Mihok L. (Technical University, Košice, Slovakia)
Kotigoroshko V.G. (Uzhgorod National University, Ukraine)
Metallografy of Iron Objects Found on Dacian Settlement Malaya Kopan
Dacian hill-fort Malaya Kopan. In present from many archaeologic sites of the Upper Tisza region the most intensive archaeologic research was performed at Dacian settlement found by the village Malaya Kopan, Vinogradovo county.
See location on Google map at:
During 31 years of research of 2,1 h area tens of units of inhabitation and economic character were excavated, but, importantly, many production units allowing to reconstruct economic life of the settlement.
Among them the most important were smithies, glass and jewellery production shops. The finds documented existence of many different crafts in Malaya Kopan settlement on the beginning of the 1st millennium A.D. (Котигорошко, 1989; Kotigoroshko, 1995, p.78-80). Numerous different kinds of ceramics, objects from iron and non-ferrous metals, glass and stone (hand-mills) show rich sortiment of local shops production.
Visual determination of the objects can serve as a base for their selection into the groups and sub-groups concerning their functions. Analysis of forms and construction features of the objects, determination of their genetic roots can allow to speak about production level in Malaya Kopan, the centre of Dacian culture in the Upper Tisza region.
The finds of the objects need the second, very important information related to technological methods of their production. Glass objects were analysed and evaluated in Leningrad Institute of Physics (Kotigoroshko, 1995, p.174-175). Metallic, mostly iron objects were analysed by archaeometallurgy group working at the Technical University in Košice (Mihok, Kotigoroshko, Hollý, Pribulová, Cengel, 1995, p.65-88; Mihok, Fečková, Kotigorosko, 2007, p.75-100).
During recent ten years growing importance was laid on analysis of weapons because of very rich collection of them in Malaya Kopan finds. Among them very important was sword type “Machain”, found in excavation XХVI in 2002 and four two-edged swords found in excavations on the periphery of the settlement, in sites “Srednij Grunok” and “Tschellenica” (Fig.1). In the first site eight crematory burial graves were found. The site was partly destroyed by previous agricultural works.
In 1936 spear-head, iron cover of shield and ring mail were found on Srednij Grunok site. Expedition of Uzhgorod National University in 2002 – 2003 excavated there seven graves, in which iron covers of shields (graves 2, 3-4), bended two-edged swords (graves 2, 6) and spear-heads (grave 2) were found. Next, the fragment of sword (central part) was found on the periphery of the site. Weapons and ceramics allowed to date the burials to the end of the 1st and beginning of the 2nd centuries A.D.
In 2007 new excavation started in site Tschellenica, 200 m north-west from central part of the settlement. Here was the place, where seven earthen walls guarded the Malaya Kopan settlement from the side of “Chust gate”, through which foreign tribes entered south of the Upper Tisza region and the Carpathian basin as a whole.
In course of the site research six fire burial graves were discovered and rich material was found. Basically, the material contained iron objects - clasp, belt buckle, knives, curbs. Special group of finds contained sword three times bended, heads of rods and darts. Stratigraphy of the site showed the necropolis was destroyed. Chronologically, the graves were dated to the first half of the 1st century B.C.
Sword no.1 – Tschellenica. Metallographic analysis of the sword no.1 is in Fig.5. The sample was taken by cross-section cut. On the metallographic surface prior to etching thin and long bands of smithy inclusions were observed. Etching revealed next distribution of structures. On the one end of the metallographic surface ferritic-pearlitic structure of mildly carburized iron was found, photo 1. Lower down from the upper end it was easy to recognize that by the one side of the metallographic surface ferritic-pearlitic structures of carburized iron were found. Carbon content decreased to the other side, where only ferritic structures of non-carburized iron was found, photographs 2, 3, 4. Near the other end of the metallographic surface carburization of iron by the one side of the metallographic surface was more intensive, photo 5, at the very end of the metallographic surface only pearlitic structure of deep carburized iron was found, photo 6. The edge of the sword was probably formed in this place.
The sword was produced from non-carburized iron semi-products. After finishing forming of the shape the sword was carburized from one side, but more intensively on the edge. From analysis follows the sword was one-edged, its quality was good.
Fig.5. Metallographic analysis of sword no.1.
Method of iron objects analysis. Five iron objects were selected for metallographic analysis, three swords from site Srednij Grunok, one sword and one rod-head from site Tschellenica. Photographs of analysed objects are included in Fig.2 to 6, results of metallographic analysis. All five analysed objects contained suitable amount of solid metal, ready for sample taking. The objects were sampled by cross-section cuts enabling to study distribution of iron metal structures.
