Copper exploitation

26 Jun 2010

www.sciencenews.org June 26th ... pieces of copper slag from smelting activity have been found in Serbia dating back as early as 7000 years ago. This is 500 years earlier than any significant sign of metallurgy in the Middle East - namely, in southern Iran around 6500 years ago. The Journal of Archaeological Science has the paper and says that other sites in SE Europe date from 6000 years ago and the contemporary Vinca culture is famous for its metal objects, including copper vessels. Experts have long thought that Anatolia was the region in which metallurgy developed - midway between the Balkans and the Middle East, but until an early site is found to prove this hypothesis it is all up in the air. It is only a matter of time before another site, somewhat earlier than the latest, is stumbled upon and labelled accordingly. In a catastrophist scenario it is possible metals were first noticed as a result of extreme heat - and the notion of smelting could have been applied in more than one region at roughly the same time.