Peter T. Daniels wrote:
> Marco Cimarosti wrote:
> [...] Moreover, according to some
> technological arguments
> > that I have read, punches hard and resistible enough to
> allow multiple use
> > on clay should have been in metal, probably gold. Now, while it is
> > plausible that the scribes had enough gold to build the tip of a few
> > punches, it is less likely that they could afford a 14
> centimeters solid
> > ingot to print the whole disk.
> That doesn't make sense -- gold is the *softest* metal available in
> those days.
Right, sorry. I have poorly reported Louis Godard's point about the
production of the *single* punches used to impress the disk.
What Godard was saying is that gold is probably the only material *plastic*
enough to be molten (or manually carved) with the tiny symbols seen on the
disk and, at the same time, hard enough to endure for several usages. He
was also considering the issues of mounting the tiny types on some sort of
handle (probably wood sticks).
Moreover, I also abusively extended a reasoning about the production of the
single punches to Gerald Lange's hypothesis that the whole disk could have
been obtained from pressing wet clay into a mould.
In this case, the mould could also have been in relatively unresisting
material (such as chalk): even if the mould broke after a few copies, it
would have been possible to produce another one from the hand-made original.
If I am allowed a second possibility, I have another argument against
Gerald's hypothesis: seems to me that the signs on the disk are too sharp
and deeply impressed to be obtained from a mould. All the molten clay or
china that I have seen tends to always have very soft and rounded edges.
> They could have been stone (like cylinder or stamp seals), or wood, or
> baked clay.
According to Godard, hard materials like stone, porcelain, wood, bone would
have been either too hard to be worked, or too soft to endure several
usages. But I don't know whether this is just Godard's guess, or he has
made actual technological tests.