Discussion of results. Metallographic analysis of four swords from Malaya Kopan sites enables to describe and compare the blacksmiths technique used for production of the swords. Moreover, the results of the research can be compared with similar ones following from analysis of sets of contemporary iron objects found on the teritory of Slovakia.
Two swords were found in graves no.78 and 108 of the Zemplin cemetery, dated to the same period (Mihok, Miroššayová, Veselovská, 1993; Budinský-Krička, Lamiová, 1990). The swords were not analysed by the metallography method. Only one sword suitable for comparison purposes is Roman sword from Varín (Mihok, Pieta, 2004). The other sets of Roman and LaTéne iron objects did not contain swords but other types of iron weapons and mostly economic objects (Mihok, Olexa, 1999; Mihok, Pribulová, Pieta, Olexa, 2005; Mihok, Pribulová, Pieta, 2000; Mihok, Pieta, Mosný, 2006).
All four analysed swords from Malaya Kopan sites were produced by different blacksmiths methods. One of the swords from Srednij Grunok site was made from iron semi-product carburized up to 0,25% C. No additional carburization of the edge(s) was made. The sword was single-edged, its quality was not exceptional. The second sword was made by smithy welding of three iron semi-products with different pre-prepared properties. Both edges of the sword were prepared on carburized iron material. The sword was double-edged, its quality was extraordinary. The third sword was prepared by very different way. It was made of deep carburized homogeneous iron. After finishing the final shape the sword was re-heated, quenched and tempered. The production method was sophisticated, the quality of this double-edged sword was very high.
The sword from Tschellenica site was made from non-carburized iron semiproducts, next the sword was carburized from one side of the blade, the most intensive carburization was on the edge. The aim of the one-side carburization of the blade is not clear. The one-edged sword was of good quality.
The sword from Varín, north-west Slovakia, dated to the 2nd century A.D., was constructed by welding of a few iron semi-products. The most intensive carburized semi-products were placed on both sides of the sword, where the edges were made. The sword was double-edged. The handle and part adjoining to the handle were made of low-carburized iron. After finishing the final shape the sword was re-heated, lower part of the blade was quenched and tempered. The quality of the sword, dated to Púchov culture, was very high.
Concerning the rod-head, its construction from mildly carburized iron material with following surface carburization was very good solution, utility value of the rod-head was high. LaTéne spear-head from Horná Lehota was produced from non-carburized iron material and only very little surface carburization was observed. The prong of the harrow, dated to the LaTéne period, found in Liptovská Mara archaeological site, was produced from deep carburized iron material.
The author had in disposition five analysis of iron swords dated to the same period. The results of metallographic analysis were unlike showing different methods of iron swords production. It was easy to understand when comparing the Roman sword from Varín with the ones from Malaya Kopan sites. But why so big differences among Malaya Kopan swords? Status of the person who ordered the sword? Change of production technologies? Or simply the purposes for which the swords were produced? Continuing research probably can answer these questions............
Conclusions. The paper presents results of metallographic analysis of four iron swords and one rod-head, found in archaeological excavations of Malaya Kopan sites. Three swords were found in Srednij Grunok site, one sword and rod-head in Tschellenica site. The results are as follows:
1. Each from analysed swords was produced by different blacksmiths method. The sword no.KS from Srednij Grunok was made from mildly carburised iron, no next carburisation of edge was found. The sword no.2 from Srednij Grunok was made by welding of a few iron semi-products, next both edges were deep carburised. The sword no.6 from Srednij Grunok was made from carburised iron, next the sword was quenched and tempered.
2. The sword no.1 from Tschellenica was carburised on one side of the blade and the most intensively on the edge.
3. It was not clear why the swords found in one complex around Malaya Kopan settlement were produced by different methods. Probably only analysis of more finds of swords from Malaya Kopan can solve the problem. Analysis of Púchov culture sword from Varín, Slovakia, used for comparison purposes, showed also very different method of production, unlike the swords from Malaya Kopan sites.
4. The rod-head was produced from mildly carburized iron, next the surface layers were hardened by carburization. The method of production was very satisfactory.
Mihok L. (Technical University, Košice, Slovakia),
Kotygoroshko V.G. (Uzhgorod National University, Ukraine)
METALLOGRAPHIC ANALYSIS OF DACIAN AND LATÉNE IRON
OBJECTS FOUND IN MALAYA KOPAN ARCHAEOLOGICAL
with drawing and photos
In 2007 - 2008 archaeological expedition of
the Uzhgorod National University made excavations in the site Tschellenica.
