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Iron in Antiquity


THE application of the analyses of metal objects to 1the study of archaeology, especially in connexion with the problems of the bronze age, is becoming increasingly important owing to its bearing upon questions of cultural diffusion. If, for example, it were possible to determine by analysis the origin of the copper found in the various centres of early culture in which copper did not occur or had not been mined but had to be imported, we should probably be well on the way to solving some of the more obscure questions of pre-history. The work of the committee of the British Association which is seeking the source of Sumerian copper on these lines, when completed, may be expected to indicate how far such research is likely to be of practical utility in furnishing evidence in archieological and ethnological argument. This point is not without interest in the present connexion, as Dr. Friend, whose competence as an archaeologist and metallurgist has been proved in a number of communications to the technical journals, in his “Iron in Antiquity” has not confined his attention to the study of that metal alone. He has felt it incumbent upon him to survey briefly the technological side of the stone, copper, and bronze ages, and has thus put readers who may not be archeologists in possession of the facts which are necessary to an understanding of the special problems with which primitive users of iron had to deal. Further, he refers incidentally to the arguments relating to the diffusion of culture which have been based bv Prof. Elliot Smith upon the early use of copper in Egypt.

Iron in Antiquity.

By Dr. J. Newton Friend. Pp. Viii + 221. (London: Charles Griffin and Co., Ltd., 1926.) 10s. 6d. net.

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Iron in Antiquity . Nature 119, 42–43 (1927).

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