Introduction to Goldsmith Techniques in Syria during the Early and Middle Bronze Age


  • Ibrahim Ahmad Independent scholar



Syria, Bronze Age, goldsmiths, jewellery-making, metal-working, granulation, filigree


Jewels constitute a relevant form of documentation relating to the complex society and state formation process in Bronze Age Syria. They provide material evidence of various socioeconomic dynamics, including the capitalisation of precious metals (gold and silver), intensification of exchanges over long-distances, along with the emergence of specialised craftsmen and goldsmiths who mastered the know-how in metallurgy and the manufacture of complex objects. During the 3rd and early 2nd millennia BC jewellery became an important tradition, in response to an increased demand for luxury personal objects for social display by the early Syrian and Mesopotamian kingdoms. Innovative techniques were introduced and would, over time, be transmitted across the Near East and the Mediterranean to Greece, Etruria and Rome, where granulation and many different decorative motifs were appreciated and diffused. The long-lasting continuity of traditional jewellery with its distinct techniques and motifs down to modern times attests to the economic and social relevance of this craft and the capacity of the Bronze Age societies to create a highly specialised craftsmanship. This article aims to illustrate and analyse the techniques documented by the Syrian Bronze Age jewels.