Casting Was Thriving and Systemized 2,800 Years Ago

An ancient bronze foundry dating to 770 BC has been discovered in in Guanzhuang, China. Archaeologists uncovered the world’s oldest known coin mint, along with pieces of spade-shaped metal currency by using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dating, according to an article at

A skilled trade production area hosted workshops for the creation of bronze, ceramic, jade, and bone tools and objects. Among those structures, the bronze foundry was the largest, with over 2,000 pits for production waste—some almost 10 ft. wide and 8 ft. deep. Remains of crucibles and ladles were uncovered.

The discovery included over 6,000 clay molds used to produce ritual vessels, weapons, chariot fittings, musical instruments, ornaments, and tools.

“All the clay cores,” reported, “were very similar, meaning there was a ‘high degree of standardization [in the] spade coins minted at Guanzhuang,’ according to the researchers [at Zhengzhou University]. ‘The clay cores were carefully made with the aid of a measuring tool to regulate their size and minimize variation.’”     CS

Click here to view the article in the November/December 2021 Casting Source digital edition.