Archaeometallurgy of Urban Landscapes

Vana Orfanou is an archaeologist trained in European and Near/ Middle Eastern archaeology from prehistory to medieval times, specialising in archaeometallurgy. In the past, she has studied metallurgical assemblages from the Eastern Mediterranean and the broader Iranian world, with a diachronic scope from late prehistory to the 15th century AD. Core aspect of her research focuses on the social embeddedness of ancient metallurgical practices and how past technologies have formed and have been formed by contemporary communities.

As a postdoctoral scientist at UrbNet, Vana Orfanou is involved in a series of archaeometric projects focusing on the investigation of past technologies. Example projects include the detailed examination of urban patterns, their development and diachronic change, as reflected in the metallurgical production of Vikingperiod Denmark and Roman Jerash, Jordan. By addressing the social role of metallurgy, discussion of results will promote questions on movement of people, materials, ideas and knowledge as well as on the social aspects of technological choices during past production chains.

At the same time, Vana Orfanou’s work focuses on the analyses of isotopes found in metal objects and metallurgical by-products from several archaeological sites and chronological periods in Europe, Near East and North Africa, with the aim of refining existing provenance methods and protocols and further exploring new ones. Such work will promote our understanding of raw material provision, transfer of technological knowledge as well as patterns of circulation and recycling of ancient metals in urban contexts.

Investigator: Postdoc Vana Orfanou