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World's oldest Copper Age settlement found - in Serbia

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posted on Nov, 15 2010 @ 07:19 PM
World's oldest Copper Age settlement found

A "sensational" discovery of 75-century-old copper tools in Serbia is compelling scientists to reconsider existing theories about where and when man began using metal. Belgrade - axes, hammers, hooks and needles - were found interspersed with other artefacts from a settlement that burned down some
7,000 years ago at Plocnik, near Prokuplje and 200 km south of Belgrade.

The village had been there for some eight centuries before its demise. After the big fire, its unknown inhabitants moved away. But what they left behind points to man's earliest known extraction and shaping of metal.

This dating actually trumps the age of artifacts found in Asia Minor or elsewhere in the Near East. The Indo-European people's who inhabited this region at the end of the Neolithic were the Illyrians and Thracians, the Thracians were already considered advanced in metallurgy.

If I'm not mistaken current thinking is that metallurgy began in Asia Minor and spread to Egypt and Europe, but that might need to be rethought, it could have spread there from Europe, then to the rest of the Near East and Egypt. (from "What Happened in History", Gordon Childe, 1946) In fact it looks like these "advanced civilizations" were taking their metallurgy cues from Northern European barbarians!

Scientists are debating whether the Plocnik village led the world to the Copper Age in the 6th millennium BC, particularly as remains of primitive copper smelters were recently found not far away, near today's mines and smelters in Majdanpek and Bor.

posted on Nov, 15 2010 @ 07:23 PM
reply to post by Blackmarketeer

Yes very interesting part of the World for sure. Great find .

posted on Nov, 15 2010 @ 07:50 PM
reply to post by Blackmarketeer

Excellent thread. I am pleased that modern archaeology is giving us a better understanding of our (those of us who are descended from the indigenous Europeans) barbarian past. We know so much more about other cultures, (who had writing) than we do our own.

posted on Nov, 15 2010 @ 07:52 PM
Wow great thread! Threads like these show us how much we still dont know about our past. We're finding out new things every day!

posted on Nov, 15 2010 @ 07:55 PM

Found a bit more information on this.
Pic above is of the dig site.

According to National Museum archaeologist Dušan Šljivar, experts found a “copper chisel and stone ax at a location near Prokuplje in which the foundation has proven to be 7,500 years old, leading us to believe that it was one of the first places in which metal weapons and tools were made in prehistoric times.”

Doesn't look very deep to be 7.5k years old,
but they use the word "proven" so I'll take their word for it.
Until contradictory evidence arises.

David Grouchy

posted on Nov, 15 2010 @ 08:03 PM

Originally posted by Illusionsaregrander
reply to post by Blackmarketeer

Excellent thread. I am pleased that modern archaeology is giving us a better understanding of our (those of us who are descended from the indigenous Europeans) barbarian past. We know so much more about other cultures, (who had writing) than we do our own.

I don't believe Europeans were alway's barbarians as they are made out to be.
I think they once had or were part of an ancient culture that also had high
technology but lost it in an ancient war or disaster.

posted on Nov, 15 2010 @ 08:47 PM
reply to post by Mr. D

Maybe. Although there is certainly no shame in being hunter gatherers. Its a much more efficient and egalitarian lifestyle than the agrarian "civilized" lifestyle. We were barbarians, simply because we were not Greek.
We were also considered uncivilized, however.

A barbarian is an uncivilized person. The word is often used pejoratively, either in a general reference to a member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage. In idiomatic or figurative usage, a "barbarian" may also be an individual reference to a brutal, cruel, warlike, insensitive person.[1]

The term originates in the ancient Greek civilization, meaning "anyone who is not Greek", and thus was often used to refer to other civilized people, such as the people of the Persian Empire. Comparable notions are found in non-European civilizations.

We think that what we now call "civilized" is the be all and end all, but oddly enough, "civilization" seems awfully tenuous and prone to sudden catastrophic failure. I wouldnt get hung up on the way the word barbarian is often used, as a put down. Time will tell which was the better way to live.

posted on Nov, 15 2010 @ 09:24 PM
It reinforces the idea that metallurgy was first uncovered in Europe as opposed to Near Eastern civilizations, those were poor in minerals, Europe was abundant in them.

The previous view:

The age of copper: from 7000 BC

From about 7000 BC a few neolithic communities begin hammering copper into crude knives and sickles, which work as well as their stone equivalents and last far longer. Some of the earliest implements of this kind have been found in eastern Anatolia.

This intermediate period between the Stone Age (when all weapons and tools are of flint) and the first confident metal technology (the Bronze Age) has been given a name deriving from the somewhat awkward combination of materials. It is called the Chalcolithic Period, from the Greek chalcos 'copper' and lithos 'stone'.

