Breaking News! Making and testing Bronze Age balance scales

2020 | journal article. A publication with affiliation to the University of Göttingen.

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​Hermann, R., Steinhoff, J., Schlotzhauer, P. & Vana, P. (2020). ​Breaking News! Making and testing Bronze Age balance scales. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports32, Article 102444​. ​doi: 

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Hermann, Raphael; Steinhoff, Judith; Schlotzhauer, Philipp; Vana, Philipp
This interdisciplinary paper (archaeology, macromolecular chemistry and material science) investigates theproduction and load-bearing capacities of Bronze Age balance scales.The existence of weighing equipment and practices in Late Bronze Age Europe has been proven beyond doubt.Although hundreds of balance weights from Central and Western Europe have recently been identified in thearchaeological record, balance scales are still extremely rare. Consisting of balance beams, suspension cords,scale pans and sometimes metal suspension loops, the only evidence found to date are 18 complete and frag-mented balance beams. Made of bone or antler, these balance beams are often perceived as extremely fragile andonly able to weigh-out minute loads. This, however, had never been tested. In order to understand exactly howBronze Age balances were made, of what materials and how much load they could bear, a number of replicabalance beams, suspension cords and metal loops were created. The load-bearing capacity was then tested withtwo standard material sciences testing methods: three-point bending tests and uniaxial tensile testing.
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Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 
Philosophische Fakultät ; Fakultät für Forstwissenschaften und Waldökologie ; Burckhardt-Institut ; Abteilung Holzbiologie und Holzprodukte ; Seminar für Ur- und Frühgeschichte ; Institut für Physikalische Chemie 
2352-409X; 2352-409X



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