Investment casting technology that utilizes lost-wax casting is one of the most-important achievements of ancient society. In Lower Silesia, Poland (Grzybiany, Legnica county), a 7-6 BC casting workshop was discovered with numerous artifacts, confirming the existence of the manufacturing process of metal ornaments using ceramic molds. The paper presents the research of molds and casts from the Bronze and Early Iron Ages. Microscopic analyses of the casting molds were performed, along with radiographic and chemical composition tests of the artifacts (the latter employing the use of the X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy method). The clustering method was used for alloy classification. The microstructure was analyzed by means of Scanning Electron Microscopy with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy. Conclusions from the research were utilized in further experiments
The casting workshop was discovered with numerous artifacts, confirming the existence of the manufacturing process of metal ornaments using ceramic molds and investment casting technology in Lower Silesia (Poland) in 7-6 BC. The research has yielded significant technological information about the bronze casting field, especially the alloys that were used and the artifacts that were made from them. Based on the analyses, the model alloys were experimentally reconstructed. Taking advantage of the computer-modeling method, a geometric visualization of the bronze bracelets was performed; subsequently, we simulated pouring liquid metal in the ceramic molds and observed the alloy solidification. These steps made it possible to better understand the casting processes from the perspective of the mold technology as well as the melting and casting of alloys.
During excavation of the cremation cemetery of urnfield culture in Legnica at Spokojna Street (Lower Silesia, Poland), dated to 1100-700 BC, the largest - so far in Poland – a collection of casting moulds from the Bronze Age was discovered: three moulds for axes casting made out of stone and five moulds for casting sickles, razors, spearhead and chisels, made out of clay. This archaeological find constituted fittings of foundrymen’s graves. In order to perform the complete analysis of moulds in respect of their application in the Bronze Age casting technology analytical methods, as well as, computer aided methods of technological processes were used. Macroscopic investigations were performed and the X-ray fluorescence spectrometry method was used to analyse the chemical composition and metal elements content in mould cavities. Moulds were subjected to three-dimensional scanning and due to the reverse engineering the geometry of castings produced in these moulds were obtained. The gathered data was used to perform design and research works by means of the MAGMA5 software. Various variants of the pouring process and alloys solidification in these archaeological moulds were simulated. The obtained results were utilised in the interpretation of the Bronze Age casting production in stone and clay moulds, with regard to their quality and possibility of casting defects occurrence being the result of these moulds construction. The reverse engineering, modelling and computer simulation allowed the analysis of moulds and castings. Investigations of casting moulds together with their digitalisation and reconstruction of casting technology, confirm the high advancement degree of production processes in the Bronze Age.