Identifying Archaeological Metal – Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) Notes 4/1

First Published Second Impression The collection of old metal may at first sight appear a somewhat unattractive hobby; a moment’s reflection, however, brings to mind the wonderful art treasures of metal in our museums, gathered together from many parts of the world; not necessarily of the precious metals, for many of the most cunningly contrived objects of antiquarian research are of copper in one or more of its numerous forms of alloy. Copper is the basis of so many alloys of which metallic curios are formed, that in its combination with other metals it gives the collector an almost inexhaustible field of research. It was the metal of the ancients, which in combination with tin gave them that useful metal with which to fashion weapons of offence and defence, and later, as the Bronze Age advanced, utilitarian objects of household economy. Collectors find the Age of Metals unfolding as they arrange their collections with orderly sequence, and thereby trace the progress of artificers throughout the periods which have intervened since the first bronze celt was moulded to the present day. In this work the curios and artistic objects of use and ornament which have come down to us, contributed by craftsmen of many ages and of many countries, are passed in review.

How to Identify Old Brass

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These antique silver, copper and brass gears will add just the right touch to your jewelry masterpiece.

The conservation and restoration of copper and copper-alloy objects is the preservation and protection of objects of historical and personal value made from copper or copper alloy. When applied to items of cultural heritage , this activity is generally undertaken by a conservator-restorer. Historically, objects made from copper or copper alloy were created for religious, artistic, technical, military, and domestic uses.

The act of conservation and restoration strives to prevent and slow the deterioration of the object as well as protecting the object for future use. The prevention and removal of surface dirt and corrosion products are the primary concerns of conservator-restorers when dealing with copper or copper-alloy objects. Copper occurs naturally as native copper and was known to some of the oldest civilizations on record.

It has a history of use that is at least 10, years old, and estimates of its discovery place it at BC in the Middle East; [1] a copper pendant was found in northern Iraq that dates to BC. In southeastern Anatolia, all four of these metallurgical techniques appears more or less simultaneously at the beginning of the Neolithic c. Previously the only tool made of copper had been the awl, used for punching holes in leather and gouging out peg-holes for wood joining. However, the introduction of a more robust form of copper led to the widespread use, and large-scale production of heavy metal tools, including axes, adzes , and axe-adzes.

Alloying copper with tin to make bronze was first practiced about years after the discovery of copper smelting, and about years after “natural bronze” had come into general use. Bronze artifacts from Sumerian cities and Egyptian artifacts of copper and bronze alloys date to BC.

Polish up on collecting antique and vintage brass

Silver and gold inlay transforms this brass box into a luxury container. Courtiers, birds, and fretwork form the decoration while inscriptions extend good wishes. On the body it reads: “Brilliance,. This vessel is among the most important objects in the history of Mosul metalwork. It is one of two that bear an inscription specifying it was made in that city.

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Determining the age of antique brass objects is a mixture of art, science and experience. Any antique brass object will have its own set of unique characteristics that will offer clues to its age. In some areas, such as statues, the art of dating old brass objects is well-developed. Singing bowls have not enjoyed this kind of academic attention.

Antique singing bowls are most easily identified by both their unique sounds and a combination of detailed physical characteristics. It is unrealistic to try to come up with an exact date as even century level estimates are subject to uncertainty. The factors that influence these judgments of age are style, construction, markings, patina and wear. Back in the last century when I started with singing bowls they were always referred to as brass.

For the most part the bowls are still called brass while technically they are a bronze — sort of. Bronze is a mixture of copper and tin which is generally what singing bowls are made out of. I suspect calling singing bowls brass comes from the fact that they are percussion and mostly copper.

Victoria and Albert Museum

Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin. In the period of classical antiquity it had a low tin content, generally containing less than 10 percent, because tin was less common and therefore difficult to obtain. Like bronze, brass is an alloy, this time of copper plus zinc. It is often very difficult to distinguish between bronze and brass merely by their appearance. The colour of the different alloys ranges over various shades from gold to a reddish tinge, to silvery, greenish, and yellowish shades, according to the proportions of the basic constituents.

