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

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    Reminder (and a little bit off-topic): copper/cuprum has Greek origin. It comes from the word Κύπρος/Cyprus. The maps above show that Cyprus was full of that metal.
    Οι ηδονές είναι θνητές, οι αρετές αθάνατες.

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    Quote Originally Posted by motzart View Post


    I can now post the map!
    The map has at least one major inaccuracy. Tin was mined in Cornwall in Britain over 4000 years ago. The map shows copper mines in Britain but not its famous tin mines.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aberdeen View Post
    The map has at least one major inaccuracy. Tin was mined in Cornwall in Britain over 4000 years ago. The map shows copper mines in Britain but not its famous tin mines.
    I saw that map in Wikipedia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aberdeen View Post
    The map has at least one major inaccuracy. Tin was mined in Cornwall in Britain over 4000 years ago. The map shows copper mines in Britain but not its famous tin mines.
    You're right. I don't think it's totally accurate. It's also missing mines in Italy, including the famous copper mine in Liguria.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    You're right. I don't think it's totally accurate. It's also missing mines in Italy, including the famous copper mine in Liguria.
    There also seems to be a problem with the direction some of those arrows are going. The map shows an going from Denmark along the north coast of Europe and across to Britain. However, the British Copper Age started about 4500 years ago and lasted for about 350-400 years until the Bronze Age started in Britain, whereas Demark seems to have gone directly from the Stone Age to the Bronze Age starting about 3700 years ago, long after Britain became an important source of tin and a place were bronze tools were used. And interestingly enough, a recent analysis of the copper used to make the earliest bronze tools in Demark seems to have come from Iberia, which would seem to suggest that there weren't trade routes connecting Britain and Demark back then. The paper, by Ling et al, is entitled "Moving metals; provenancing Scandinavian Bronze Age artefacts by lead isotope and elemental analysis". It was published in the January 2014 edition of the Journal of Archeological Science (pages 105-132). And I'm wondering whether that arrow going from central Europe to Italy is accurate, given the 4800 year old Bell Beaker site in northwestern Italy, along the coast.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Well, the arrows indicate the amber routes, that is the countertrade in exchange for copper/ tin / bronze. Actually, the "Moving metals" paper includes better and more detailed maps on the trade flows, though it deals with central Sweden and not with Denmark, and their earliest bronze tools were made from Tyrolean, not Iberian copper....
    I intend to post details about it in my new "Bronze age trade networks" thread, once I have managed to extract the maps from that paper.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FrankN View Post
    Well, the arrows indicate the amber routes, that is the countertrade in exchange for copper/ tin / bronze. Actually, the "Moving metals" paper includes better and more detailed maps on the trade flows, though it deals with central Sweden and not with Denmark, and their earliest bronze tools were made from Tyrolean, not Iberian copper....
    I intend to post details about it in my new "Bronze age trade networks" thread, once I have managed to extract the maps from that paper.
    I don't read German, so can't comment on the paper that you're referring to. However, I think it's highly unlikely that any trade route connecting central Sweden to western Europe would exclude Denmark, and the arrows do seem to show a trade route from Denmark into Germany. But I'd be interested in reading what the authors of that paper have to say, including what evidence they have that contradicts the metal analysis of the paper I referred to. The problem with your map is that it lacks dates for when trade routes commenced, so it's difficult to assess how meaningful those arrows are. Everything I've read about the archeology of Europe suggests that there were trade routes along the Atlantic between Iberia and Britain long before metal came into use in Scandinavia, which happened rather late. I'll admit I'm surprised that metal analysis would show that Danish people were initially using copper from Iberia and not local copper or copper from Britain or the Hartz Mountains. If the Danes were originally using Iberian copper, that would suggest a controlling Iberian elite dominated metal trade along the Atlantic and North Sea at the beginning of the Bronze Age in Scandinavia. But if you have other evidence, I'd be interested in reading it in English, if possible, with relevant dates provided. I have difficulty in interpreting your colour coded timeline.

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    Sorry, I didn't provide the citations for the mines in Italy...

    Mid fourth-millennium copper mining in Liguria, North-west Italy: the earliest known copper mines in western Europe.
    Roberto Maggi and Mark Pierce
    http://beniculturali.altaviadeimonti...ntiquityML.pdf

    Early Metallurgy in the Central Mediterranean, Andrea Delfino, 2014
    http://www.academia.edu/5926123/Dolf..._York_Springer

    Some Aspects of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Metallalurgy in Liguria, Davide Delfino
    http://mgu.bg/geoarchmin/naterials/46Delfino.pdf








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    Sorry, I never provided the citations for the early copper age mines in Italy...

