The process of translating copper ore into a finished bronze involved a series of discrete steps (Fig. 1), the products and by-products of which comprise a diversity of materials. The full characterization of these materials, and thereby the reconstruction of how the metalworking artisans of a particular culture went about their craft, requires a variety of analytical tools, each applied with specific interpretive goals in mind. For example, the use of high power optical microscopy (with magnifications ranging 10x to 400x) allows a qualitative description of ore and slag petrography , and the definition of individual phases in metal microstructure (see, for example, refs. [2,3]); the use of high temperature cell (HTC) microscopy, offers a novel means of studying a slag's thermodynamic properties ; and so on.