Crucibles

These small clay crucibles with spouts were used to melt metal for casting. Penn Museum Objects BCES 760/2826 (upper right), BCES 478/1367 (center left), and BCES 419/1205 (lower right).
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These small clay crucibles with spouts were used to melt metal for casting. Penn Museum Objects BCES 760/2826 (upper right), BCES 478/1367 (center left), and BCES 419/1205 (lower right).
These small clay crucibles with spouts were used to melt metal for casting.

These thick-walled spouted vessels were made of clay. Analysis of the interiors shows that they were used to melt bronze, copper, and tin for casting in molds. A notable feature of crucibles in the Ban Chiang area is lagging, the thin quartz-rich clay layer deliberately added to the interior of the crucible. The lagging layer would tend to reflect heat into the metal and also retard crucible disintegration. The use of a lagging layer indicates that the Ban Chiang metalworkers possessed a sophisticated understanding of refractory principles. Some crucible fragments have several layers of lagging, indicating that they were used repeatedly.

Crucible illustration:  This is a suggested reconstruction of the process in which metal was melted in a crucible set into the ground. Illustrated by Ardeth Abrams.
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Crucible illustration: This is a suggested reconstruction of the process in which metal was melted in a crucible set into the ground. Illustrated by Ardeth Abrams.
Crucible illustration

Read more about the process in the following articles: