ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201910.0011.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, Archaeology Keywords: copper slag; sulphide; chalcocite; сovellite; bornite; LA-ICP-MS; South Ural; Kazakhstan; Bronze Age
Online: 2 October 2019 (03:32:26 CEST)
In the paper, the results of an investigation into trace elements found in slag sulphides from 14 archaeological Bronze Age settlements of the Cis-Urals, Trans-Urals and North and Central Kazakhstan are presented. The study used Cu-(Fe)-sulphides as indicator minerals. Cu-(Fe)-S minerals in slags are primarily represented by covellite and chalcocite, as well as by rarer bornite and single chalcopyrite grains. Slag sulphides formed relic clasts and neogenic droplets of different shapes and sizes. Supergenic ores in the Bronze Age in Urals and Kazakhstan played a significant role in the mineralogical raw material base. In sulphides, the main indicator elements Fe, Co, Ni, As, Se, Te, Sb, Ag, Pb, and Bi are important markers of copper deposit types. Sulphides from olivine Cr-rich spinel containing slags of Ustye, Turganik, and Kuzminkovskoe 2 are characterised by As-Co-Ni assemblages and confined to copper deposits in ultramafic rocks. Olivine sulphide-containing slags from Kamenny Ambar, Konoplyanka and Sarlybay 3 are characterised by Co-Se-Te assemblage and confined to mafic rocks. Glassy sulphide-containing slags from Katzbakh 6, Turganik, Ordynsky Ovrag, Ivanovskoe, Tokskoe, Bulanovskoe 2, Pokrovskoe, Rodnikovoe, and Taldysay are characterised by Ag-Pb-(Ba)-(Bi) assemblage and confined to cupriferous sandstone deposits. High As, Sb, Sn and Ba contents found in slags can be seen as indicators of alloying or flux components in primary copper smelting. These include samples from Ustye, Katzbakh 6, Rodnikovoe, and Taldysay sites, where high Ba and As slag contents are identified. The compilation of a database with a broad sample of sulphide compositions from Bronze Age slags and mines in the Urals and Kazakhstan will permit the further identification of ore types and raw materials associated with a particular deposit.