Western Anatolian metalwork and (the self-image) of metal workers in the later ist millennium BC: a historical-archaeometrical approach

Date
2023-06
Advisor
Zimmermann, Thomas
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Bilkent University
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English
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Thesis
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Abstract

This thesis displays the level of metalworking technologies utilized by ancient smiths in western Anatolia during the 1st millennium BC. Metalwork in western Anatolia during the 1st millennium BC is an unexplored field of study. Due to certain historical biases and the relatively new emergence of the archaeometrical techniques, there stands a gap between the history of Late Bronze Age and Hellenistic-Roman metalwork in western Anatolia. In contrast to the previous assumption that most of the metallurgical procedures arrived in Ancient Greece through Cyprus and the Levant, the archaeological evidence from western Anatolia demonstrates that those techniques were already present in the Aegean. Several ancient sites with both Bronze Age and Iron Age layers in western Anatolia, including Gordion, Klazomenai and Sardeis, offer a rich source of material for establishing links between metalworking techniques between the two periods due to the uninterrupted connection their materials present. By exploring the folk tales from Lydia, Mysia, and Phrygia, regions often associated with the origins of certain metalworking technologies and even elements, this thesis aims to uncover the inhabitants' perception of mineralogy. Consequently, the traces of the deliberations of western Anatolian philosophers and mythology are visible in Ancient Greek scientific legacy as seen through Aristoteles. This research highlights the significant influence of western Anatolian metalwork on the scientific legacy of Ancient Greece, both in theory and practice. Additionally, it suggests that western Anatolian metalworkers possessed a theoretical understanding of their work, potentially portraying themselves as keepers of knowledge through their craft.

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Metalwork, Western Anatolia, 1st millennium BC, Mythology
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Published Version (Please cite this version)