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„Art and Technology of bronze“

Monday, 2 June, 2014
Cristiana Zanasi
Monia Barbieri, Claudio Cavazzuti, Luca Pellegrini, Federico Scacchetti
Number of Participants / Visitors / Audience: 
280 visitors

Monday 2nd June 2014 (Republic Day in Italy) the Terramara Park of Montale organised a special demonstration for public: „Art and Technology of bronze“, a presentation to the visitors about new experiments of archaeometallurgy starting from the terramare‘s archaological findings (bronze age). For the first time the experts involved in the activity of bronze smelting (Cavazzuti, Pellegrini, Scacchetti of the museum’s staff) focused on the realization of a long bronze sword and a stud.
The model for the sword comes from the site of Castiglione di Marano (Modena), a type spread in Northern Italy during the Middle Bronze Age 2 (1550-1450 BC). The archaeological problem standing behind the production of these long and heavy swords, is that there is no evidence of stone moulds for this kind of artefacts.
So, how were they made? Due to the size of the sword, a sand mould and a big crucible were reproduced and then used. In the last two years the team has carried out some experiments with the sand casting technique applied to bronze age swords, beginning with smaller rapiers and then dealing with the longer swords.
During the day of demonstration, the visitors have watched the whole process: from the preparation of the sand mould to the pouring of the metal. Seven trials were made and then finally a good result has been obtained, demonstrating that this kind of technology is a good response to the lack of stone mould evidence.
The model for the stud’s stone mould comes from the site of Sant'Ambrogio (Modena), and dates back to the Middle Bronze 3 (1450-1350 BC) and the Recent Bronze Age (1350-1170 BC).
The original moulds is made out of biocalcarenite of Pantano Formation, a local lithology, whose source has been traced out approximately 20 km from the site.
The whole chaine operatoire has been led in front of the public, starting from a block of biocalcarenite, and took some hours of work. After the sketching out of the rock and the polishing of the surface, the circular form of the stud was produced using a kind of compass, made with two bronze points fixed on a small piece of wood. The inner form was then carved with a small chisel and a stone hammer. The visitors have experienced the use of the implements, working on another similar block of stone.


staff of the Parco Montale presenting the...
wood mould for the sword
big crucible
the long sword
stud's stone mould
stud's stone mould