The manufacturing technique of Etruscan mirrors

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Publication Type:

Journal Article


Panseri, Carlo; Leoni, Massimo;


Studies in conservation, Volume 3, Number 2, p.49-63 (1957)


archaeometallurgy, bronze, chemical analysis, corrosion, Etruscan, Italy (Tarquinia), metallography, mirrors, x-ray diffraction


A detailed metallurgical examination of ten Etruscan bronze mirrors by chemical analysis, metallography (20 photomicrographs are reproduced), x-ray diffraction, and sclerometry is given. All specimens, except one, correspond closely in composition to a modern binary alloy used for castings. Impurities are remarkably low. No trace was found of a gold or silver coating on the reflecting surface but the authors suggest tinning as a possibility. Metallographs show the progress of corrosion, first intercrystalline, which is followed by intracrystalline corrosion along the slip planes.