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Researchers Unravel Secrets of a 6,000-Year-Old Amulet

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 15:07
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Researchers Unravel Secrets of a 6,000-Year-Old Amulet

A scientific analysis of mysterious amulets dated back to 3,000 BC has brought new information to light about ancient metallurgy techniques. One copper amulet is the earliest lost-wax cast object known in history.

According to, a team of researchers has a new explanation about technologies used for copper amulet production in the third millennium BC. By using a novel UV-visible photoluminescence spectral imaging approach, they could detail the parameters of the production process – such as the purity of the copper and melting and solidification temperatures.

The collection of small amulets was discovered in 1985 at the archaeological site of Mehrgarh in today’s Balochistan in western Pakistan. The researchers believe that the amulets may have been created for religious purposes. However, the copper artifact focused on in their study had not been fully examined in three decades. As physicist Mathieu Thoury of the synchrotron SOLEIL lab in France told International Business Times:

Scientists had reached the limits of what they could learn from the amulet with traditional imaging techniques, and could not solve the paradoxes regarding how it had been manufactured. We have designed a full-field photoluminescence approach to look at the object’s structure and composition in greater details. This has allowed us to infer what the amulet was made of when it was first created six millennia ago, based on what it is made of now.” – Reconstructing the story of humanity’s past


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