© Dominique BAGAULT / Benoît MILLE / C2RMF / CNRS Photothèque
Set of small ornaments produced by lost wax casting discovered during the excavation of the MR2 site at Mehrgarh (early Chalcolithic period, at the end of period III, 4,500-3,600 BC.), in present-day Pakistan. The secret of the manufacture of the amulet at bottom left has been revealed thanks to a new approach using UV/visible photoluminescence spectral imaging implemented by the Soleil synchrotron. This amulet is the oldest known object made using the lost wax process. This process uses a model sculpted in a material such as beeswax, which is then encased in clay. Wax melts at low temperatures so it runs out easily when the clay is heated. Molten metal is then poured into the empty clay mould, taking the place of the wax.
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