Price, low to high; Price, high to low; Alphabetically, A-Z; Alphabetically, Z-A; Date, old to new; Date, new to old; Best Selling. Brass Hand – Finger Crossed.

BENIN style. The powerful ancient Benin kingdom was founded by the son of an Ife king in the early 14th century AD. It was situated in the forest area of southern Nigeria, miles southeast of Ife. The art of bronze casting was introduced around the year The kingdom reached its maximum size and artistic splendor in the 15th and 16th century. For a long time the Benin bronze sculptures were the only historical evidence dating back several centuries into the West African past, and both the level of technical accomplishment attained in bronze casting, as well as the monumental vigor of the figures represented, were the object of great admiration.

Benin bronzes are better known than the artworks from Ife or Owo due to their presence in Western museums since s. Each clan was subject to the oba king. The Benin oba employed a guild of artisans who all lived in the same district of the city. Bronze figures ordered by the king were kept in the palace. The empire flourished until , when the palace was sacked by the English in reprisal for an ambush that had cost the British vice-consul his life.

Antique Brass Identification

Metalwork is perhaps the most continuous and best-documented artistic medium from Iran in the Islamic period. At times, echoing the forms of more ephemeral or less costly materials such as ceramics, metalwork from Iran and adjacent lands served a wide variety of utilitarian functions. These were nonetheless luxury wares that absorbed the creative energy of some of the best artists and reflected the main artistic trends and the tastes of successive dynasties.

Written sources are an important means of documenting this medium. In addition to literary works, primarily geographical texts in Arabic and Persian, which provide information on centers of production and sources of metal ores Allen, , pp. Iranian metalwork is therefore an important resource for understanding the art Iran in the Islamic period in particular and the history of Islamic art in general.

The enamels of recent date applied to utilitarian objects and cooking vessels are seldom fixed upon a ground-work of copper—iron or steel being the usual base.

As composition of an artifact is always related to its function, this information is fundamental to archaeological research. Identification of the component materials is also the first step in proposing a conservation treatment or reventive conservation measures. Unfortunately it can be very difficult to determine the composition of archaeological artifacts. Not only are most of them fragmentary, but burial alters their composition. The bits that remain are the materials that have best survived in the unique chemistry of a particular site.

Complicating the problem is the fact that most metal objects are composites of more than one type of metal, each type contributing its unique character to the whole. Knowledge of the characteristics of various metals, when they were produced, and how they were used will help in identifying them consult “Bibliography” for good sources of information.

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How can the age of archeological objects be determined if the well-established carbon dating method does not apply, for example for metal.

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Chemical clocks for archaeological artefacts

Their group brought gifts with them from British schoolchildren, including books and supplies. The local schools had been alerted in advance, and a crowd came down to the river banks to meet them; there was even a dance performance. It was a wonderful — if slightly overwhelming — welcome, Mr.

date,Mahogany tripod has excellent optics for viewing far away objects such as​. Nautical Antique Vintage Brass Pirate Spyglass Table Top Telescope.

British Broadcasting Corporation Home. For most of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Swansea was the most important copper smelting area in the world. This smelted copper was exported to all parts of the world. In the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, exports to India via the British East India Company were very important. In India, British copper was used in the manufacture of brass decorative objects. Some of these were made for export back to Britain and are known in the antiques trade as ‘Benares Brass’, named after an important Indian city.

This late nineteenth century or early twentieth century brass bowl is decorated in a traditional Indian style and is thought to have been made in India, from copper smelted in Wales. Comments are closed for this object. Most of the content on A History of the World is created by the contributors, who are the museums and members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC or the British Museum.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. View more objects from people in South West Wales. Model made by a German Prisoner-of-War. Search term:.

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