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Bismuth behaviour during ancient processes of silver–lead production

L'Héritier, Maxime and Baron, Sandrine and Cassayre, Laurent and Téreygeol, Florian Bismuth behaviour during ancient processes of silver–lead production. (2015) Journal of Archaeological Science, 57. 56-68. ISSN 0305-4403

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2015.02.002


Bismuth is one of the main trace elements found in archaeological lead and silver material in very variable contents. As silver refining by cupellation involves the redistribution of some trace elements contained in the initial lead bullion into the litharge and silver phases, an interdisciplinary approach has been carried out to understand the behaviour of bismuth during this process. Twenty-eight fire-assays were processed with seven different Pb–Bi–Ag alloys of various Bi content. A chemical characterization of all products was carried out. Parallel to the experiments, a thermodynamic approach was undertaken. The combination of experiments and modelling shows that the Bi/Pb ratio can be used as a tracer in silver material throughout the whole cupellation process. Bi and Ag contents in metallic lead might as well highlight the metallurgical process used to obtain lead. High Bi contents in silver–lead bullions are shown to notably reduce the silver extraction yield.

Item Type:Article
HAL Id:hal-01187779
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:French research institutions > Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CNRS (FRANCE)
Other partners > Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales - EHESS (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier - UT3 (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Université Toulouse - Jean Jaurès - UT2J (FRANCE)
Other partners > Université de Technologie de Belfort-Montbéliard - UTBM (FRANCE)
French research institutions > Institut National de Recherches Archéologiques Préventives - INRAP (FRANCE)
Other partners > Ministère de la culture et de la communication (FRANCE)
Other partners > Université d'Orléans (FRANCE)
Other partners > Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis (FRANCE)
Other partners > Université Bordeaux Montaigne (FRANCE)
Laboratory name:
Deposited On:09 Nov 2018 09:53

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