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Thread: New map of the diffusion of the Copper Age in Europe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tabaccus Maximus View Post
    Allow me some latitude to be a crank here.. (and come up with more crazy Altaic theories)

    But let me suggest that cold working natural copper may have its origins in the Altai of Siberia and from thence later spread Eastward with the mound-building, copper cultures of North America, and earlier westward with the introgression of R peoples into the Near East. It doesn't surprise me that it appears in the Balkans with the Vinca or with the Halafian/Samarran cultures in Syria/Southern Anatolia whose identity or proximity to West Asian cultures has been proposed/hotely debated.

    There are several reasons to believe copper working started in the Altai:
    1. The melting of the graciers left large quantities of naturally occuring, scoured 99% copper ore exposed on the ground. This is important because most copper in later ages required extraction and refinement. No other scenario of less pure copper, much less extraction, makes any sense.
    2. Exposed, un-extracted copper is most common in this part of the world, very much unlike the Near East. Even today, the Siberian state which includes Yenesia is one of the top five copper producers. This is incredible given the other producers, including the U.S., explore and produce mostly new, deep earth areas.
    3. Cold working Glacial copper and Meteroic iron are the most intuitive scenarios in which early man would find interest. Cold working with hammer stones is how the Great Lakes indians worked copper into beautiful ornamental devices. Again, IMHO, this can only happen in a glacial environment in its beginning stages.
    4. The dating of Native American cold worked copper is a clear outlier to the supposed Near Eastern spread of copper working, unless both are derived from population movements originating in Northern Siberia.

    Most importantly, the appearance of copper smithing in the Near East is too advanced in its incipient phase. A long prerequiste period of cold working natural ore should be expected. The Near East/Balkans is not a good place to walk along an trip on natural ore.
    Metallurgy in any form in most periods appears to spread with R1b people from SW Asia throughout the Near East, Africa, China and Western Europe and with a second wave of Q people in the Americas.


    **EDIT** The map does look accurate based on current data. Thought I would clarify that. I'm not sure though if the grey areas are intentional or due to a lack of data.
    The settlement of the Americas seems to have happened in three phases, with the original wave happening about 15,000 years BP, a second wave that brought the Dene speakers to North America happening about 8,000 years ago and the Inuit arriving about 3,000 years ago. And the first examples of the exploitation of copper by Native Americans seem to date from 7,000 years ago. So the exploitation of copper through cold working could be related to the second wave of settlement, which may also be related to the frequency of R1b among Native Americans in North America, a phenomenon that largely doesn't occur among the Native Americans in South America. However, I think it's more likely that the cold shaping of copper was simply a result of people exploiting whatever resources were available to them. Large amounts of copper were extracted in the western part of the Great Lakes region perhaps just because it was readily available. It was originally cold worked and later annealed (heated with wood fires in order to shape it without melting it). The smelting of copper did occur in South America, but that seems to have been a separate and later development. Smelting did spread to Mesoamerica and the Aztecs seem to have been on the verge of a bronze age when the Spanish first arrived.

    I suspect that working cold copper would happen anywhere that copper nuggets, as opposed to copper alloy ores, occur naturally. Heat treating copper in wood fires seems like a natural next step. However, I suspect that copper smelting could only have started somewhere where coal was a readily available resource that was already being exploited. You can't smelt copper with wood fires, since they don't produce enough heat. Therefore I think that the first copper smelting in Eurasia would have occurred somewhere where both copper alloy ores and coal were readily available, not where pure copper was available. The ore had to be smelted to produce the copper and the coal provided the means, so shaping the smelted copper would follow naturally from that. Just a theory. I suppose that smelting for the sole purpose of shaping naturally occurring copper deposits could have happened anywhere that coal was being exploited as a heat source, but I think it's more likely that people who have previously been exposed to naturally occurring copper nuggets found both copper alloy ore and coal and used the coal to extract the copper from the ore.

