The examination of metal working technology in Kültepe in Assyrian Trade Colonies Period

Ercanlı, Levent
Metal played important role in the social and economic development of societies since its discovery. It is so important that the some part of humankind historical development were designated by the type of metal which was extensively used depending upon the level of technology of that period enabling the processing of metal like bronze age and iron age. In this frame, the rich metal deposits of Anatolia made this region a very important metal working and civilization center. Kültepe where it was the center of the trade organization in Anatolia realized between Assur and Anatolia during 1945-1730 B.C called Assyrian Trade Colonies Period was one of the most important metal working center of Anatolia at that period. In this thesis, it is aimed to make a contribution to understand the metal working technology in Kültepe by examining the uncovered metal artifacts dated to that period. For this purpose, the metal artifacts uncovered from Kültepe Ancient Site belonging to Colonies Period which are exhibited in the Anatolian Civilization Museum were examined by portable XRF (PXRF) to obtain the quantity of elements that constituted the artifacts without giving any harm to the artifact. Besides the examination of exhibited artifacts in the Anatolian Civilization Museum, the uncovered metal artifact parts belonging to Colonies Period which are not suitable for exhibition and separated for studying were examined by energy dispersive X-ray unit of scanning electron microscope for elemental analysis and by X-ray diffraction for the analysis of minerals. The microstructures of artifacts were examined by scanning electron microscope and optical microscope for revealing the operations on metal applied by ancient metalsmith. In addition to analysis mentioned above, in order to make a contribution to understand the copper trade between Kültepe and its environs lead isotope analysis of some samples from the separated metal artifacts for studying was also performed. As a result of all those analyses, it was concluded that Kültepe ancient metalsmiths in Colonies Period had the knowledge to smelt the copper and to pour molten metal into a mold to produce an object of desired shape. Moreover, they also discovered that the addition of some elements to copper hardens the structure. In this frame the bronze to be obtained by deliberately adding of tin to copper was attained. In addition, they were aware of shaping the casted object by hammering. In the meantime, they had the knowledge of heat treatment that allows them forging the object many times till giving the desired shape without causing the fracture in the structure.