The site is situated on the top of the hill 200 m north-west from the Malaya
Kopan Dacian settlement, Vinogradovo district, Transcarpathian Ukraine. In
course of excavations on the square more than 2000 m2 twelve cremation
graves were discovered. Rich material was found in the graves. Basically, the
material consisted of adornments and objects persistent to clothes-fibulae,
buckles and clasps, bracelets, little chains. Special group of finds consisted of
weapons (swords, fighting sicas, spearheads, darts, fighting axe, etc.). Big
amount of chronoindicators enabled to relate the graves with Dacian
necropolis of the first half of the Ist century B.C. and to the first years of the
Ist millennium A.D.
In 2007 one sword was excavated and in 2008 ten swords followed. It
formed very broad collection of attacking weapons used by inhabitants of the
Malaya Kopan complex. Next, the swords were classified and submitted for
method of sample taking is in Fig.37. The sketch of metallographic
surface is in Fig.38.
Fig.36. Object 6. Laténe sword.
Fig.37. Object 6. Laténe sword. Method of sample taking.
Fig.38. Object 6. Laténe sword. Analysed metallographic surface.
Observation of the metallographic surface prior to etching showed very
clean iron material with only one band of scales and smithy inclusions. After
etching, fine grained ferritic-pearlitic structure of low carburised iron was
found in the body of the sword (Fig.39, spot 1). Lower down to the edge deep
carburised iron, represented by ferritic-pearlitic and pearlitic-ferritic
structures, appeared along one side of the metallographic surface (Fig.40,
spot 2). Low carburised ferritic-pearlitic iron was observed along the other
side and in the centre of the metallographic surface. Structures in spot 3 are
nearly similar, but carburised iron with pearlitic-ferritic structure is not
situated along the one side of the metallographic surface, but near it. Iron
along the other side was very low carburised. The structures in spot 3 are
depicted in Fig.41. Similar situation was found in spot 4 near the edge. Only
one side of the metallographic surface, i.e. sword surface was deep
carburised. The other part contained low-carburised iron (Fig.42).
Fig.39. Ferritic-pearlitic structure of low-carburised iron in spot 1. Sample 6.
Fig.40. Deep carburised iron by the surface. Spot 2. Sample 6.
Fig.41. Deep carburised iron near one surface. Spot 3. Sample 6.
Fig.42. Distribution of structures near the edge. Spot 4. Sample 6.
The way of sword construction was not very positive for its properties.
Deep carburised surface of the sword around and on the edge was needed.
Sample 7. Laténe sword. The object 7, Laténe sword, is in Fig.43.
The object was found in two fragments, the sample was taken from the
smaller one (Fig.44). The sketch of metallographic surface is in Fig.45.
Fig.43. Object 7. Laténe sword.
Fig.44. Object 7. Laténe sword. Method of sample taking.
Fig.45. Object 7. Laténe sword. Analysed metallographic surface.
Observation of the metallographic surface prior to etching showed
bands of smithy inclusions and scales particles. Etching visualised in spot 1
coarse grained ferritic-pearlitic structure of mildly carburised iron, but carbon
content, i.e. intensity of carburisation, was much higher along one side of the
metallographic surface (Fig.46). Down to the edge more intensive
carburisation of the whole iron material appeared, spot 2, moreover, one side
of the metallographic surface, the same as in spot 1, was deep carburised with
resulting pearlitic-ferritic structures (Fig.47). Similar situation was observed
in spot 3, but broad band of deep carburisation up to 0,8% C stretching from
the surface was observed (Fig.48). Similar situation was found in spot 4,
where band of deep carburised iron material finished on the very edge
Fig.46. Distribution of structures in spot 1. Sample 7.
Fig.47. Deep carburisation by one side of the surface. Spot 2. Sample 7.
Fig.48. Deep carburisation by one side of the surface. Spot 3. Sample 7.
Fig.49. Distribution of structures near the edge. Spot 4. Sample 7.
It was very interesting that the sword was carburised only from one
surface. Carburisation covered the edge(s). Nevertheless, high quality of the
sword resulted from above described way of construction.
Sample 8. Laténe sword. The object 8, Laténe sword, is in Fig.50.
As can be seen from the Figure, fragment of the sword was found and
sampled, Fig.51. The sketch of metallographic surface is in Fig.52.
Fig.50. Object 8. Fragment of Laténe sword.