古代西アジアにおける銅冶金術の歴史 [in Japanese] A Brief History of the Copper Metallurgy in Ancient Western Asia [in Japanese]
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The exploitation of copper in Ancient Western Asia has a long history. Already in the Neolithic period malachite was used as raw material for bead and pigment, and then native copper was shaped into small objects by hammering and annealing. Based on the evidence from copper objects and workshops found in Iran and Anatolia, smelting and casting were carried out in the 5<SUP>th</SUP> millennium B.C. In the early copper production it is likely that the oxide ores such as malachite were used as raw material which was smelted in the crucible set on the shallow pit furnace with the aid of blow pipes. The advent of alloy in the late 4<SUP>th</SUP> millennium B.C., another significant development in early metallurgy, might make casting easier and more successful. The first copper alloy was arsenical copper which continued to produce until the end of the Middle Bronze Age along with bronze, an alloy of copper and tin. By the second half of the 3<SUP>rd</SUP> millennium the copper production in the vicinity of the sources became prevailing. The Late Bronze Age shipwrecks in the Mediterranean provide good evidence for the long distance trade of copper and tin in the shape of ingot.
Shigen-to-Sozai 124(9), 554-561, 2008-09-25
The Mining and Materials Processing Institute of Japan