Micro-chemical and micro-structural investigation of archaeological bronze weapons from the Ayanis fortress (lake Van, Eastern Anatolia, Turkey)

Faraldı F., Cılıngıroglu A., Angelını E., Rıccuccı C., De Caro T., Batmaz A. , ...More

APPLIED PHYSICS A-MATERIALS SCIENCE & PROCESSING, vol.113, pp.911-921, 2013 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 113
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00339-013-7772-6
  • Page Numbers: pp.911-921


Bronze weapons (VII cen BC) found during the archaeological excavation of the Ayanis fortress (lake Van, eastern Anatolia, Turkey) are investigated in order to determine their chemical composition and metallurgical features as well as to identify the micro-chemical and micro-structural nature of the corrosion products grown during long-term burial. Small fragments were sampled from the artefacts and analysed by means of the combined use of optical microscopy (OM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive spectrometry (EDS). The results show that the bronze artefacts have been manufactured by using alloys with a controlled and refined chemical composition demonstrating the high level metallurgical competence and skill of the Urartian craftsmen and artists. Furthermore, the micro-structural and metallurgical investigations evidence the presence of equiaxed grains in the matrix, indicating that the artefact were produced by repeated cycles of mechanical shaping and thermal annealing treatments to restore the alloy ductility. From the degradation point of view, the results show the structures and the chemical composition of the stratified corrosion layers (i.e. the patina) where the copper or tin depletion phenomenon is commonly observed with the surface enrichment of some elements coming from the burial soil, mainly Cl, which is related to the high concentration of chlorides in the Ayanis soil. The results reveal also that another source of degradation is the inter-granular corrosion phenomenon likely increased by the metallurgical features of the alloys caused by the high temperature manufacturing process that induces crystallisation and segregation phenomena along the grain boundaries.