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    Over the last 40 years, there has been a discernible increase in the number of scholars who have focused their research on early industrial organizations, a field of study that has come to be known as Archaeotechnology. Archaeologists have conducted fieldwork geared to the study of ancient technologies in a cultural context and have drawn on the laboratory analyses developed by materials scientists as one portion of their interpretive program.

    Corroded iron from the Java Sea Wreck. Chinese Warring States arrowhead dating to about — B. A wrought-iron Roman cleaver. Large spear from Burkino Faso, Africa.

    Paperweight made by reworking iron from the Himeji Castle in Japan. In this article, an overview is presented of the status of the radiocarbon dating of iron-based materials.

    Recent advances include simplification in sample preparation and reduction in sample size for accelerator mass spectrometry measurements, and the potential use of rust as a viable source of material for radiocarbon dating. Additionally, a summary is presented of all 63 previously published results for iron-based materials and 29 new results that have not been published previously. These materials range from low-carbon wrought irons to medium to very high-carbon steels and cast irons.

    Artifact dates range from several hundred years ago to several thousand years ago. Brief descriptions are given of some of these examined samples to illustrate issues and complexities that can arise in determining the age of iron-based carbon materials using radiocarbon dating.


    A recent summary has been published 1 of techniques for dating that range from astronomical methods to cover time scales from the age of the universe e. One well-known method for dating is based on the use of isotopic techniques.

    Included are reactions such as the uranium-to-lead transformation utilized for dates that range from 1 billion years to 4. Perhaps the best-known isotopic technique, however, is that of radiocarbon [e. The present paper deals with an issue of great interest to materials scientists and archeologists—the dating of iron-based materials that contain carbon. In addition, however, the corrosion products or rust from these materials is included since they can also be used for dating in some cases.

    For the case of iron-based materials, the time span of interest is from the start of the Iron Age in the regions of interest about B. The most appropriate method for this time span and group of materials is 14C dating. It is key to point out that the usefulness of the method of dating carbon in iron-based materials relies on the source of the carbon found in the materials see sidebar.

    For the case of iron-based materials, van der Merwe and Stuiver 2 first demonstrated that it was feasible to extract the carbon from different iron-based materials and use it to establish their age using radiocarbon dating.


    A total of 15 samples of iron-based materials were dated by beta counting at Yale University 23 using a dependable method to extract carbon from iron utilizing flow-through combustion in oxygen with cryogenic trapping of CO2. These studies showed that in a wide range of cases, the carbon in iron-based materials could be extracted and reliably radiocarbon dated.

    The Yale beta counter, however, required significant amounts of carbon compared to the amounts that were usually available from artifacts without consuming or damaging them.

    The amount of carbon required was 1g, equivalent to 50 g of a 2. In the late s, radiocarbon dating by accelerator mass spectrometry AMS became common. This new methodology required only 1 mg instead of 1 g of carbon. Inthe present authors published 9 a new carbon-extraction method for iron based on a sealed-tube combustion with CuO in quartz. This greatly simplified the previous technique and required only materials readily available in the standard AMS graphite-preparation laboratory: Unlike the previous techniques, no exotic gas-trapping equipment is required.

    Thus, over the years, the sample-size requirement has been greatly reduced and the carbon-extraction procedure has been simplified. However, as has been mentioned, for a radiocarbon date on iron to be meaningful, the carbon extracted from the iron-based material must be from biomass contemporaneous with original manufacture.

    In addition to fossil fuels such as coal and coke, other carbon sources such as geological carbonates e. Complications arising from the recycling of artifacts must also be considered. These limitations of the dating technique have been well summarized by van der Merwe 3 and Cresswell. If rust can be dated reliably, it opens up a large number of possibilities for dating iron artifacts. Investigators will not need to cut into valuable artifacts for clean metal, but will be able to use surface corrosion products.

    This potentially opens the way for dating precious samples such as the iron plate found in the Great Pyramid at Gizeh, 1011 now at the British Museum. It may also be possible to date completely rusted artifacts, commonly found in waterlogged early Iron-Age sites in Europe and in underwater shipwrecks. Previous investigators had been careful to remove rust from iron prior to dating for fear that it adds contamination.

    A key issue though, is whether any of the original carbon remains within the matrix of rust and other corrosion products. If not, rust and similar materials are clearly of no interest for radiocarbon dating and should probably be removed since, at best, they can do no good.

    However, if original carbon is present, the corrosion products themselves may be appropriate targets for dating, subject to solving the potential contamination problems. Most of the carbon in iron-based materials is in the form of the orthorhombic, crystalline iron carbide Fe3C known as cementite.

    Morphologically, cementite appears either as spheroidized particles or as pearlite. For compositions exceeding the eutectoid level of about 0.

