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The discovery of a mysterious copper artefact at a Neolithic tomb on Anglesey could help to answer one of archaeology’s burning questions.
Dr George Nash, who led the excavation at Perthi Duon near Brynsiencyn, says the find could lend weight to the idea of a British Copper Age, which is currently being debated by archaeologists.
An international team of archaeologists from the Welsh Rock Art Organisation recently excavated the site and uncovered “several significant features”, said Dr Nash.
Among them was the “curious” copper artefact, which could be a piece of jewellery worn thousands of years ago. Dr Nash said: “This item could be an important discovery which may reinforce the notion of a Copper Age in the British Isles.
Copper items from the British Neolithic (c. 4000 – 2,000BC) and Early Bronze Age (c. 2,500 – 1,800BC) are considered rare.”
While a Copper Age has long been recognised in Europe, the question of whether Britain experienced such a period is still debated by archaeologists. Dr Nash said: “The big question in archaeology at the moment is whether there was a Copper Age in Britain. “Did copper come to Britain before bronze? “This discovery helps to suggest that we did have a Copper Age.”
We divide the ancient past into three ages: stone, bronze and iron. But leading archaeologists are saying Britain also had a copper age, between stone and bronze at around 2500–2200BC
Although British prehistorians recognised long ago that there was a phase of copper metallurgy before bronze, they have seen little cause to define a "chalcolithic" period (or "copper age").
This is at least partly due to the relative brevity of the phase, copper having arrived on our shores late in terms of the pan-European scene (current dating c2450BC), it then being superseded not many centuries later by alloyed bronze (c2150BC).
originally posted by: Jennyfrenzy
a reply to: Xcathdra
The weather in the Britah Isles can be harsh, causing deterioration of the copper.