Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


22 April 2020

The context and nature of the evidence for metalworking from mid 4th millennium Yali (Nissyros)

V. Maxwell, R. M. Ellam, N. Skarpelis & A. Sampson Journal of Greek Archaeology 4 (2019): 1-30

In the wider Aegean, it is now recognised that the very end of the Neolithic is a key period in the evolution of communities and in the roots of changes observed in the succeeding Early Bronze Age. One important aspect of this change was involvement in metallurgy. Establishing the nature of early metallurgy could enrich our understanding of the processes of change at work at this time. This article presents the study of two ceramic crucibles, with copper adhering, and one lead rivet from a mid-4th millennium BC context in the Aegean. The aim is to better understand their place in the emergence of metallurgy in the region through a study of context, typology and chemical and lead isotope analysis. The crucibles and lead were found in the 1980s, during rescue excavations prompted by the extensive industrial quarrying of the island of Yali (off Nissyros) in the east Aegean, Figure 1. Evidence for occupation of Yali dates from c.4500-c.3200 generally; the evidence for metalworking dates to c.3500 BC, specifically. They were found in a settlement with an occupation phase of approximately three hundred years.


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