Tytuł artykułu

Metallurgical Slags as Traces of a 15th century Copper Smelter

Tytuł czasopisma

Archives of Foundry Engineering




vol. 17


No 2

Autorzy publikacji

Słowa kluczowe

Environment protection ; Archaeometallurgy ; Metallurgy of copper ; Environment pollution ; Copper ; Lead ; Silver

Wydział PAN

Nauki Techniczne


Archives of Foundry Engineering continues the publishing activity started by Foundry Commission of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN) in Katowice in 1978. The initiator of it was the first Chairman Professor Dr Eng. Wacław Sakwa – Corresponding Member of PAN, Honorary Doctor of Czestochowa University of Technology and Silesian University of Technology. This periodical first name was „Solidification of Metals and Alloys” , and made possible to publish the results of works achieved in the field of the Basic Problems Research Cooperation. The subject of publications was related to the title of the periodical and concerned widely understand problems of metals and alloys crystallization in a casting mold. In 1978-2000 the 44 issues have been published. Since 2001 the Foundry Commission has had patronage of the annually published “Archives of Foundry” and since 2007 quarterly published “Archives of Foundry Engineering”. Thematic scope includes scientific issues of foundry industry:

  • Theoretical Aspects of Casting Processes,
  • Innovative Foundry Technologies and Materials,
  • Foundry Processes Computer Aiding,
  • Mechanization, Automation and Robotics in Foundry,
  • Transport Systems in Foundry,
  • Castings Quality Management,
  • Environmental Protection.


The research focuses on assessing the metal content, mainly copper, lead, iron and also silver in metallurgical slag samples from the area

where historical metallurgical industry functioned. In the smelter located in Mogiła, near Krakow (southern Poland), whose operation is

confirmed in sources from 1469, copper was probably refined as well as silver was separated from copper. Based on the change of

chemical and soil phase content and also taking cartographic and historical data into account, considering the restrictions resulting from

the modern land use the area was determined whose geochemical mapping can point to the location of the 15th century Jan Thurzo’s

smelter in Mogiła near Krakow. Moreover, using the same approach with the samples of this kind here as with hazardous waste, an

attempt has been made to assess their impact on the environment. Thereby, taking the geoenvironmental conditions into account, potential

impact of the industrial activity has been assessed, which probably left large scale changes in the substratum, manifested in the structure,

chemical content and soil phase changes. Discovering areas which are contaminated above the standard value can help to identify

historical human activities, and finding the context in artefacts allows to treat geochemical anomalies as a geochronological marker. For

this purpose the best are bed sediments, at present buried in the ground, of historical ditches draining the area of the supposed smelter.

Correlating their qualities with analogical research of archeologically identified slags and other waste material allows for reconstructing

the anthropopressure stages and the evaluation of their effects. The operation of Jan Thurzo’s smelter is significant for the history of

mining and metallurgy of Poland and Central and Eastern Europe.


The Katowice Branch of the Polish Academy of Sciences




Artykuły / Articles


ISSN 2299-2944


Bayley (2008), Medieval precious metal refining : archaeology and contemporary texts compared In : Martinon - and eds Archaeology integrating approaches to ancient materials Walnut Creek : Left Coast Press, History Science, 131. ; Wardas (2016), Historical Metallurgical Activities and Environment Pollution at the Substratum Level of the Main Market Square in Krakow, Geochronometria, 43,