3,000-yr-old copper workshop found in central China

WUHAN, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) — Archaeologists have discovered a large copper workshop dating back to the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC) in central China’s Hubei Province.

The Guoyuanzui relic site in Huangpi District, the city of Wuhan, has offered a glimpse into the complete process of bronze making, from crafting molds to melting alloy, some 3,000 years ago in China, said researchers from the provincial institute of cultural relics and archaeology and Peking University.

Archaeologists started unearthing the site in 2019 and have so far revealed a 1,100-square-meter platform on which various steps in the bronze making process were carried out.

Hu Gang, an archaeologist with the institute, said they had found 15 stove foundations, over 200 pieces of crucibles and pottery molds, and 105 stone and copper tools.

One mold was designed for making a bronze container with a diameter of 25 cm at its mouth, suggesting that the site was once used to produce large bronze wares, said Fang Qin, director of the institute.

Analyses on copper slag indicated that copper-tin alloy was cast at the workshop, Fang said.

“The site sheds light on how the Shang Dynasty ruled the Yangtze River region around 1226 BC and provides precious insight for major Bronze Age academic studies, including on bronze casting activities and transportation routes of raw materials,” he said.

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