Skip to comments.Great Orme copper mine 'traded widely in Bronze Age' [Wales]
Posted on 10/31/2019 10:00:08 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
Great Orme copper found in Bronze Age artefacts "stretching from Brittany to the Baltic"North Wales was Britain's main source of copper for about 200 years during the Bronze Age, new research has found.
Scientists analysed metal from the Great Orme, Conwy, and found it was made into tools and weapons, and traded across what is today's Europe.
Historians once thought the Orme's copper mine - now a museum - had been a small-scale operation.
Experts now believe there was a bonanza from 1600-1400 BC, with artefacts found in Sweden, France and Germany.
The research, by scientists from the University of Liverpool, involved sampling copper ore from the old mine and a nearby smelting site.
It allowed experts like Dr Alan Williams, the geoarchaeologist who co-wrote the study published in the journal Antiquity, to create a "fingerprint" of the metal based on chemical impurities and isotopic properties.
"Remarkably, this metal is also found in bronze artefacts across Europe stretching from Brittany to the Baltic," he said.
Geological estimates suggest "several hundred tonnes of copper metal were produced, enough to produce thousands of bronze tools or weapons every year, equivalent to at least half a million objects in the 200-year bonanza period".
"This very extensive distribution suggests a large-scale mining operation [in Bronze Age terms], with a full-time mining community," he said.
Today, the copper mine is open to tourists after being uncovered in 1987 during landscaping on the Great Orme, itself a popular attraction.
It is now regarded as one of the largest prehistoric copper mines in the world.
(Excerpt) Read more at bbc.com ...
Does anyone know was it long distance trade? or more short hand to hand to hand hop style trading?
Really amazing what a world must of existed at some point in the anceint world that we have little understanding or knowledge of.
From what I have studied about this the primary spread and exchange was by sea, from Scandinavia through the Mediterranean and to the Black Sea.
Wow those had to be some brave sailors.
The most incredible sailors of the ancient world are the Polynesians!
When Caesar was conquering Gaul, he wound up deciding to make his two expeditions to Britain because his mainland adversaries were fleeing in their ships to the island. Celtic populations didn't get to Britain on foot, nor had those who'd been there when they arrived.
Seems to me there is a large difference between sailing across 19 miles of sea when you can see both coasts and sailing to the Baltic or the Mediterranean with a load of copper ingots
Several have been found on the bottom so they had reason to be brave. lol
There was more early sea travel than most think, and they are finding more evidence of this all the time.
It does not appear clear if any of the tin came from Oz.
Odd then that copper and tin in the Bronze Age turns out to have been in part sourced there, huh? Sailors don't hug the coast.
And still the modern view is that water was a barrier, not a superhighway.
Yep, this ignorance is one of my pet peeves. Humans were not hydrophobic until Hammurabi’s codes were written which instilled the universal superstitious fear of water. To this day universal superstition still prevails in the primal subconscious causing that common consensus of the hydrophobia. Just like the common hatred of serpents from the garden of eden, and the tendency to automatically say “Bless you” when someone sneezes and ejects evil spirits. A lot of archaeology and anthropology is still based on deep set subconscious religious superstition.
“I fear water so I KNOW early man definitely feared water, because I am much more intelligent than they were”. Well, maybe not... Maybe your own deep set superstitions are misplaced when using as a prerequisite.
They had to go there for the tin, if there was copper so much the better. They could come back with a full load.
Primates hate serpents. Probably because when they stick their little hands into a bird nest for eggs they could find the snake that had gotten there first.
OK, we can go with that if you like, there could be some primal instinct. But there are so called pagan cultures all over the world who have no fear of serpents, yet just about everyone with Christian roots has an ingrained deathly fear of all snakes. But my curiosity is with the early Christian hatred for snails, what’s that all about? :)
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