Man's First Metal; Antique Copper

Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia), September 19, 2009 | Go to article overview

Man's First Metal; Antique Copper


Copper was the first metal to be used by man in any quantity. During the New Stone Age man first began to live in communities and utilise domestic implements. Stone, bone, pottery and wood were fashioned into tools and at some stage it was discovered that some of the 'stone' could be beaten into various shapes. Historians believe that the fashioning of metal mentioned here was probably carried out using either copper or gold and it is estimated that usage of these metals must date back at least 6000 years.

Copper derived its name during the early Christian era after having been called many names. Chalkos is one and explains why the Copper Age is still commonly known as the Chalkolithic, early Roman writings describe the usage of 'aes Cyprium' which indicates that the metal used by the Romans originated from Cyprus.

Due to the increasing demand for copper the Romans invaded Spain to gain access to the gigantic copper mines of Huelva which were established by the Phoenicians in 1200 BC.

The most important development in the history of the use of copper dates from around 3000BC when it was discovered that the metal could be blended with tin to produce bronze. The majority of surviving copper relics from early Egypt is, in a cast form, an art that this country developed to perfection. Progressively artists began fashioning elaborate figurines, jewellery and heavily decorated urns of all shapes and sizes. …

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