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    Sorry for the second post, but I wanted to clarify something without further editing my previous post. I think copper smelting would have originated where there were surface supplies of copper or copper alloy ore and surface supplies of soft coal. If this theory is correct, perhaps that will narrow down the list of possible locations where copper smelting first occurred, assuming that the smelting of copper in Eurasia was only invented once.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aberdeen View Post
    The settlement of the Americas seems to have happened in three phases, with the original wave happening about 15,000 years BP, a second wave that brought the Dene speakers to North America happening about 8,000 years ago and the Inuit arriving about 3,000 years ago. And the first examples of the exploitation of copper by Native Americans seem to date from 7,000 years ago.

    can you tell me more about the wave arriving 8000 years ago ?

    the first wave was 15000 years ago, indeed, that is when the the coastal route between the cordillera icesheet and the coast opened
    proof of this is found in Monte Verde , Chile with dating 14500 years ago
    these were the haplo Q people

    the 2nd wave was 13000 years ago, with the clovis people :

    http://archaeology.about.com/od/clov...vis_people.htm

    'Clovis archaeological sites are dated between 11,000-10,800RCYBP (which converts to circa 12,500-12,900 calendar years before the present)'
    It thought these were R1b + C3.

    But if there was a 3rd wave 8000 years ago, than R1b and C3 came seperately.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Aberdeen View Post


    I suspect that working cold copper would happen anywhere that copper nuggets, as opposed to copper alloy ores, occur naturally. Heat treating copper in wood fires seems like a natural next step. However, I suspect that copper smelting could only have started somewhere where coal was a readily available resource that was already being exploited. You can't smelt copper with wood fires, since they don't produce enough heat. Therefore I think that the first copper smelting in Eurasia would have occurred somewhere where both copper alloy ores and coal were readily available, not where pure copper was available. The ore had to be smelted to produce the copper and the coal provided the means, so shaping the smelted copper would follow naturally from that. Just a theory. I suppose that smelting for the sole purpose of shaping naturally occurring copper deposits could have happened anywhere that coal was being exploited as a heat source, but I think it's more likely that people who have previously been exposed to naturally occurring copper nuggets found both copper alloy ore and coal and used the coal to extract the copper from the ore.
    the oldest known site where copper ore was smelted is in eastern Albania/Serbia , 7500 years ago
    they used malachite and azurite ores
    they made fine pottery there, which required ovens with high temperature
    furthermore these ovens were able to work with an oxidizing or reducing atmosphere depending on the type of coating and colour they wanted to apply on the pottery
    there where flint mines in that area
    in the same mines there was also malachite and azurite
    the powder of azurite and malachite was used for cosmetics
    these people allready knew about cold working of native copper
    somebody just started experimenting with malachite/azurite and pottery ovens
    but this couldn't have happened just anywhere

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    can you tell me more about the wave arriving 8000 years ago ?
    It would have been the speakers of ancestral Na-Dene. Their descendants are the Dene and Tlingit people of Northwestern North America (but not quite as much on the fringe as the Eskimo-Aleut), as well as the Navajo and Apache.

    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    'Clovis archaeological sites are dated between 11,000-10,800RCYBP (which converts to circa 12,500-12,900 calendar years before the present)'
    It thought these were R1b + C3.

    But if there was a 3rd wave 8000 years ago, than R1b and C3 came seperately.
    Na-Dene people are very high in C-P39. I don't know for sure that they were the only ones to have brought it, but they definitely ended up with the highest frequency.

    IMHO Amerind R1b was introduced by Europeans. I've yet to see evidence to contradict that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkey View Post
    It would have been the speakers of ancestral Na-Dene. Their descendants are the Dene and Tlingit people of Northwestern North America (but not quite as much on the fringe as the Eskimo-Aleut), as well as the Navajo and Apache.



    Na-Dene people are very high in C-P39. I don't know for sure that they were the only ones to have brought it, but they definitely ended up with the highest frequency.

    IMHO Amerind R1b was introduced by Europeans. I've yet to see evidence to contradict that.
    I meant R1 , not R1b
    and I know its controversial, there is no agreement upon this

    that is why I would like to know whether there was a 3rd wave, later than 13000 year ago

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    the oldest known site where copper ore was smelted is in eastern Albania/Serbia , 7500 years ago
    they used malachite and azurite ores
    they made fine pottery there, which required ovens with high temperature
    furthermore these ovens were able to work with an oxidizing or reducing atmosphere depending on the type of coating and colour they wanted to apply on the pottery
    there where flint mines in that area
    in the same mines there was also malachite and azurite
    the powder of azurite and malachite was used for cosmetics
    these people allready knew about cold working of native copper
    somebody just started experimenting with malachite/azurite and pottery ovens
    but this couldn't have happened just anywhere
    Okay, I was thinking that the first smelting of copper would have involved an attempt to mould pure copper ore into useful shapes, but perhaps people who were using coal fired furnaces for making pottery would have experimented with malachite and/or azurite in order to colour their pottery and found that they could separate out the copper at high enough temperatures. So the first smelting of copper could actually have been an accident, even if the use of cold shaped pure copper was already known at that time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkey View Post
    It would have been the speakers of ancestral Na-Dene. Their descendants are the Dene and Tlingit people of Northwestern North America (but not quite as much on the fringe as the Eskimo-Aleut), as well as the Navajo and Apache.

