In Poland, researchers have a very strong interest in archaeometallurgy, which, as presented in classical works, focuses on dating artefacts from the prehistoric and early medieval periods in the form of cast iron and copper castings. This study, extending the current knowledge, presents the results of a microstructure investigation into the findings from the Modern era dating back to the late Middle Ages. The investigated material was an object in the form of a heavy solid copper block weighing several kilograms that was excavated by a team of Polish archaeologists working under the direction of Ms Iwona Młodkowska-Przepiórowska during works on the marketplace in the city of Czestochowa during the summer of 2009. Pre-dating of the material indicates the period of the seventeenth century AD. The solid copper block was delivered in the form of a part shaped like a bell, named later in this work as a “kettlebell”. To determine the microstructure, the structural components, chemical composition, and homogeneity, as well as additives and impurities, investigations were carried out using light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy including analysis of the chemical composition performed in micro-areas, and qualitative X-ray phase analysis in order to investigate the phase composition. Interpretation of the analytical results of the material’s microstructure will also help modify and/or develop new methodological assumptions to investigate further archaeometallurgical exhibits, throwing new light on and expanding the area of knowledge of the use and processing of seventeenth-century metallic materials.
Archaeometallurgical investigations presented in this work focus on analysing the microstructure as well as mechanical properties of artefacts from the17th in form of findings performed from cast iron as well as copper casts. The presented research results extend the up-to-date knowledge and present the analysis of structural compounds found in the microstructure of the artefacts from the time dating back to the late Middle Ages in the region around Czestochowa, Poland. The tested samples were found in earth in the city centre under the present marketplace. The excavation works were carried out in summer in the year 2009, and have resulted in the excavation of artefacts in form of copper block of the weight of several kg. The excavation action was led by a group of Polish archaeologists collaborating with the local authorities. The performed pre-dating of this element determines the age of the artefacts as the 17th century AD. The excavations that have been taking place since 2007 have widened the knowledge of the former Czestochowa. Historians of this town have suggested, that the found weight and traces of metallurgical activity suggest that the exposed walls were an urban weight. The weight is visible on the 18th century iconography. What was find on the Old Market indicates that there was a lush economic life before the Swedish invasion in this part of Poland. Some buildings lost their functions or were changed, others died in fires, but new places developed. To describe the microstructure, with its structural components, research was done using microscopy techniques, both of the light as well as electron microscopy (SEM), also chemical composition analysis was carried out using the EDS technique, as well as tool for phase analysis were applied in form of X-Ray Diffraction (qualitative analysis), especially for the reason to describe the phases present in the excavated material. This research will help to obtain new information in order to investigate further archaeometallurgical artefacts, extending the knowledge about middle age metallic materials its usage and manufacturing.