Brass from the Past is not only a history of the use and production of brass, but more broadly an insight into the journey of this important metal in the context of a changing and modernising world. The book follows the evolution of brass from its earliest forms around 2500 BC through to industrialised production in the eighteenth century. The story is told in the context of the people, economies, cultures, trade and technologies that have themselves defined the alloy and its spread around the world. It explores innovations, such as the distillation of zinc, that have improved the quality and ease of production. From national or religious priorities to exhaustion of raw material supplies, the themes from the past are echoed in our own world today. In the later centuries, the book shines a light on some of the more personal aspects of people, businesses and relationships that have influenced industry and its progress. Above all the book reflects the enthusiasm, not just of the author, but of all brass enthusiasts across the world. The search for information has involved scrambling down Bohemian ravines, stumbling over brass-works debris under trees, and studying pre-civil-war artefacts in Virginia. Academics and experts from across the world have provided information, from China to Qatar and the USA to the Czech Republic. Brass is a strong and attractive metal, which has been used to create items of great beauty and utility. It is hoped that the reader will come to value the qualities of this material which has become a passion for so many people around the world.
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About the Author
VANDA MORTON MA PhD (Historical Archaeology) is based in Oxford and offers an authoritative voice on the history and archaeology of brass. Her research has involved metallurgical research, fieldwork and international networking. She draws on interpersonal skills developed early in her career in psychiatric healthcare, on illustrating skills acquired during a later career in graphic design, culminating in an academic career in archaeology. Her international research has taken her to muddy fields, mountains, forests, and rushing streams, and into homes, castles, laboratories and museums. These adventures have exploited her enthusiasm for foreign languages, love of walking, and joy at meeting the many and various people who have introduced her to different cultures, sites and archaeological treasures.
Table of ContentsChapter 1 Experiment and emergence Chapter 2 Medieval Europe and far beyond Chapter 3 The Sacred and the Salesmen Chapter 4 Age of Discovery Chapter 5 Merchants and migrants Chapter 6 Continuity and conflict in Europe Chapter 7 Trade and technology Chapter 8 The turning tide Glossary Bibliography Appendix Metallurgical tables (online) Index