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Armour, nails, rust, slag and chemistry : a review of ten years of innovative interdisciplinary research on heritagemetals and some perspectives

Philippe Dillmann 1, 2 
1 LAPA - UMR 3685 - Laboratoire Archéomatériaux et Prévision de l'Altération
NIMBE UMR 3685 - Nanosciences et Innovation pour les Matériaux, la Biomédecine et l'Energie (ex SIS2M)
2 IRAMAT - LMC - IRAMAT - Laboratoire Métallurgies et Cultures
IRAMAT - Institut de Recherches sur les Archéomatériaux
Abstract : From the very beginning of its use, iron has been a key material in ancient societies.This material is particularly interesting because it concerns all levels of society. Indeed,it is used to make tools for agriculture, materials for construction, but also weapons such as armor or swords, which require highly skilled craftsmen. For this reason, studying its modes of manufacture, use and trade is of primary importance for different historical and anthropological disciplines (history of technology, economic history, material culture, war history, etc.). It is also crucial to preserve and protect the tangible evidence that are the archaeological objects made of iron and steel. Moreover, studying the degradation processes of these metals over centuries is also very useful for studies aimed at predicting the behaviour of materials intended to be used over the very long term by our contemporary societies. In fact, for decades, studies on ancient metals have been fundamentally interdisciplinary and have brought together historians , archaeologists and anthropologists as well as chemists, metallurgists and geologists. However, in recent years, crucial methodological developments have taken place, having used advanced analytical chemistry techniques that now allow us to renew questions about dating, about the study of the evolution of metallurgical processes, the circulation and trade of these materials, but also to advance our knowledge of degradation processes. The effectiveness of these approaches has been due, on the one hand, to the evolution of analytical techniques but also and above all to the fact that their development has taken place in appropriate environments, making it possible to integrate the questions of each of the disciplines involved. This will be illustrated by giving some key examples. In addition, some elements for discussion on the new perspectives of interdisciplinary research on the subject will be proposed, including the collection of massive data combined with a fine and multi-scale analysis of materials, but also the creation of appropriate databases and the use of articial intelligence.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - 9:05:56 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, May 4, 2022 - 3:48:17 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Wednesday, March 11, 2020 - 9:15:38 PM


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  • HAL Id : cea-02403530, version 1


Philippe Dillmann. Armour, nails, rust, slag and chemistry : a review of ten years of innovative interdisciplinary research on heritagemetals and some perspectives. Rencontre mondiale Patrimoines, Sciences et Technologies, Feb 2019, Paris, France. ⟨cea-02403530⟩



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