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

Abstract : 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.
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https://hal-cea.archives-ouvertes.fr/cea-03719371
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Submitted on : Monday, July 11, 2022 - 10:44:31 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, September 27, 2022 - 4:47:11 AM

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Mélissa Cadet, T. Pryce, Philippe Dillmann, Thongsa Sayavongkhamdy, Viengkeo Souksavatdy, et al.. Technological reconstruction of the late prehistoric primary copper production of the Vilabouly Complex (central Laos). Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, Springer, 2022, 14 (8), pp.141. ⟨10.1007/s12520-022-01608-0⟩. ⟨cea-03719371⟩

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