    Roberto Maggi and Mark Pearce, Mid-fourth millennium copper mining in Liguria, north-west Italy: the earliest known copper mines in western Europe.
    http://beniculturali.altaviadeimonti...ntiquityML.pdf

    Dolfini, Early Metallurgy in the Central Mediterranean, http://www.academia.edu/5926123/Dolf..._York_Springer

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Sorry, I never provided the citations for the early copper age mines in Italy...

    Roberto Maggi and Mark Pearce, Mid-fourth millennium copper mining in Liguria, north-west Italy: the earliest known copper mines in western Europe.
    http://beniculturali.altaviadeimonti...ntiquityML.pdf

    Dolfini, Early Metallurgy in the Central Mediterranean, http://www.academia.edu/5926123/Dolf..._York_Springer
    Thanks, Angela. I found the second article to be particularly informative and interesting. However, despite the comments in that paper about shepherd warriors from the Balkans subjugating the Italian population, I think the use of copper weaponry, while it obviously occurred, is not quite such an advance over stone weapons as bronze was to be, and that smelted copper tools probably had more of an impact in giving Copper Age people an advantage over Stone Age people. And the Copper Age people lacked other technology that would make conquest easy (such as the horse and chariot) so I personally suspect that any "conquest" was in the form of traders and copper makers being allowed to settle peacefully among Stone Age people, then outcompeting them or integrating with them, whereas later Bronze Age warriors with chariots would have had much more of a military advantage. But I suppose further archeology and DNA testing will eventually tell us if my suppositions are valid.

    It's too bad the paper didn't address the issue of glazed pottery in the context of copper smelting, since I'm convinced that copper smelting is easily discovered by anyone who tries to use copper ores to colour glazed pottery, and glazed pottery also provides the equipment necessary for copper smelting. That raises the possibility or probability that copper smelting could have been invented separately in several places, whereas something like the deliberate production of bronze tools with a specific percentage of another metal present requires much more specialized knowledge, so may have been more dependent on diffusion for its spread.

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    0 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    I posted the papers mostly for the dating aspect. Dolfini is reacting to scholarship which has held that metal working developed gradually in Italy during the mid-third millennium, and he is saying that a local tradition of copper and aresenical copper working emerged in central Italy in the early Copper Age (3600-3300 calendar B.C.), presumably following a short but momentous intensification period during the Final Neolithic, which might go all the way back to 4351 B.C.

    The comment about "shepherd warriors" from the Balkans introducing copper metallurgy is made in the context of explaining the earliest theories about metallurgy in Italy, and contrasting them with the views of Renfrew among others, that posited a blend of independent invention and cultural influence from the Balkans to explain it. Although, at the end of the paper he dismisses the possibility of independent invention on Sicily, or a transmission from either Iberia or the Aegean, and instead seems to tentatively see a source in the Balkans.

    However, he doesn't say anything about whether this influence would have involved a substantial movement of peoples from the area of the Balkans.

    As you know, I'm no longer so convinced that the spread of copper technology into Italy was accompanied by a necessarily large movement of people. Oetzi is the quintessential Neolithic farmer genetically even if he did have a copper ax and had arsenic in his blood. Of course, maybe the people in the Balkans whom I believe might have been the source of any such movement weren't so different yet either. Perhaps what change occurred came later in the mid third millennium with the Bronze Age proper.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Good discussions of early copper mines (including the Ligurian ones) are found here
    http://books.google.de/books?id=hefU...%20age&f=false (map on p 439!) and
    http://books.google.de/books?id=EbIV...%20age&f=false

    Note that central Alpine mines, especially the Mitterberg south of Salzburg and Brixlegg in North Tyrol, emerged as main Central European supply sources by the beginning of the Bronze age, though the other mines mentioned played as well important roles at least on a regional, possibly also on a continental scale (there remains a lot of archeometry to be done, especially in the Mediterranean).

