Technological reconstruction of the late prehistoric primary copper production of the Vilabouly Complex (central Laos)

Cadet, Melissa, Pryce, T.O., Dillmann, Philippe, Sayavongkhamdy, Thongsa, Souksavatdy, Viengkeo, Luangkhoth, Thonglith, and Chang, Nigel (2022) Technological reconstruction of the late prehistoric primary copper production of the Vilabouly Complex (central Laos). Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 14. 141.

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The late prehistoric copper production site of the Vilabouly Complex in central Laos delivered different types of materials that seem to be related to the copper chaine oppératoire for two main sites, Puen Baolo and Thong Na Nguak: minerals, slags and crucible fragments. A selection of these artefacts were analyzed (OM, SEM–EDS, XRD, bulk analyses) to study the extraction techniques, raw materials used and the different steps of production at Vilabouly. The various analytical datasets enabled us to propose a technological reconstruction, ranging from the extraction of minerals, smelting and casting. The results suggest a production dedicated to unalloyed copper with a crucible-based reaction in a one-step smelting process, a charge mainly composed of malachite and occasionally a mixture of ores (most likely malachite/chalcocite), depending on the mineralization being exploited. Slag analysis and lead isotope data show variation in the raw materials used at Puen Baolo and Thong Na Nguak linked to different mineralization zones which may also suggest different settlements/artisans and/or different exploitation periods.

Item ID: 75611
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1866-9565
Keywords: Copper metallurgy, Laos, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Chaine operatoire, Southeast Asia
Copyright Information: © The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2022.
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2022 07:47
FoR Codes: 43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4301 Archaeology > 430102 Archaeology of Asia, Africa and the Americas @ 100%
SEO Codes: 13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1304 Heritage > 130404 Conserving natural heritage @ 100%
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