    Na-Dene people are very high in C-P39. I don't know for sure that they were the only ones to have brought it, but they definitely ended up with the highest frequency.

    IMHO Amerind R1b was introduced by Europeans. I've yet to see evidence to contradict that.
    The figures I've seen show very little C among the Dene, with Q being the most common in Dene tribes except for the Chipewayan, where 62.5% are R1 according to Bortolini. Of course, R1 is also common among some tribes that are not Dene. And the only reason I mentioned something controversial like that which might otherwise be considered off topic is because there was already some discussion in the thread about R1b being associated with the development of copper smelting. And Tabaccus Maximus mentioned that the use of cold worked copper in the Americas could have come from Siberia. But I think bicicleur makes a good argument for why copper smelting could have developed in the area of modern Serbia and Albania. Maybe someone was just trying to colour pottery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aberdeen View Post
    The figures I've seen show very little C among the Dene, with Q being the most common in Dene tribes except for the Chipewayan, where 62.5% are R1 according to Bortolini. Of course, R1 is also common among some tribes that are not Dene.
    Yeah, they are higher in Q than in C for sure, but definitely have higher C frequency than other Amerind groups from what I've seen (looking at Zegura 2004 now, with Bortolini also showing that a little).

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    the oldest known site where copper ore was smelted is in eastern Albania/Serbia , 7500 years ago
    they used malachite and azurite ores
    they made fine pottery there, which required ovens with high temperature
    furthermore these ovens were able to work with an oxidizing or reducing atmosphere depending on the type of coating and colour they wanted to apply on the pottery
    there where flint mines in that area
    in the same mines there was also malachite and azurite
    the powder of azurite and malachite was used for cosmetics
    these people allready knew about cold working of native copper
    somebody just started experimenting with malachite/azurite and pottery ovens
    but this couldn't have happened just anywhere
    I've been around there and in some areas the soil is just red from the minerals exposed to the surface. I bet they were trying to bake pottery and ended up with metals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kamani View Post
    I've been around there and in some areas the soil is just red from the minerals exposed to the surface. I bet they were trying to bake pottery and ended up with metals.
    I had been assuming that people started smelting copper in order to be able to work with it better than they could with cold copper. But I think it would be quite amusing is the creation of the Copper Age was an accident. Of course, if people did produce copper as a by-product of pottery making, they would very quickly realize they were on to something really useful. But perhaps if the people of that culture hadn't had such good pottery ovens, the Copper Age (and therefore probably the Bronze Age and the Iron Age) might have been delayed for who knows how long.

