Archaeometallurgical investigation of thirteenth-twelfth centuries BCE bronze objects from Tel Beth-Shemesh, Israel Academic Article uri icon


  • Recent studies in the southern Levant have clarified that bronze – the commonly used metal during the Middle and Late Bronze Ages – continued to be produced throughout the entire Iron Age I. In order to gain more information concerning the metallurgical industry in southern Canaan during the Late Bronze–Iron Age transition, we performed an archaeometallurgical study of three well-preserved bronze objects – a 13th century BCE axe and 12th century BCE hoe and handle – discovered in the renewed excavations at Tel Beth-Shemesh, Israel. Analyzing the composition, microstructure and microhardness of the objects, the study aims at reconstructing their manufacturing processes. The chemical analysis revealed that the three objects were made of bronze, with up to 6.2 wt% Sn and up to 4.0 wt% Pb. Giving their properties and shape, the objects were first cast, most likely in an open mould and then brought to the desired final size and shape probably through cold-forging and annealing cycles. The results of the present research contribute to the accumulating knowledge concerning the Canaanite metallurgical industry during the Late Bronze II–Iron Age I transition.

publication date

  • January 1, 2016