Sylvain Bauvais is an archaeologist; he is a paleometallurgist specialised in iron metallurgy. His work focuses on two main research axes:

  • Human-environment interaction in the evolution of the organisation of iron production;
  • Provenance and circulation of iron products: short, medium and long distance.

These two axes cover all the interactions between man and his environment in relation to iron metallurgy. They offer the opportunity to address the economic, technical and societal systems and to show how economic and societal organisation allows overcoming environmental and technical imperatives.

The chronological and geographical components of his work have so far focused mainly on the European Iron Age, and it is with the same methodological orientation and in pursuit of his two research axes that he is now undertaking a new cycle of study in Israel.

The southern Levant has the specificity of being very poor in exploitable iron ore in ancient times. This area has therefore always been in a position of dependence on the exchange networks for the development of local iron metallurgy. In addition, it has been subject to constant conquest and occupation. The iron trade had to follow the vagaries of these different forms of political and religious power and control according to geopolitical and economic affinities (conquerors, settlers, traders, etc.).

The programme he is initiating in Israel attempts to identify the fluctuations in the organisation of iron production and trade over the long time in order to understand the role of this material and its issues in Levantine societies from the Iron Age to the Ottoman Period.

Selective bibliography:

Bauvais S., M. Berranger, P. Dillmann, A. Disser, S. Leroy, P. Fluzin 2021 : Le fer des principautés : “L’Économie du fer” dans le nord-est de la France au Hallstatt D et à La Tène A1. In Brun P. B. Chaume et F. Sacchetti (eds.) : Vix et le phénomène princier des VIe-Ve s. av. J.-C. Colloque de Châtillon-sur-Seine, 2016. Éditions Ausonius, Bordeaux (DAN@, 5). (

Bauvais S. 2021: Iron Forging in Ottoman Jaffa: A Metallographic Study of Iron Slags. In Y. Arbel (ed.): Excavations at the Ottoman Military Compound (Qishle) in Jaffa, 2007, 2009. The Jaffa Cultural Heritage Project Series, Volume 4, Münster, Zephon (Ägypten und Altes Testament 91).

Peak R., S. Bauvais, C. Hamon, C. Mordant (eds.) 2020 : La spécialisation des productions et les spécialistes. Session XXXIV-2 du XVIIIe Congrès de l’UISPP, Actes de la séance de la Société préhistorique française (Paris, 5 juin 2018), Paris, Société préhistorique française, 240 p., (Séance de la Société préhistorique française, 16). (

Berranger M., S. Bauvais 2020 : Changements sociétaux et évolution de l’économie du fer du Hallstatt D à La Tène D dans le Nord-Est de la France. Bulletin de la Société Préhistorique Française, 117, (4), p. 641-671.

Disser A., S. Bauvais, P. Dillmann 2020: Transformations of the chemical signature of slag inclusions throughout experimental refining and first shaping of bloomery iron: New methodological developments. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 34, (B), (

Leroy S., S. Bauvais, E. Delqué-Količ, M. Hendrickson, N. Josso, J.-P. Dumoulin, D. Soutif 2020: First experimental reconstruction of an Angkorian iron furnace (13th–14th centuries CE): Archaeological and archaeometric implications. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 34, (A), (

Bauvais S., M. Berranger, M. Boukezzoula, S. Leroy, A. Disser, E. Vega, M. Aubert, P. Dillmann, P. Fluzin 2018 : “Guard the Good Deposit”: Technology, Provenance and Dating of Bipyramidal Iron Semi-Products of the Durrenentzen Deposit (Haut-Rhin, France). Archaeometry, 60, (2), p. 290-307. (

Dillmann P., R. Schwab, S. Bauvais, M. Brauns, A. Disser, S. Leroy, G. Gassmann, P. Fluzin 2017: Circulation of iron products in the North-Alpine area during the end of the first Iron Age (6th-5th c. BC): A combination of chemical and isotopic approaches. Journal of Archaeological Science, 87, p. 108-124. (

Galili E., S. Bauvais, B. Rosen & P. Dillmann 2015 : Cargoes of Iron Semi Products recovered from shipwrecks off the Carmel coast, Israel. Archaeometry, 54, (3), p. 505-535. (

Disser A., P. Dillmann, C. Bourgain, M. L’héritier, E. Vega, S. Bauvais & M. Leroy 2014: Iron reinforcements in Beauvais and Metz Cathedrals: from bloomery or finery? The use of logistic regression for differentiating smelting processes. Journal of Archaeological Science, 42, (1), p. 315-333. (

Bauvais S. 2013: Forging Activities in Jaffa during Ottoman Palestine. In J. Humphris & T. Rerhen (eds.): World of Iron Conference. Actes du colloque de Londres. Archetype Publications, London, p. 223-233.

Bauvais S. 2008 : Prolégomènes à une histoire de la métallurgie du fer au Levant Sud. Bulletin du CRFJ, 19. Jérusalem, e-publication. (