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Marianne Talma

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I'm currently awaiting graduation after handing in my master's thesis about polychrome decorative patination techniques in the Eastern Mediterranean Bronze Age. For this I recreated alloys based on material analysis results, and tested potential patination agents that were available in the Bronze Age (as well as modern Japanese patination solutions due to the similarity to the modern alloy Shakudo).

My emphasis on experimental archaeology, archaeometry and archaeometallurgy has been strong throughout my studies, and I've done internships in open air museums in Scandinavia (Lofotr Museum in Norway, Sagnlandet Lejre in Denmark) and the Netherlands (Archeon) to familiarize myself with public archaeology as well as prehistoric metallurgical techniques (iron smithing, bronze casting, silver casting).

I love teaching and I have a background in goldsmithing, although testing prehistoric techniques is a different thing altogether and I know I still have a lot of ground to cover. I attend conferences regularly and I’m interested to continue this topic in a PhD position: alternately, I might do a different thing altogether, I like to keep my horizon broad rather than narrow. The best result in my thesis experiments was with the use of NaCl: many more agents need to be tested and compared with archaeological material.

I’m interested in a collaboration with other scientists, craftspeople and enthusiasts working in this or similar material, for example experiments with copper-arsenic smelting. The Bronze Age dark-patinated alloys were used in the so-called Mycenaean daggers, in ritual statuary and weaponry of Egypt and the Levant and prestigious table wear in Cyprus and Greece. The material also shows affinity with later alloys, such as Corinthium Aes in the Roman period the historical and contemporary shakudo (that I’m familiar working with) and Wu-tong (see Craddock& Giumlia-Mair 1993).

Currently, other young researchers working on similar topics with an empirical approach are: Daniel Berger, Agnese Benzonelli and Francois Mathis. David Loepp is an experienced goldsmith and researcher who also does regular experimental work on the topic (all can be found on Academia). I hope my work will contribute a piece to solving the complex puzzle.

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