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Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Zinc Zone

Monday, February 13, 2017

Trenches China zinc smeltingIn central China’s Hunan Province, archaeologists have uncovered evidence of a zinc production site dating to the late Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). The finds include large smelting furnaces as well as zinc slag, the by-product of the conversion of zinc ores to pure zinc. Along with India, China was one of the major production centers for zinc between the twelfth and eighteenth centuries, after which the material began to be produced on a larger scale in Europe.

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