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From Ore to Metal:Exploitation of the Novotemirsky Mine, Southern Trans-Urals, in the Second Millennium BC

https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2021.49.1.030-038

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Abstract

The Novotemirsky mine was the first in the Southeastern Urals to have large areas of the site uncovered. This has yielded new information on the technologies practiced by the first metallurgists in the region and on the evolution of these practices in the second millennium BC. Cultural layers revealed evidence of all stages of Bronze Age metal production. Mining is documented by pits of various forms and adjoining waste dumps. This is the first time that shaft mining has been discovered in the Bronze Age of the Southern Trans-Urals. Metal smelting is evidenced by a copper- smelting furnace with slag. Metal tools were cast in bivalve molds, of which one, made of chloritolite, was used for casting pickaxes. Results of radiocarbon AMS dating indicate three stages of mine exploitation in the Bronze Age, correlating with the chronological sequence of regional cultures. The furnace was built during the Sintashta period (2100–1900 BC). The shaft mine and the adjacent dumps date to the Alakul period (1700–1500 BC). Features dating to the Final Bronze Age (1500–1200 BC) have yet to be identified. It has been demonstrated that the same mines were exploited by people associated with various archaeological cultures in the second millennium BC, implying that a metallurgical center functioned in the Trans-Urals over the entire Late Bronze Age. Given that indicators of metallurgy are quite rare at unfortified sites, and that the technology changed, it can be assumed that smelting and casting became more specialized during the Alakul period: certain operations were performed at mines and/or nearby settlements.

About the Authors

P. S. Ankusheva
South Ural State Humanitarian Pedagogical University; Institute of Mineralogy, South Urals Federal Research Center of Mineralogy and Geoecology, Ural Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation

Junior Researcher

Pr. Lenina 69, Chelyabinsk, 454080, Russia; 
Ilmeny State Reserve, Miass, 456317, Russia



I. P. Alaeva
South Ural State Humanitarian Pedagogical University
Russian Federation

Senior Researcher

Pr. Lenina 69, Chelyabinsk, 454080, Russia



M. N. Ankushev
Institute of Mineralogy, South Urals Federal Research Center of Mineralogy and Geoecology, Ural Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation

Junior Researcher

Ilmeny State Reserve, Miass, 456317, Russia



A. V. Fomichev
Orsk Humanitarian Technological Institute (Branch), Orenburg State University
Russian Federation

Associate Professor

Pr. Mira 15a, Orsk, 462403



E. P. Zazovskaya
Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation

Leading Researcher

Staromonetnyi per. 29, Moscow, 119017, Russia



I. A. Blinov
Institute of Mineralogy, South Urals Federal Research Center of Mineralogy and Geoecology, Ural Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation

Researcher

Ilmeny State Reserve, Miass, 456317, Russia



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For citation:


Ankusheva P.S., Alaeva I.P., Ankushev M.N., Fomichev A.V., Zazovskaya E.P., Blinov I.A. From Ore to Metal:Exploitation of the Novotemirsky Mine, Southern Trans-Urals, in the Second Millennium BC. Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia. 2021;49(1):30-38. https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2021.49.1.030-038

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ISSN 1563-0110 (Print)