Serbian site may have hosted first copper makers





An archaeological site in southeastern Europe has shown its metal. This ancient settlement contains the oldest securely dated evidence of copper making, from 7,000 years ago, and suggests that copper smelting may been invented in separate parts of Asia and Europe at that time rather than spreading from a single source.

The find extends the known record of copper smelting by about 500 years, an archaeological team headed by Miljana Radivojević and Thilo Rehren of University College London reports in an upcoming Journal of Archaeological Science. The pair were joined by Serbian researchers, led by Dušan Šljivar of the National Museum Belgrade, and German scientists directed by Ernst Pernicka of the University of Tübingen.

Chemical and microscopic analyses of previously unearthed material from Serbia’s Belovode site have identified pieces of copper slag, the residue of an intense heating process used to separate copper from other ore elements. The raw material came from nearby copper-ore deposits in Serbia or Bulgaria, they add....


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