometallurgy– Reconstruction of Bronze Age metal production

Funded by: Tiroler Wissenschaftsfonds TWF     TWF

Duration: 01.04.2015 - 01.04.2016

Management: Gert Goldenberg, Department of Archaeologies, Universiy of Innsbruck (Research center HiMAT)


In the frame of the FZ HiMAT (History of Mining Activities in the Tyrol and adjacent areas – impact on environment and human societies) at the University of Innsbruck technological aspects dealing with Bronze Age metal production are investigated. An important contribution can be expected from the experimental reconstruction of metallurgical processes. Only by successfully performed experiments the hypothesis and models of technology which are based on archaeological records and archaeometallurgical analysis of metallurgical remains can be verified and confirmed. Starting point of the project are well documented archaeological features from Bronze Age mining districts in Tyrol in comparison with ethnoarchaeological field records from Nepal where a traditional technology for the smelting of sulfidic copper ores with a “prehistoric character” has survived till modern times. The research project comprises the continuation of field experiments as well as accompanying and subsequent material analysis of ores, slags, intermediate products and metal (copper/iron). The aim is to better understand the technology of copper production in the Bronze Age.


Experiment zur Kupfergewinnung aus Kupferkies nach traditionellen Verfahren aus Nepal
Experiment to extract copper from copper pyrites by traditional methods from Nepal


Anfinset, N. (2011): Social and technological aspects of mining, smelting and casting copper. An ethnoarchaeological study from Nepal. Bochum 2011.

Goldenberg, G. (2004): Ein Verhüttungsplatz der mittleren Bronzezeit bei Jochberg (Nordtirol). In: Weisgerber, G. & Goldenberg, G. (eds.), Alpenkupfer – Rame delle Alpi. Der Anschnitt, Beiheft 17, Bochum 2004, 165-176.

Hanning, E. (2012): Reconstructing Bronze Age Copper Smelting in the Alps: an ongoing process. Experimentelle Archäologie in Europa - Bilanz 2012, 75-86.

Percy, J. (1861): Metallurgy. The Art of Extracting Metals from their Ores and Adapting them to Various Purposes of Manufacture. London 1861.


Picture gallery


Video "Experimental copper ore smelting Jochberg 2015":


Nach oben scrollen