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    I think it makes a lot of sense to associate baking pottery with copper age revolution. It is true that copper in natural form could be found and cold molded for tools, and was in sporadic use very early, but ubiquitous copper use, the true copper revolution, only came with ability to smelt it and cast it.
    I checked couple of things to make sure that connection with baking pottery and copper smelting make sense. Clay pottery to harden needs to be baked in fire/heat. But how hot kiln needs to be to achieve the ceramic state of clay? Required temperature turned to be no less than 1,000 C, and in some cases as high as 1,400C for best quality. Now, temperature needed for melting copper is 1,084C. Well, it is a pretty much a bingo moment, lol. Pottery kilns were hot enough to melt copper.
    Interestingly, to cast copper we need clay/ceramic molds. Should we mentioned that clay molds were readily available around pottery kilns? A very convenient circumstance.
    Another interesting fact is that copper, copper oxide and dioxide, was used as pottery colorant. At this high temperatures copper evaporates in kiln and is absorbed by pottery, giving it greenish and reddish colour. This colouring technique could have been primary introduction of copper in kilns. From this it is only a short step to accidental invention of smelting copper.
    Be wary of people who tend to glorify the past, underestimate the present, and demonize the future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aberdeen View Post
    Okay, I was thinking that the first smelting of copper would have involved an attempt to mould pure copper ore into useful shapes, but perhaps people who were using coal fired furnaces for making pottery would have experimented with malachite and/or azurite in order to colour their pottery and found that they could separate out the copper at high enough temperatures. So the first smelting of copper could actually have been an accident, even if the use of cold shaped pure copper was already known at that time.
    The malachite/azurite was not used to colour pottery, it was cosmetic, to colour the skin.
    Malachite was also used to make jewelry, as is still done today.
    They didn't use coal, they made charcoal, causing deforestation.
    After this discovery, malachite/azurite mines appeared all over the Balkans.
    They didn't know of any other copper ores.
    Population in the Balkans grew very rapidly.
    They may have invented the plough.
    I suspect E-V13 arrived in the Balkans at that time, as the obsidian trade from Sicily and some small nearby islands had allready reached the Libyan coast by then.
    They used some symbols, nobody knows whether this was writing or not : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T%C4%83rt%C4%83ria_tablets
    It was the most advanced civilization of that period.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBrok View Post
    I think it makes a lot of sense to associate baking pottery with copper age revolution. It is true that copper in natural form could be found and cold molded for tools, and was in sporadic use very early, but ubiquitous copper use, the true copper revolution, only came with ability to smelt it and cast it.
    I checked couple of things to make sure that connection with baking pottery and copper smelting make sense. Clay pottery to harden needs to be baked in fire/heat. But how hot kiln needs to be to achieve the ceramic state of clay? Required temperature turned to be no less than 1,000 C, and in some cases as high as 1,400C for best quality. Now, temperature needed for melting copper is 1,084C. Well, it is a pretty much a bingo moment, lol. Pottery kilns were hot enough to melt copper.
    Interestingly, to cast copper we need clay/ceramic molds. Should we mentioned that clay molds were readily available around pottery kilns? A very convenient circumstance.
    Another interesting fact is that copper, copper oxide and dioxide, was used as pottery colorant. At this high temperatures copper evaporates in kiln and is absorbed by pottery, giving it greenish and reddish colour. This colouring technique could have been primary introduction of copper in kilns. From this it is only a short step to accidental invention of smelting copper.
    Indeed, you do not need an oven to make simple pottery, that can be done in an open fire.
    But for fine pottery, with proper glazing, you need higher temperatures and also some control over the amount of oxygen inside the oven.
    I didn't know about the use of copper as pottery colorant. That's interesting.

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    2 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    There's a really interesting article at antiquity.ac.uk/Ant/087/1030/ant0871030.pdf re the discovery of 6500 year old tin bronze from the Balkans. It seems that bronze was created there at an earlier date than was previously believed, but the techniques may have been temporarily lost with the subsequent collapse of the cultures that created it.

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    I have read that most early bronzes were arsenic bronze, and the bronze age was also an accidental find. I guess arsenic is a common containment found in most ores. I would guess that a form of bronze would be found beside the oldest cooper. I don't think that bronze was purposely made until much later.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ebAmerican View Post
    I have read that most early bronzes were arsenic bronze, and the bronze age was also an accidental find. I guess arsenic is a common containment found in most ores. I would guess that a form of bronze would be found beside the oldest cooper. I don't think that bronze was purposely made until much later.
    That's been the opinion so far, but read the article - it says otherwise. They found tin bronze in the Balkans that was deliberately smelted about 6500 years ago. That predates bronze production in Anatolia.

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    They were using stannite a copper-tin-iron ore. They were picking minerals based on color, not on any true known bronze making knowledge. The earliest tin-bronze samples had plenty of other contaminants. We don't see true bronze working until the early 3rd Millennium BC in Mesopotamia. We see the first pure copper artifacts with deliberately controlled tin amounts in the middle-east. The Vinca were using what natural minerals were available to produce copper artifacts and getting a whole range of different copper/bronze derivatives.
    Last edited by ebAmerican; 21-01-14 at 23:20. Reason: cooper -> copper

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    I suspect that making bronze by accident as a result of smelting copper ore that already as tin in it is what lead to bronze production through the deliberate addition of tin. Just as copper smelting was probably discovered by accident by people wanting to use copper ores to colour pottery, the making of bronze could have happened by accident as a result of "impurities" in copper ore. But once you have a product like bronze, you want to make lots of it, so if your copper/tin alloy ore is limited, you figure out how to reproduce the results by mixing different ores together in the smelting process.

