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by Archaeology Newsroom

A EH I Metallurgy Workshop of Silver in Lambrika, Attica (Koropi)

The remnants of a small workshop and hundreds of litharge fragments have been recovered during a rescue excavation in Lambrika, Attica (Koropi). The litharge finds have the shape 0f a small shallow bowl and most of them bear at their bottom ten small hemispherical depressions arranged in three series. These litharge items derive from a metallurgy workshop of silver/lead of the Early Helladic I period (3200- 2800 B.C.), the earlier one located in the Aegean region. Three circular pits dug in the ground have been found (1.5-1 m. diameter and 0.50 m. depth), and among them five small cavities (0.19 m. diameter and 0.10 m. depth) coated with a whitish clay have been scooped. The correspondence of dimensions of the litharge finds to the cavities leads to the conclusion that the latter were purposed for the manufacturing of the former. So far, only a few litharge samples of similar form, proving the application of the cupellation method, that can be dated from the EH I period or the preceding one, are known: One from the Earlyheladic settlement at Koropi, another one from the Final Neolithic building at Merenta. A similar litharge comes from the site Habuba Kabira in Syria and belongs to the second half of the fourth millennium B.C. The systematic typological and analytical study of these litharge fragments will elucidate a series of important issues relevant to the early metallurgy of silver in the Aegean.