Ancient Ceramic Casting Molds from the Southern Russian Far East: Identification of Alloy Traces via Application of Nondestructive SEM-EDS and pXRF Methods

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      MDPI AG, 2021.
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    • Abstract:
      The investigation presented in this paper is a unique assemblage of ceramic casting molds discovered at one of the sites from the Bohai period (698–926) in the territory of the southern Russian Far East. The main research aim is to recognize probable traces of metal alloys cast in ceramic molds. Nondestructive pXRF and SEM-EDS methods were used as the research instruments for detecting the expected alloys’ chemical components. As a result, the elements Pb, Sn, Cu, and As were indicated at the surfaces of the molds’ cavities with evidence of carbonization caused by the casting process. Preliminarily, two groups of alloys were distinguished: lead-bearing alloys and lead-free alloys. Our new insights are in good accordance with the results of previous investigations on chemical compositions of bronzes from the Bohai period archaeological sites of the southern Russian Far East. In particular, data on the examination of ceramic molds confirm the conclusion that various kinds of copper alloys were known and used in the bronze casting craft of the Bohai period.
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