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    The thickness and sizes of all of these carbides can vary enormously, depending upon composition and heat-treatment history. For steels that have been quenched to form martensite body-centered tetragonal structurethe carbon is essentially in solid solution in the iron up to the eutectoid composition, beyond which it too will usually be in the form of carbides. Despite the complex range of possible amounts and morphologies of the cementite, the thermodynamic stability of iron carbide is significantly greater than that of iron.

    So, as iron rusts, the carbide phase will be more stable than the matrix and will remain behind.

    Ice caps over the British Isles at the end of the last ice age

    The question then becomes one of kinetics: How long will it take for the carbide to oxidize compared to the iron matrix? As long as the carbon remains in the rust, in whatever form, it will potentially be available for radiocarbon dating. Although little appears to have been published on this subject, Knox 12 reported the detection of iron carbide in the remaining oxide from a corroded 2,year-old Iranian steel dagger. The present authors and van der Merwe 14 have recently completed a study in this area.

    This work provides some evidence for the reliability of dating corrosion products from artifacts that have rusted in the air, in the ground, and under water, although it does not prove that all such samples can be successfully dated. Nonetheless, iron samples that had completely rusted produced plausible radiocarbon dates, but issues of contamination and post-depositional carbon exchange must be thoroughly tested in a variety of field settings before rust dating can be considered a validated technique.

    What the study does show, then, is that there is no a priori reason why the method should not work on rust. The work suggests that accurate radiocarbon dates may be obtainable with minimal material and with minimal risk to artifacts. Artifacts are designated as follows: Weight percent carbon vs.

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    This table provides sample identification, radiocarbon years Before Present [B. This nomenclature is used in radiocarbon dating to avoid the variation introduced by calibration charts that convert radiocarbon years B.

    Sincea wide range of iron-based materials have been investigated Figures abcdand e. The determined ages range from relatively recent materials B. Sample sizes range from less than 0.

    Sample conditions range from clean metal to rusty metal to very corroded metal. The nuances of radiocarbon dating of iron-based materials will be explained by way of example in this paper.
    Italian Renaissance Sculpture c. Renaissance art was also coloured by a strong belief in Humanism and the nobility of Man. It began in Florence, being inspired by individuals such as the architect Filippo Brunelleschithe sculptor Donatellothe painter Tommaso Masaccio and the theorist Leon Battista Albertiand financed by the Medici Family.

    The arts in Northern Europe notably Flanders, Holland, Germany and England also underwent a renaissance, particularly in oil painting, printmaking and to a lesser extent wood-carving, although this so-called Northern Renaissance developed somewhat independently due to the Reformation c.

    Early Renaissance Sculpture Given the respect accorded to the Italian Renaissance, it's easy to forget that many Italian artists were strongly influenced by Gothic traditions and craftsmanship.

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    Renaissance sculptors, in particular, were indebted to their Gothic predecessors. One need only study the reliefs on the facades and doorways of 12th century cathedrals to see the extraordinary three-dimensional realism and emotionalism which was being achieved centuries before the Renaissance. The big difference between Gothic and Renaissance sculptors is that the names of the latter are now world-famous, while many of the former are unknown.

    Bearing this in mind, Early Renaissance sculptors sought to improve further on Gothic works, taking much of their inspiration from Classical Roman and Greek sculpture. In so doing, they injected their statues with a range of emotion and imbued them with new energy and thought. Lorenzo Ghiberti Ina competition was held for the commission to create a pair of bronze doors for the Florence Baptistry of St.

    John - one of the oldest surviving churches in the city. Lorenzo Ghiberti duly won the commission for the doors, which took him 27 years to finish.

    A second similar commission followed, occupying Ghiberti for a further 25 years. However, his gates became a tangible symbol of Florentine art, causing Michelangelo to refer to them "the Gates of Paradise".

    Donatello Donatellothe first real genius of Italian Renaissance Sculpturereinvented the medium of sculpture in much the same way as Masaccio, Piero della Francesca and Mantegna revolutionized the art of painting. Capable of investing his figures with intense realism and emotion, his masterpiece is his bronze sculpture David c. The slender form of the Biblical shepherd boy seems hardly capable of the homicidal skill required to slay Goliath, but both his pensive feminine pose with its Classical contrapposto twist of the hipsexerts a hypnotic effect on the viewer.

    It must surely be one of the greatest statues ever created. Andrea del Verrocchio The David c. Other important sculptors of the early Renaissance include: Jacopo della Quercia c. High Renaissance Sculpture c. The art historian Anthony Blunt said of Michelangelo's works like Pietamarble, Saint Peters Basilica, RomeDavidmarble, Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence and Dying Slavemarble, Louvre, Paris that they possessed a "superhuman quality" but also "a feeling of brooding, of sombre disquiet In the field of the heroic male nude he remains the supreme exponent.

