Silvery arsenic plating on items from the Maikop culture (on the basis of laboratory modelling)

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In the article there are investigated factors responsible for the appearance of silvery «plating» on the surface of some Maikop culture daggers shaped of copper-arsenic alloys. Using metallographic methods and scanning electronic microscope, specific features of the plating's microstructure and composition have been identified. The data obtained were compared with samples obtained through laboratory modelling. It is suggested that the silvery plating could have appeared due to the technique producing artificial corrosion. All the daggers studied had been discovered in élite burials. The only metal more valuable than silver in the Early Bronze Age was gold. Silver items served as symbols of their owners' high social status, which led to efforts to achieve cheap imitation of silver when making daggers specially designed for funerary rite.


Maikop daggers, laboratory modelling, reverse liquation, corrosion, élite burials, silvery arsenic plating

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IDR: 14328144

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