Audrey Lam '20 uses experimental archaeology to translate 16th century treatise on Metallurgy and Bladesmithing

Lam's project brought experimental archaeology, translation theory and archaeological case studies to bear on Biringuccio's intricate 16th century treatise De la Pirotechnia, a text which has only been translated into English once before. Working with local bladesmiths and metallurgical specialists, she took courses in bladesmithing, interviewed specialists and smelted steel from local iron ore sands in a handbuilt furnace. By blending her knowledge of metal craftsmanship with archaeological case studies of 16th century eapons, Lam produced a nuanced translation and commentary for two of Biringuccio's central chapters on steel smelting, quenching and tempering. Her work also explored the theoretical intersection between transcription, translation, and reproduction as they are understood in literary and archaeological terms.