about Bastian Asmus - archaeometallurgy | archaeometallurgy

about Bastian Asmus

After an apprenticeship as art founder in Nuremberg, I spent a year working in the bronze art foundary Alfred Zöttl in Vienna, Austria, working amongst others for such famous sculptors as Alfred Hrdlicka. I went to Vienna to improve my experience with a very specialized, and by that time, in Germany almost extinct sand casting technique, the so called Stückformverfahren. After years of solid and straight forward handicraft education I decided to take up the study of prehistory, anthropology and geology at the Eberhard-Karls University of Tübingen, Germany. At that time I began to reconstruct prehistoric tools of the bronze age. Several commissions for open air museums in Germany followed. I completed a Master of Science at the University of Cape Town on rock art. While in Cape Town I used my spare time to build up work experience with goldsmithing and jewellery techniques. In 2003 I graduated.
Between 2003 and 2005 I did a lot of work mediating between archaeological science and laymen holding courses and seminars on ancient bronze casting in museums, schools and dedicated societies. By the end of 2005 I resumed my studies and started my PhD at University College London on medieval copper smelting in Hartz mountains in northern Germany. After completing my dissertation in 2011 I started my own consulting business for archaeometallurgical studies. I own a lab for the preparation of polished sections, which I use with a polarising light microscope.
I own a  foundry in which old metallurgical techniques are being revived and artefacts are reconstructed    there, too. For the last 5 years or so I spent a lot of time reconstructing and using  medieval casting technology.


Although my work is primarily concerned with objects, I am interested in more than the object itself.  It is the ingenuity of human creativity I am focussing on, since the creativity allowed, and still allows us to react to the ever changing needs of our existence. In this respect I understand creativity as a much wider concept than for example referred to in fine arts. Creativity encompasses much more than the making of art objects. It is at the core of our being, and allows us to adapt to an ever changing  environment. The creative combination of tradition, knowledge and experience can lead to new developments that every now and then led to advancements for mankind.
The starting point for my work are, of course, the artefacts and my personal experience as craftsman in the field of non-ferrous metal work. I want to know how an object was made. This happens by employing several avenues of investigation. Starting at a macroscopic level, further investigations include microscopic and compositional studies. By comparing results of well documented experiment with ancient process debris and examining the similarities between experiment and original a likely scenario of an ancient production process may become apparent. Of course this does always encompass an element of interpretation, but until time travel is established, we might not get much closer to the truth (:

Especially intriguing moments are those, when we find things that went wrong in the past. Through this we can get a highly detailed glimpse of the person’s activity whose mistakes we uncovered in our excavation. It is intimes like these that the past becomes tangible.