WANDERING CASTERS IN THE NORTHERN PONTIC REGION


Keywords: wandering craftsmen, casting molds, metallurgical production, bronze casting craft, caster treasures, caster burials.

Abstract

The paper deals with the tradition of wandering craft that is the work of foundry workers on the road. Due to the high technological effectiveness the production and processing of metals required high professionalism which determined the isolation of the speciality of foundry workers and their difference from the rest of the population. They did not engage in other types of economic work and spread their influence over large areas, moving between settlements. Their activity is evidenced by burials in the Bronze Age far from settlements, accompanied by accessories of foundry craft, as well as treasures of the Late Bronze Age containing foundry moulds, tools and metal blanks, scrap and semi-finished products. Indirect traces of foundry craft in agricultural settlements are also frequent. They are represented by worn-out casting moulds or their fragments that were no longer of value to the artisan, or traces of working with metal in the form of semi-finished products or copper slags. Wandering craftsmen existed throughout the history of metallurgy from the emergence of this craft and almost until modern times, that is, from the Neolithic, the Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age to the 20th century, which made it possible to single out specialized metalworking centres, whose craftsmen provided the agricultural population with their products, wandering between settlements. At the same time, only two stationary workshops in the Northern Pontic region are known in the Bronze Age. But when isolating a metalworking centre, the presence of workshops is not at all necessary, since the focus does not mean a metalworking centre, but a region of similar production with common typological and chemical and metallurgical characteristics of products and a single technology for their production. It should only be noted that the question of wandering craftsmen in the early Iron Age has been raised quite recently, and by this time many well-developed metalworking centres are known. At the turn of the century, non-ferrous metal passes into the hands of jewellers and the role of non-ferrous metalworking decreases. Apparently, the role of wandering craftsmen is gradually decreasing. But an example of the work of a wandering craft has been only recently shown by nomadic gipsies.

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Published
2020-06-15
How to Cite
Olgovskii , S. Y. (2020). WANDERING CASTERS IN THE NORTHERN PONTIC REGION. Archaeology and Early History of Ukraine, 36(3), 503-509. https://doi.org/10.37445/adiu.2020.03.37