  20. #45
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    I have a very hard time believing that copper age metallurgy was spread into Europe by haplogroup J considering that there are zero examples of Neolithic or Copper age J found in Europe to date. It seems there are two possibilities, it originated in the Balkans and spread east along the coast of the Black Sea, or it originated in the Caucasuses and spread west along the southern coast of the black sea. Being adopted originally by more stationary cultures (Cucuteni-Tripyllian, Maykop) and ignored by the more nomadic ones (Yamna). The dates of the finds seem to imply a Balkan origin. I think the distribution of the finds also implies a Balkan origin, if it was a Caucasus origin we would likely see more of an eastward distribution rather than the sharp cut east of those areas.

    If I were to put a haplogroup label on the spread I would say it was spread by pre-indo european R1b, spreading metallurgy westward from the Balkans as they moved towards Iberia. I would even go further as to say those that made it to Iberia adopted the proto-basque language and bell beaker culture of the indigenous Iberians and then spread it eastward. Bold statements I know

    also, there is a really great map of the spread of metallurgy on wikipedia that I can't post here ... because I don't have 10 posts yet :/

    upload (dot) wikimedia (dot) org/wikipedia/commons/f/fb/Metallurgical_diffusion.png

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    J2 still have a strong signature in Balkans and in Varna area where metallurgy probably originated. My top pick is J2 as main HG, although surely there were other farmer's haplogroups involved too. R1s the Indo Europeans are out of question during copper age in Europe, not until late copper perhaps.
    I'm so looking forward sequencing Varna and Cucuteni DNA.

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    2 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    After looking at this publication
    http://www.bergbaumuseum.de/index.ph...-2010-georgien ,
    I think the map's colouring of Georgia needs some review. There is a map of bronze-age mines in the Caucasus on p.3, the C-14 dates for several mines can be found on page 4. Copper mining in Abkhazia started before 3.500 BC, and in Svaneti and Racha (upper Rioni valley) before 2.000 BC. More than 20 prehistoric mines in north-western Georgia have been documented so far. Noteworthy is also mining of arsenic and antimony in Racha since the 3rd millennium. Both metals can replace tin in copper alloys (bronze).

    For East Georgia and Azerbaijan see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kura-Araxes_culture (check the enclosed map)
    In its earliest phase, metal was scant, but it would later display "a precocious metallurgical development which strongly influenced surrounding regions". They worked copper, arsenic, silver, gold, tin, and bronze.

    Their metal goods were widely distributed, recorded in the Volga, Dnieper and Don-Donets systems in the north, into Syria and Palestine in the south, and west into Anatolia.
    As such, there should not be any "grey area"" separating the Eurasian steppe from the Caucasus and/ or northern Anatolia. However, according to
    http://kura-arax.tau.ac.il/system/files/Kohl.pdf
    The new high dating of the Maikop culture essentially signifies that there is no chronological hiatus separating the collapse of the Chalcolithic Balkan centre of metallurgical production and the appearance of Maikop and the sudden explosion of Caucasian metallurgical production and use of arsenical copper/bronzes. More than forty calibrated radiocarbon dates on Maikop and related materials now support this high chronology; and the revised dating for the Maikop culture means that the earliest kurgans occur in the northwestern and southern Caucasus and precede by several centuries those of the Pit-Grave (Yamnaya) cultures of the western Eurasian steppes.
    As such, the Caucasus should probably be several grades darker than the steppes.

    Last month, a new paper "The Beginning of Metallurgy in the Southern Levant: A Late 6th Millennium CalBC Copper Awl from Tel Tsaf, Israel" has been published:
    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%...l.pone.0092591
    A recently discovered copper awl from a Middle Chalcolithic burial at Tel Tsaf, Jordan Valley, Israel, suggests that cast metal technology was introduced to the region as early as the late 6th millennium CalBC. This paper examines the chemical composition of this item and reviews its context. The results indicate that it was exported from a distant source, probably in the Caucasus. (...)

