NIAS Heritage, Science and Society Programme-Debating Heritage (Friday lecture)-Ms. Diya Mukherjee will speak on "A Sneak Peek into a Lost Heritage: Ancient Copper Smelting"

National Institute of Advanced Studies

Indian Institute of Science Campus

Bengaluru 560 012


Debating Heritage (Friday lecture)


NIAS Heritage, Science and Society Programme


Invites you to a lecture (via Google meet) 



Topic: A Sneak Peek into a Lost Heritage: Ancient Copper Smelting




Diya Mukherjee

PhD- Scholar

Department of Archaeology

Deccan College Post Graduate Research Institute




Date: 06/11/2020

Time: 4.30. P.M



Pyrotechnology has always been an integral part of Harappan culture and the metallurgical activities of that particular culture have been identified to be a consequential factor for branding it as first urbanization. The remains of metallurgical activities are found in form of fragments of ores, kilns or fragments of kilns attributed to metal processing, metallurgical slag from the reduction of ore to metal, tools used for metal processing such as crucible fragments with metal prills, moulds, anvils, stakes, hammers and chisels and so on and metal objects including smelting and melting ingots, semi-finished and finished objects. Based on these shreds of evidence attempts have been made to understand the ancient technology. Experimentation can make it possible to recover the means of appropriation of thermic transition phenomena in antiquity. A comparison of the attitudes of the current, scientific and protohistoric craftsman in the field of metallurgy shows all the misunderstanding that can emerge from these two approached which are such different ways to practice the same technique. These terminologies often restrict our perspective of understanding the past technologies but in this paper, the focus is rather on attempting to understand the process of past technology through trial and error method. The methodology adopted for this paper is to review literature (review of previous experiments by eminent scholars) and also an ethnographic survey conducted for my doctoral degree to conduct experiments. The process and results will be discussed in detail during the presentation. The author strongly believes the use of modern equipment’s like machine bellows, modern furnace, and other modern instruments like a thermometer, etc. is futile to understand ancient technology. Henceforth, the author has strictly restricted the use of any kind of modern instruments and instead relied on ancient equipment like leather bellow, clay furnace, use of stone hammers, etc. As has been mentioned before this paper is not reconstruction or recreation of Harappan copper technology; it is simply an attempt to understand the complex technological process of the Harappan culture. 



Join an event:

Coordinator: Dr S. Udayakumar
Heritage Science and Society Programme
School of Humanities
National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bengaluru

Funded by Sundram Finance 


Friday, November 6, 2020