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Transformation du cuivre au Moyen-Orient du Néolithique à la fin du 3ème millénaire

Etude d’une chaîne technologique

Nicolas Gailhard


This work details the origins of copper working in the Near East from the Neolithic to the end of the 3rd millennium. Both dates are significant because one marks the apparition of the first villages and the exploitation of copper and the other marks thepathway towards historic times and the beginning of ironworking. Between the two ran the great adventure of copper and bronze. Its mastery never ceased developing – from the outset of this new technological chain, it directly resulted not only in a better knowledge of the natural environment and the development of more important socio-economic ties, but also the effects and the indirect repercussions of these discoveries that required the setting up of new methods and organizations, including workshops, the outcome of which is the apparition of a complex industry at the end of the 3rd millennium. This study is based on a multi-discAlinary approach, associating a set of experimentations on technological problems around the smelting of bronze and a surveyof the ethno-archaeological considerations: the near-east is very much a focal point of the project. The survey and analysis of the archaeological data relates to the technical aspects of the metallurgies involved. The three main areas of the study lookat development, the concept of ‘the workshop’, and early hints of trade and even perhaps ‘industrialization’.