    The earliest extractive metallurgy in the southern Levant is typically connected with the Late Chalcolithic period (ca. 4500–3800 CalBC) and reliable 14C dates show that the prestige items were manufactured as early as 4350–4250 CalBC [28]–[29]. In the southern Levant, an extremely elaborate tradition developed using lost-wax casting of combining copper ores with high antimony or nickel content with arsenic rich ores to cast prestige objects, as known at various sites in southern Israel [30]–[33]. (...) The elaboration of south Levantine Late Chalcolithic metallurgy means that with our current archaeological record, the peak of the technical evolution of copper metallurgy is set at its beginning. In our opinion, this suggests that large parts of the technological evolution of metallurgy have not yet been discovered. Indeed, the Tel Tsaf awl dated to ca. 5100–4600, centuries earlier, would thus fill an important gap in the picture. However, the high percentage of tin in the awl could be used to argue that the item was an intrusive object from a much later period—although during the excavation no disturbances were documented and the context was sealed by mudbricks and stone slabs and cobbles.

    Recently, new data on very early copper artifacts in the northeastern Near East and the Balkans indicate that tin was found in some of the early metal items known in this area [35]–[37]. Another example comes from the Late Neolithic mound of Aruchlo I in Georgia, 5800–5300 CalBC [38]. This is a heavily corroded, small, ring-shaped bead, and therefore it is unclear whether it was cast or hammered. XRF-analysis identifies copper, iron, arsenic and a larger amount of tin. It was suggested that the object was made from a polymetallic raw-material, i.e. a natural copper-tin alloy [38]–[39]. A final analysis of the bead recently confirmed a copper-based (84.991%) alloy with high amounts of tin (8.350%) as well as arsenic (3.016%) and iron (3.643%) [40].

    Even though it could be argued that the items from Aruchlo I and Tel Tsaf are later intrusions which were brought into earlier archaeological layers by post-depositional processes, this seems to be less plausible because there are no known later settlement traces at either site. Since artificial alloying would also be very improbable at such an early time, a natural copper-tin alloy is, at the moment, an interpretation worth considering. Copper sources with a natural tin-copper alloy are known inter alia in Mušiston, Tajikistan [41]–[42]. The easy availability of tin and the knowledge of natural tin-copper alloys could be one reason why the alloying of tin-bronze took place in the Caucasus significantly earlier than in neighboring regions, namely in the 4th millennium CalBC [43].

    If one accepts the Aruchlo I bead as non-intrusive, it demonstrates the possibility of the extraction and use of natural tin-copper alloys as early as the 6th millennium CalBC. This, in turn, also opens the possibility that the item from Tel Tsaf was made from a natural tin-copper source and transported to the Jordan Valley via long-distance exchange networks, which also brought obsidian, groundstone items and other goods from Armenia, Anatolia and Syria through the Levantine Corridor.
    Note that Aruchlo is in East Georgia, approximately 50 km south from Tbilissi, and thus within the region of the Kura-Araxes Culture and its obsidian-based predecessors. The Kura-Araxes culture did not include West Georgia (Colchis). This, however, does not mean the Western Caucasus had no metallurgical tradition. This paper by the British Museum http://www.britishmuseum.org/pdf/6a%...xt-opt-sec.pdf states:
    By the MBA of the northern Caucasus, the rich kurgan burials of the Maikop culture have declined and have been largely replaced by burials in pits or small cists. Chernykh (1992) sees two distinct foci, the Terek River in the east and the Kuban River in the west. (..)

    The Late Bronze Age: mid-2nd to1st millennium BC

    The LBA and Early Iron Age saw an increase in the metallurgical activity in these areas which to some extent was in decline towards the end of the MBA. Chernykh (1992) suggests this is associated with the growing exploitation of copper and polymetallic deposits associated with primary (sulfidic) copper minerals. He sees the deposits of the Little (or southern) Caucasus as the main focus for this new surge in mining activity. Pyritic copper mines have been identified in the main Caucasus range, and over a hundred are known from the Gornaya Racha region of Transcaucasia which also produced antimony and arsenical ores (Chernykh 1992: 276). Many of the objects in the British Museum’s collection are typical of LBA metal production. Perhaps underrepresented in the collection are the highly decorated incised axes with stylized zoomorphic designs. The typology of these and other tools are the basis for the division of the Caucasian metallurgical province into two regions: the
    western Koban-Colchidic zone and the eastern Caucasian-Caspian zone.
    As such, while ore mining and metallurgy may have commenced earlier in the Kura-Araxes zone, benefitting from established obsidian trade routes to the Levante, it should also have been present in the Western Caucasus by the beginning of the 4th millennium BC. Considering that, according to the Israeli paper cited above, copper-antimony alloys have been casted in the Levante since 4.500 BC, and the only known and exploitable Near East sources of Antimony are Armenia and Racha on the south-western slope of the Great Caucasus (source in link below), metallurgy, or at least antimony mining for export, in West Georgia has most likely already started in the 5th millennium BC.
    http://books.google.de/books?id=C-TQ...eorgia&f=false
    This on-going research project may tell us more: http://www.ritak-leibniz.de/tiki-ind...?page=anatolia