    Typical Ösenring early bronze age copper ingots from Tyrolia & Salzburg, which possibly may also have served as currency. A distribution map (too large to be attached directly) is here: https://www2.uni-frankfurt.de/473888...tungskarte.jpg

    Quote Originally Posted by Aberdeen View Post
    It's too bad the paper didn't address the issue of glazed pottery in the context of copper smelting, since I'm convinced that copper smelting is easily discovered by anyone who tries to use copper ores to colour glazed pottery, and glazed pottery also provides the equipment necessary for copper smelting. That raises the possibility or probability that copper smelting could have been invented separately in several places, whereas something like the deliberate production of bronze tools with a specific percentage of another metal present requires much more specialized knowledge, so may have been more dependent on diffusion for its spread.
    I have seen several papers that support this thesis (due to a browser crash for too many pages opened simultaneously, I have unfortunately lost the links). In addition to the discovery of copper smelting, trade networks allowing for the dissemination of the technology are as well of interest. That would primarily be obsidian and flintstone trade, both of which imply a source population specialised in, and experienced with mining.

    Obsidian trade in the Western Mediterranean is, among others, discussed here: http://books.google.de/books?id=0HeN...ranean&f=false and here
    http://shell.cas.usf.edu/~rtykot/PR2...Res%202002.pdf (note the maps on the second page and in the discussion!). I personally think that this trade, as well as subsequent copper trade from Ligurian and Sardinian mines, can explain a lot about the distribution of the Sardinian I2a sub-clade.

    Wikipedia has a good overview on known prehistoric flint mines in Europe: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flint_mine
    Many of those mines supplied flint across several hundred km distances. The flint mining complex around Arnhofen (near Regensburg in East Central Bavaria), e.g., has been shown to have supplied the Lake Constance area, as well as Bohemia up to Prague: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feuersteinstra%C3%9Fe (in German only).
    This article http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index....d-relationship shows, for the chalcolithic, the overlap of supply regions between the Arnhofen mines and Monte Lessini in Northern Italy.
    http://arbannig.blogspot.de/p/region...neolithic.html puts the Limburg flint mines (southern Netherlands, supplying a/o the Rhineland between Cologne and Duisburg) into the context of LBK expansion from the upper Danube to the Rhineland and the Paris basin.

    Of particular interest are flint mines located close to copper mines that are known or supposed to have been exploited in the bronze age:


    Btw: Unlike commonly claimed, the flint mines of Spiennes, Belgium, are neither Europes oldest nor largest prehistoric flint mines. The Arnhofen mines in Bavaria, e.g. predate Spiennes by several centuries (which is consistent with the archaeological record of LBK expansion from the Danube to the Rhine and Belgium /northern France). The mines in Krzemionki (SE Poland) appear to have been at least as large, if not larger than the ones in Spiennes.
    Last edited by FrankN; 27-05-14 at 16:22. Reason: Problems with attached pictures/ maps

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    wiki on the 'Nuragic Civilization' article, at the 'Pre-Nuragic Sardinia' sections says - During this period copper objects and weapons also appeared in the island, ie BEFORE the coming of Beaker people around 2000bc. You also say that the oldest evidence of copper metallurgy is from Vinca/Serbia around 5500bc. Sardinia could be a hub for the neolithic expansion by sea just like Cyprus and Crete. I see on several maps that this neolithic expansion can be seen in 3 steps - 1] Old Europe/Vinca, 2] Croatia plus S of Italy (and o bit of central Italy, E shores) and Sardinia, than 3]S of Spain which appears on your map as early Iberian bronze. So could we think about a logical bronze expansion from Vinca to Spain through Sardinia? Sardinia was rich in copper mines, it later developed the Nuragic Bronze Culture, which was exporting copper products all over Mediterana, probably in relation with the Phoenicians also.

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    Vinca:The oldest evidence of copper metallurgy is from the Vinča culture in Serbia around 5500 BCE. From there is quickly spread to Bulgaria (Gumelniţa-Karanovo culture, etc.), then to the Carpathians (Cucuteni-Tripyllian culture) and the Danubian basin. These cultures of 'Old Europe' would have included haplogroups E1b1b, G2a, J and T (as well as I2a1 for Cucuteni-Tripyllian).
     where did they come? Is there any information about their roots?

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    Is there any vague chance that copper metallurgy was spread independently in some few different sites?

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    Another point to add here. Seems that Maciamo is another time not correct. As far as I know there's not yet been found any J2b2 nor J2b1 in southeast Europe during the copper age. How can be J2 related with the copper spread as long as the dominant Y-dna of Vinca culture was G2, and some less common as I2 and E1b1 ! Modern Albanians have a lot of J2b2 , but it is of Caspian steppe origin. It has nothing to do with the native calcolithic haplogroups. Stop speculating.

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