Metallurgy of zine, high-tin bronze and gold in Indian antiquity: Methodological aspects

Publication Type:

Journal Articles


Indian Journal of History of Science, Volume 51, Issue 1, p.22-32 (2016)



<p style="text-align: justify;">There are inherent challenges in attempting to explore the trajectory of knowledge production <span data-scayt_word="vis-a-vis" data-scaytid="1">vis-a-vis</span> the use of metals in antiquity. Metallurgical innovations, falling as they would have largely done in the domain of empirical knowledge and expertise, would not necessarily have left a systematic written record in the sense of knowledge production. This enquiry is perhaps even more convoluted in the Indian context where in the first place, there are not many detailed records that have readily come to light concerning mining and metallurgy and in the second place, not much systematic <span data-scayt_word="archaeometallurgical" data-scaytid="2">archaeometallurgical</span> research has been undertaken. Nevertheless, this paper attempts to demonstrate the role of <span data-scayt_word="archaeometallurgical" data-scaytid="3">archaeometallurgical</span> studies, coupled with <span data-scayt_word="ethnoarchaeological" data-scaytid="4">ethnoarchaeological</span> studies on continuing artisanal technologies, in such enquiries.The paper also seeks to explore the interplay between functional and cultural imperatives through which one may explain the preferential emergence of certain technologies with respect to debates on knowledge production. It restricts itself to selected case studies providing insights into the <span data-scayt_word="archaeometallurgy" data-scaytid="5">archaeometallurgy</span> of high-tin bronzes especially from Iron Age Tamil <span data-scayt_word="Nadu" data-scaytid="6">Nadu</span>, zinc smelting evidence at <span data-scayt_word="Zawar" data-scaytid="7">Zawar</span>, <span data-scayt_word="Rajasthan" data-scaytid="8">Rajasthan</span>, gold working with respect the <span data-scayt_word="Nilgiris" data-scaytid="9">Nilgiris</span>, and the high-tin bronze mirror craft of <span data-scayt_word="Aranmula" data-scaytid="10">Aranmula</span>, Kerala.</p>