An accident, probably frequent, reveals another of nature's useful secrets. A nugget of pure copper, or perhaps a finished copper tool, falls into the hot camp fire. The copper melts. When it cools, it is found to have solidified in a new shape.

And the magic of fire has yet more to offer. Certain kinds of bright blue or green stones are attractive enough to collect for their own sake. It turns out that when such stones are heated to a high temperature, liquid metal flows from them. They are azurite and malachite, two of the ores of copper.

- Source

Eastern Anatolia has now been preceded by Serbia (at least based on this discovery) as the birth place of the copper age.
edit on 15-11-2010 by Blackmarketeer because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 16 2010 @ 12:43 AM
reply to post by Blackmarketeer
Hiya BM. I've learned to be wary of news articles that suggest certain areas as the 'cradles' of a particular technology. In this article, they make a strong case for Plocnic, Serbia originating copper tool-making. In recent years, Bulgaria, Sebia and Bosnia have made nationalistic claims to have invented *everything* in a similar way that our Hare Krishna friends do for the Indus Valley.

Having had a very quick look, the story stands up in the facts if not the speculation. Pernicka is a serious archaeologist and cited in the peer-review process. It's early days yet however it'll be interesting to see how the copper was worked as an indication to how far down the road of advanced metallurgy they were. Was it cold-worked or just annealed and so forth?

posted on Nov, 16 2010 @ 03:36 PM
Excellent point K, I suppose for some researchers nationalism is a factor in their claims (even if on a subconscious level), although this claim sounds fairly well grounded, as compared to, say, the "Bosnian pyramid".

I have to admit I've always been puzzled and fascinated by how metallurgy ever came about, it's not as if some hunter-gatherer was sitting around his campfire chipping off a flint knife or stone axe head and up and decided to make a copper knife. As it turns out, the Copper Age was literally strewn about their feet, waiting for someone to pick up the right rock or ores and toss them into the fire. Of course mineral resources laying about on the surface have long been depleted. I'd actually nominate this "accidental discovery" as one of the greatest in Man's history.

posted on Nov, 16 2010 @ 04:10 PM
reply to post by Blackmarketeer
The 'accidental discovery' is something that has fascinated me since the mid-teens. In terms of probability, such discoveries were less likely in the distant past than they are now. By this I mean, the size of populations and stability of societies or groups would limit the amount of individuals with the capacity for inspiration to exploit the discoveries.

How many of our wide-spread ancestors saw molten copper in the embers of some late night fire? Of those, how few saw the potential of the copper in the light of the morning? Of those small few, how many went on to make their concepts real? In some small way, these guys were the engineers of human endeavour.

posted on Nov, 16 2010 @ 04:37 PM

Originally posted by Kandinsky
In recent years, Bulgaria, Sebia and Bosnia have made nationalistic claims to have invented *everything* in a similar way that our Hare Krishna friends do for the Indus Valley.

is it fair to lump the bugars and serbs in with the osmaniacs? what claims have they made? it was national geographic that called the bugars the first goldsmiths and its not the serbs who are pushing this now. its that useless german basketweaving school.

posted on Nov, 16 2010 @ 04:43 PM
reply to post by Parta
No. It isn't fair and I wasn't intending to give that impression. A more accurate post would have said, 'elements within...' etc etc.

posted on Nov, 16 2010 @ 07:45 PM
I doubt the Illyrians and the Thracians already lived in what is now Serbia back then. People need to remember that people have traveled all over the place and intermingled throughout the ages.

posted on Nov, 16 2010 @ 07:49 PM
to say metallurgy was invented one place and then that knowledge traveled to another... does it always have to be that way? couldn't metallurgy be invented in one area of the world. and also be invented in another part of the world? two identical scientific discoveries can be made at the same time or even at different times in different places.

posted on Nov, 17 2010 @ 10:33 AM
True, although I've seen the inhabitants of this region dating back to the Neolithic referred to as Thracian, proto-Thracian, or simply as the ancestors of the Thracians. But you're right this ancestral group gave rise to more than just the Thracians. I guess I'm relying on a pretty out of date text (written 1946) that simply refers to the two known groups of Indo-Europeans in this region at around the end of the Neolithic as Thracians and Illyrians.

Regions like Sumer were so poor in minerals it isn't likely they made any accidental discoveries of this nature, instead relying on their prowess as traders to learn of or gain the trade. Africa and the Near East may have made such a discovery but it does seem they took their cues from N. Europeans, it was only shortly after the Copper Age started in N. Europe and the Anatolian peninsula that is quickly spread to the neighboring regions. In Europe it could be that multiple isolated groups had made some level of discovery but these groups would have to achieve a level of exploiting that discovery to really be considered a part of the Copper Age. According to this article, this village was a copper refining and smelting operation that had burned to the ground.


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