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Metallography and Corrosion Product Studies on Archaeological Bronze Fragments from the Qu Cun Site

  • W. T. Chase (a1) and Quanyu Wang (a2)

Abstract

The authors studied a suite of fragments of corroded bronzes from the Tienma-Qu Cun site, a Western Zhou city and cemetery complex dating from ca. 1000 to ca. 650 B.C‥ Conventional metallographic techniques were used along with scanning electron microscope, electron microprobe and x-ray diffraction. The bronzes are very varied in structure and composition. Most are cast, moderate-tin bronzes, but some are high or low in tin or lead. A few show a worked and annealed structure, and some of the cast bronzes were also heat treated (possibly by use as cooking pots). corrosion patterns also vary greatly, from almost uncorroded to total mineralization. Periodic and esquential corrosion phenomena were detected, as well as patination applied when the bronzes were made. We had hoped to be able to ascertain the causes of the different penetration of corrosion in these samples, but that must remain for future work.

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10. Credit for this technique should go to Arlen Benscoter of Lehigh University.
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