The Croatian Apoxyomenos   …   The restoration of a 2,000-year-old bronze sculpture … may help modern scientists understand how to prevent metal corrosion, discover the safest ways to permanently store nuclear waste, and understand other perplexing problems. That’s the conclusion of a new study on the so-called “biomineralization” … in the current issue of ACS’ Crystal Growth & Design….

Biomineralization on an Ancient Sculpture of the Apoxyomenos: Effects of a Metal-Rich Environment on Crystal Growth in Living Organisms


Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.

Ariel’s Song, from The Tempest, by William Shakespeare



The Croatian Apoxyomenos   …   This bronze statue settled 45 meters beneath the waves of the Adriatic Sea, about 2,000 years ago,  perhaps during a tempest.



The Croatian Apoxyomenos

Standing 192 cm high, with red copper-inlaid lips and nipples, the statue represents an “apoxyomenos”, which is an athlete removing the oil and sand from his body with a small metal scraper called a strigil. Ancient athletes competed nude and outside; they covered their bodies in oil, which mixed with the sand of the palestra during their competition. The moment the artist chose to portray occurs after the athlete’s bout: his downcast gaze shows he was performing a specific gesture.  [Statues of champion athletes were sometimes made after olympic games.]


Cyprus — Island of Copper    …   Cyprus was famous in antiquity for its copper resources. In fact the very word copper is derived from the Greek name for the island, Kupros. Cypriots first worked copper in the fourth millennium B.C., fashioning tools from native deposits of pure copper, which at that time could still be found in places on the surface of the earth. The discovery of rich copper-bearing ores on the north slope of the Troodos Mountains led to the mining of Cyprus’ rich mineral resources in the Bronze Age at sites such as Ambelikou-Aletri. Tin, which is mixed together with copper to make bronze, typically at a ratio of 1:10, had to be imported. 

Britain — Island of Tin   …   Tin has played an important role in the development of human society. Either on its own or mixed with copper to form bronze, it had a place in everything from coins and jewellery to armour and weapons. But unlike copper, tin deposits are extremely rare, and ancient Mediterranean cultures (from the Bronze Age through to Roman times) had to look to the remote Atlantic fringes of Europe for their closest supplies.

South-west Britain was home to the largest European tin deposits, and this mineral wealth must have been a significant source of economic and cultural contact between Britain and mainland Europe. 

Where Did Odysseus Go?  (Edward Furlong)   …   A fascinating interpretation of the technical details in the Odyssey, suggesting a voyage route that included Britain.

The Bronze Age   …   Almost all copper ores contain some small proportion of arsenic, tin, zinc, antimony, or nickel, which mixes at the molecular level with the copper during smelting [and creates various forms of bronze]….

…The Bronze Age marks the time at which smiths became metallurgists, makers of magic, heroes, and gods. Bronze Age smiths were often buried with the tools of their trade: hammers, an anvil, knives and molds.

The Composition of Some Ancient Bronze in the Dawn of the Art of Metallurgy 

METAL WEB NEWS   …   Your Graphical On-Line Guide to Metalworking   …   Build a backyard forge, salvage some scrap copper and tin, and start casting bronze ornaments and statues.



THE AUCHENGEICH MINER   …   The 50th Anniversary of the Auchengeich Colliery Disaster – No day in the last century of Scottish mining was more tear-stained than September 18, 1959. In the space of just a few minutes, 47 miners died, 41 women were widowed and 76 children lost their fathers. Just one miner survived. The death toll from the underground fire in Auchengeich Colliery, in Lanarkshire, was the worst in the history of mining in [Scotland]. The tragedy decimated families.


Concierto de Aranjuez (Joaquin Rodrigo)

Grimethorpe Colliery Band, Brassed Off, 1996