Textures Applied to Mechanical Processing Technology Assessment in Ancient Bronze
Some ancient metallic art craft, utensils, silverware and weapons are externally undistinguishable from modern ones. Not only the general aspect and shape but also some uses have not changed through the ages. Moreover, when just some small pieces can be recovered from archaeological sites, the samples can not easily be ascribed to any known use and consequently identified. It is clear that mechanical processing has changed along history but frequently only a "microscopic" inspection can distinguish among different techniques. Some bronze samples have been collected from the Quarto d’Altino (Veneto) archaeological area in Italy (paleovenetian culture) and some model samples have been prepared by a modern artisan. The sample textures have been measured by X-ray Diffraction techniques. (111), (200) and (220) pole figures were used to calculate Orientation Distribution Functions and further recalculate pole figures and inverse pole figures. The results were compared with modern forging technology results. Textures are able to discern between hammering ancient techniques for sheet production and modern industrial rolling procedures. However, as it is demonstrated in the present work, forgery becomes difficult to detect if the goldsmith, properly warned, proceeds to erase the texture history with some hammering post-processing. The results of this contribution can offer to the archaeologists the opportunity to take into consideration the texture techniques in order to discuss the origin (culture) of the pieces and the characteristic mechanical process developed by the ancient artisan. Texture can also help the experts when discussing the originality of a certain piece keeping however in mind the cautions indicated in this publication.
Paul Van Houtte and Leo Kestens
R.E. Bolmaro et al., "Textures Applied to Mechanical Processing Technology Assessment in Ancient Bronze ", Materials Science Forum, Vols. 495-497, pp. 719-724, 2005