    For more, see David by Michelangelo. Other important sculptors of the High Renaissance include the artist and Venetian architect Jacopo Sansovino and Baccio Bandinelli Northern Renaissance Sculpture c. Other important sculptors from North of the Alps include: Mannerist Sculpture If the confidence and order of the High Renaissance period was reflected in its idealised forms of figurative sculpture, Mannerist sculpture reflected the chaos and uncertainty of a Europe racked by religious division and a Rome recently sacked and occupied by mercenary French soldiers.

    Mannerist sculptors introduced a new expressiveness into their works, as exemplified by the powerful Rape of the Sabines by Giambolognaand Perseus by Benvenuto Cellini However, compare the famous naturalistic recumbent marble statue of Saint Cecilia by Stefano Maderno For the top French Mannerist sculptors, see: This propaganda campaign, designed to persuade worshippers to return to the "true" Church, employed the full panoply of the visual arts, including architecture, sculpture and painting, and became associated with a grander, more dramatic idiom known as Baroque art.

    It entailed massive patronage for artists - good news for sculptors! Even Saint Peter's Square in Rome, was remodelled in order to awe visitors. Bernini was the greatest of all Baroque sculptors. Drawn to the dramatic naturalism of what is called the Hellenistic baroque style of the second and first century BCE, eg.

    It was as if he treated the relatively intractable materials of sculpture as if they were entirely malleable. His sculptural technique and composition were so stunning that he attracted no little criticism from envious rivals. If Bernini epitomized Greek dramatic naturalism, Algardi's style was more restrained critics say feeble.

    Another rival was the Flemish sculptor Francois Duquesnoy whose style was entirely classical. Duquesnoy was rather a shadowy figure who worked in a severe, unemotional style which was nevertheless highly regarded by academic writers for its perfect synthesis of nature and the antique.

    The draperies flow elegantly, following the shape of the body, while the figure is balanced in perfect grace and repose - the complete opposite of Bernini's dynamic movement and intense feeling.

    French Baroque sculpture was exemplified by Francois Girardona sort of French Algardi, and his rival Antoine Coysevox whose looser style was still relatively restrained compared to Bernini, and Pierre Puget who was one of the very few sculptors to recapture the immediacy of Bernini's best work.

    Other Baroque sculptors include: If Baroque sculpture was dramatic and serious, Rococo was all frills and no substance, although in reality it was not so much a different style from the Baroque but rather a variation on the style brought to fruition by Bernini and his contemporaries. Even so, one can talk about Rococo qualities in a work of sculpture - informality, gaiety, a concern for matters of the heart and a self-conscious avoidance of seriousness.

    The most successful sculptor of the first half of the 18th century was Guillaume CoustouDirector of the French Academy fromwho continued the baroque trend of his uncle Coysevox. His pupil, Edme Bouchardonis a more interesting figure.

    Jean-Baptiste Pigallea favourite of Madame de Pompadour, was another important exemplar of the Rococo style as was his chief rival was Etienne-Maurice Falconet who specialized in erotic figures that have a tenuous derivation from Hellenistic originals.

    German Rococo sculpture was exemplified in works by the Dresden sculptor Balthazar Permosersmall groups of craftsmen working in the churches of Catholic southern Germany, and Ignaz Gunther whose figurative sculptures have a hard surface realism and polychromed surface reminiscent of medieval German wood-carving.

    Whimsical decadent Rococo was swept away by the French Revolution which ushered in the new sterner style of Neoclassicism. Neoclassical Sculpture Flourished c. Neoclassical sculpture involved an emphasis on the virtues of heroicism, duty and gravitas. Only later in the 18th century did a worthy successor to Canova appear in the person of the Danish sculptor Bertel Thorwaldsenwho approached the antique with a comparable high-mindedness albeit with less originality.

    In simple terms, architectural development had largely exhausted itself, religious patronage had declined as a result of the French Revolution, and the general climate of "populism", began to cause much confusion in the minds of institutional and private patrons as to what constituted acceptable subjects and styles for sculptural representation.

    Being involved in a more expensive art-form than painters, and thus dependent on high-cost commissions, sculptors often found themselves at the mercy of public opinion in the form of town councils and committees. Aside from a number of grandiose public monuments, and the usual commemorative statues of Bishops and Kings - invariably executed in the sterile, conformist style required by the authorities eg.

    Painting on the other hand was undergoing huge and exciting changes. In short, it was not a great time to be involved in 3-D art. One of the most talented artists was the light-hearted Jean-Baptiste Carpeauxwhose sensuality was adapted to the demands of decorative sculptors of the s by Ernest Carrier-Belleuseotherwise most noted for the fact that one of his pupils was an unknown sculptor called Auguste Rodin.

