The Birth of Metallurgy
Time – around 9000 B.C. A Stone Age hunter picks his way through a riverbed. He is looking for flint, suitable for tools and weapons. His eye is caught by the sight of a rock that glitters. He bends the rock, but it does not break or chip under the blows of his hammer stone. He shapes it into some little trinket such as a pin. in such a modest way metallurgy was born. Today it would be hard to imagine our civilization without metals. Every manufactured object has metal in it or was made by metal machines and transported on ships, trains, or trucks made of metal. without metals, we would literally be living back in the stone age. HISTORY OF CIVILISATION has been related to the development in Metallurgy and Materials technology. Metal production in Egypt- the cradle of civilisation- was known since 4th millenium BC. The Egyptians considered Gold – a metal never tarnished- to be a divine and thought that the flesh of Gods were made of it. Bones of Gods and the Moon were believed to be made of Silver.
The Age of Metals
There were three basic ages of metals in the ancient world. They were named after the dominant metal used for tools and weapons in that day and age: the Copper Age (c.4000 – 3000 B.C.E.), the Bronze Age (c.3000 – 1000 B. C.), and the Iron Age (c. 1000 B.C.E. to the present).
Metallurgy in ancient India
Began during the 2nd millennium BC and continued well into the British Raj. Metals and related concepts were mentioned in various early Vedic age texts. Metallurgy flourished in ancient India through the cultural and commercial contacts with the Near east and Greco Roman world. The Mughals (1526—1857) further improved the established tradition of metallurgy and metal working in India.
History of Metallurgy in the Indian Subcontinent
Coin of Samudragupta (BC 350-375) Iron Pillar – Delhi ( BC 375-413) Bronze Nataraja and Mahalakshmi statues – Chola period Dagger and its scabbard, India, 17th—18th century. Blade: Damascus steel inlaid with gold; hilt: jade; scabbard: steel with engraved, chased and gilded decoration. Akbarnama – written in August 12, 1602. It depicts the defeat of Baz Bahadur of Malwa by the Mughal troops in 1561. The Mughals extensively improved metal weapons and armor used by the armies of India. A typical sword made of wootz steel (about 18th century); the hilt is of iron and coated with a thick layer of gold. (Courtesy: R. Balasubramaniam) Georgius Agricola (Author of De re metallica, an important early work on metal extraction)