    Further reading:
    http://archaeology.about.com/od/dter...zuana_cave.htm
    http://www.academia.edu/4647062/Anci...ern_Azerbaijan
    http://www.ajaonline.org/sites/defau...Amzallag_0.pdf
    http://link.springer.com/chapter/10....4614-9017-3_22
    http://www.archatlas.org/ObsidianRou...dianRoutes.php

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    I can now post the map!

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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by motzart View Post


    I can now post the map!
    ...which I already was aware of, and that is actually quite nice, except that it lacks a few mining sites that are important to understand cultural diffusion, especially:
    1. prehistoric cppper mines on Menorca - add in the old obsidian trade network around Sardinia and Lipari, and you start to understand how metallurgy made its way to southern Spain, plus the distribution of Y-DNA haplogroup I2a1a1
    2. (a) The tin and copper deposits in the Ergebirge ("ore mountains") and the Fichtelgebirge along the German-Czech border, plus
      (b) copper (+silver) in the Harz, and the Mansfeld copper deposits just east of the Harz.
      Both combined give you a clue on the "northward bay" metallurgy shows around the upper and middle Elbe (in that respect, maciamo's map is actually better than the Wikipedia one), the regional spread of the Unetice culture, the oppida network of central European Celts, the yDNA I2a2 distribution, etc.


    Now that I can include links and pictures, I will post some more related to the above ..

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    Metalurgy in the Elbe-Saale (Harz) region

    A recent paper (2012, in German) discusses a copper dagger that has been found in a late Neolithic grave from Aspenstedt near Halberstadt (15 km north of the Harz mountains), and uses the opportunity to, based on other finds in the region, reconstruct the early history of metallurgy in the area:
    http://www.uni-kiel.de/ufg/bereiche/dateienJMueller/mueller_2012_pz.pdf


    According to the paper, the process included the following stages:
    1. 4.100-3.800 BC : Occasional import of copper tools from western Slovakia (9 finds in total). The origin might be the place described in this paper: http://www.vfg.uni-wuerzburg.de/fors...r_near_vrable/
    2. 3.800-3.500 BC: Increased occurrence of copper artefacts (now also decorative items in addition to tools), and indication of local processing of imported copper. The supply source shifts towards East Alpine Mondsee copper (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondsee_group). The Aspenstedt dagger, a Mondsee dagger that exhibits signs of local re-shaping, belongs into this group.
    3. 3.500- 3.350 BC: First indication of the use of local copper alongside imported one.
    4. 3.350 - 3.100 BC: Strong increase in copper finds (8% of all locations, compared to 4% before), mostly decorative items, increasingly produced from local copper.
    5. 3.100 - 2.800 BC: Further increase of copper finds (11% of all locations). The increased occurrence of copper axes, produced from local copper, indicates a well developed local tool making industry.


    As a dagger similar to the Aspenstedt one has been found in Bygholm, Jutland, the paper also examines parallels to the metallurgical development in the Western Baltics / Southern Scandinavia. It concludes a similar, though slightly delayed development for the Western Baltics / southern Scandinavia until 3.350 BC. However, it is not clear whether southern Scandinavia already used local copper between 3.500 and 3.350. After 3.350, the south Scandinavian metallurgical tradition apparently breaks, to only reappear more than a millennium later in the Nordic Bronze age. Reasons for this break are not discussed in the paper.

    In any case, the paper suggests that in both maciamo's map and the Wikipedia map posted by motzart, the Elbe-Saale-Harz region (possibly also the Western Baltics) needs to be coloured in a darker brown. The fact that by 3.800 BC Mondsee copper was already traded towards the Harz area suggests that metallurgy in Eastern / central Austria probably already started in the 5th millennium BC.

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