New Materials in the Ancient Past: The Story of the Earliest Iron

Science on Tap
Monday, June 13, 2022
6:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m. EDT (UTC -4)

At this month’s virtual Science on Tap, the Penn Museum’s Vanessa Workman will address cultural shifts prompted by iron use in the eastern Mediterranean and Near East.


Vanessa Workman and students conduct iron experiments

Courtesy of Vanessa Workman

The transition from the so-called “Bronze Age” to the “Iron Age” was a major turning point for the civilizations of the eastern Mediterranean and the Near East. It signaled the reorganization of political territories, the rise of new group identities, and the arrival of a new and consequential material: iron. The talk will address what we understand today about the earliest iron in the region, its influence on local cultures, and how researchers use unique approaches in archaeological science to reveal crucial information about complex pyro-technologies of the past.

This event is free, but registration is required.

About the Speaker


Vanessa Workman

Courtesy of Vanessa Workman

Vanessa Workman is a teaching specialist in archaeometallurgy at the Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials (CAAM) at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and a lecturer in the department of Near Eastern languages and cultures. Her research interests converge at the micro-analysis of materials produced in the past and the social and economic significance of craft production industries to the economies of the eastern Mediterranean and Near East.

About the Series

Science on Tap is a monthly virtual speaker series that features brief, informal presentations by Philadelphia-based scientists and other experts followed by lively conversation and a Q&A. The goal is to promote enthusiasm for science in a fun, spirited, and accessible way, while also meeting new people. Come join the conversation!