Liquation, a new treatment of silver-bearing coppers, experimental approach starting from archives
At the end of the Dark Age, silver remains a product highly demanded, such copper at the time of adoption of the bronze artillery, the new research of comfort and the increase in copper alloy coining. The discovery of a new metallurgical process, surely in Germany, makes possible the extraction of small quantity of silver contained in copper ores. Archaeological data on this process exist but are very rare. On the other hand, we can find famous books making it able the understanding of this new process called “saigerprozess” or liquation (Biringuccio, 1540 ; Agricola, 1556). An experimental approach based on data from the 16th century and using also modern data was attempted. This process was forsaken during the 19th century. The recourse to archaeological experiments with physical chemistry analyses makes possible the validation of the process and offers comparative data for archaeological material resulting from liquation.
* LAMOP, Université Paris I