    Jules Dalou was a more contemplative and serious follower of Carpeaux. Among the 19th century classicists, leading figures included John Gibsonthe talented but frustrated Alfred Stevensthe versatile George Frederick Wattsand the American Hiram Powers We should also not forget the imaginative French sculptor Auguste Bartholdi - better known as the creator of the world-famous sculpture - The Statue of Liberty - in New York harbour.

    One of the few authentic masters of modern sculpture, Rodin saw himself as the successor to his iconic hero Michelangelo - although the Florentine was a carver in marble while Rodin was principally a modeller in Bronze. Also, while Michelangelo exemplifies the noble and timeless forms of Classical Antiquity, Rodin's most characteristic works convey an unmistakable modernity and dramatic naturalism. Arguably, Rodin's true predecessors were the Gothic sculptors, for he was a passionate admirer of the Gothic cathedrals of France, from whose heroic reliefs he derived much of his inspiration.

    In any event, Rodin's impact on his art form was greater than any sculptor since the Renaissance. The Advent of Modernism With sculpture less able to reflect the new trends of modern art during the 19th century, leaving artists like Auguste Rodin free to pursue a monumentalism derived essentially from Renaissance ideology, and others to celebrate Victorian values in the form of patriotic and historical figures, likewise executed in the grand manner of earlier times, it wasn't until the emergence of modern 20th century sculptors like Constantin BrancusiUmberto Boccioni and Naum Gabo Naum Neemia Pevsnerthat sculpture really began to change, at the turn of the century.

    For the influence of tribal cultures on the development of 20th century sculpture, see: In this regard see the work of Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and his mentor Jacob Epstein In particular, note the impact of African sculpture on modern sculptors of the Ecole de Paris. In fact, the early decades of the 20th century saw fine art in a ferment. The revolutionary Cubism movement, invented by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braquesmashed many of the hallowed canons of traditional art, and triggered a wave of experimentation in both painting and sculpture.

    The latter was significantly redefined by a series of sculptors like Marcel Duchamp - see his " readymades " - Jacques Lipchitzand Alexander Archipenkoas well as Brancusi, Boccioni and Gabo.

    Representationalism was rejected in favour of new abstract expressions of space and movement, often using non-traditional materials never before used in sculpture.

    In the wake of Cubism, The Great War and the Bolshevik Revolution had a further huge impact on artists across Europe, as exemplified in the influential iconoclastic movements of Dada and Constructivism. Sculptors joined painters in producing works of art reflecting new icons like the machine, as well as new ideologies of design eg. Bauhaus design school theoriesand form eg. The s in Paris saw the emergence of Surrealism, a hugely influential movement which sought a new "super-realism" in a style which embraced both abstraction and naturalism.

    Famous surrealist artists working in 3-D include: Many sculptors developed their style as the century progressed: Alberto Giacomettifor instance, began in surrealist mode during the s and s before perfecting his unique semi-abstract figurative works.

    Major innovations - mostly by American sculptorsbut see Destroyed City by the Russian sculptor Ossip Zadkine - included the "sculptured walls" of Louise Nevelson - assemblages composed of found objectsmostly wood, sprayed in white, black or gold paint and arranged in box-like shelves occupying a wall; the felt sculptures of Robert Morris b. Pop-Art Sculpture Chronologically, the first major post-war movement involving sculptors, was s Pop-Art, which originated in the pioneering work of Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns b.

    Famous Pop sculptures include: Japanese War God by the pioneer Eduardo Paolozzi b. Pop sculpture isn't serious but it's great fun. Minimalist Sculpture In complete contrast to Pop art, s Minimalism explored the purity of ultra-simplified forms to the point of absurdity. Famous Minimalist sculptors include Sol LeWitt b. Environmental Sculpture The s also witnessed a completely new type of sculpture known as Land Art Earthworks, or Environmental art.

    Like kids building sand castles on the beach, artists rushed out into the wilds and dug, excavated and re-shaped the natural landscape to create what they hoped was art. The pioneer environmental sculptor was the pessimistic Robert Smithson Latterly, the artist-couple Christo and Jeanne-Claude Javacheff have achieved fame by wrapping parts of the environment in coloured fabric, while Andy Goldsworthy b.

    Postmodernist Contemporary Sculpture Byan increasing amount of contemporary art was becoming extremely experimental - art critics might say wacky, incomprehensible and kitsch-like. From the s onwards, this tendency was christened " Postmodernist art ". Nobody really knows what this word means, and, if they do, they can't explain it. As far as postmodernist sculpture is concerned, the best one can say is that it takes sculpture to the limit of three-dimensional expression, and frequently crosses over into other art-forms like installation, pure assemblage art and even theatre.

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