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The Chalcolithic (),The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) , p. 301: "Chalcolithic /,kælkəl'lɪθɪk/ adjective ''Archaeology'' of, relating to, or denoting a period in the 4th and 3rd millennium BC, chiefly in the Near East and SE Europe, during which some weapons and tools were made of copper. This period was still largely Neolithic in character. Also called Eneolithic... Also called Copper Age - ''Origin'' early 20th cent.: from Greek ''khalkos'' 'copper' + ''lithos'' 'stone' + -ic". a name derived from the grc-gre, χαλκός ''khalkós'', "
copper Copper is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elem ...

copper
" and from ''líthos'', "
stone A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its chemical composition and the way in which it is formed. Rocks form the Earth's outer solid layer, th ...
" or Copper Age, also known as the Eneolithic or Aeneolithic (from
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
''
aeneus In Greco-Roman mythology, Aeneas (, ; from Greek language, Greek: Αἰνείας, ''Aineíās'') was a Trojan hero, the son of the Trojan prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite (equivalent to the Roman Venus (mythology), Venus). His father w ...
'' "of copper") is an archaeological period which researchers now regard as part of the broader
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is t ...
. Earlier scholars defined it as a transitional period between the Neolithic and the
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the Three-age sys ...
. In the context of
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical reg ...

Eastern Europe
, archaeologists often prefer the term "Eneolithic" to "Chalcolithic" or other alternatives. In the Chalcolithic period, copper predominated in
metalworking Metalworking is the process of shaping and reshaping metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appearan ...
technology. Hence it was the period before it was discovered that by adding
tin Tin is a with the Sn (from la, ) and  50. Tin is a silvery-colored metal that characteristically has a faint yellow hue. Tin is soft enough to be cut with little force and a bar of tin can be bent by hand with little effort. When bent ...

tin
to copper one could create
bronze Bronze is an alloy An alloy is an admixture of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appear ...

bronze
, a metal
alloy An alloy is an admixture of metal A metal (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in ...
harder and stronger than either component. The archaeological site of Belovode, on Rudnik mountain in
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may ref ...

Serbia
, has the worldwide oldest securely-dated evidence of
copper smelting Smelting is a process of applying heat to ore in order to extract a base metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, sh ...
at high temperature, from 5000 BC (7000 BP). The transition from Copper Age to
Bronze Age in Europe The European Bronze Age is characterized by bronze artifacts and the use of bronze implements. The regional Bronze Age succeeds the Neolithic Europe, Neolithic. It starts with the Aegean Bronze Age in 3200 BC (succeeded by the Beaker culture), and ...
occurred between the late 5th and the late 3rd millennia BC. In the
Ancient Near East The ancient Near East was the home of early civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a complex society A complex society is a concept that is shared by a range of disciplines including anthropology, archaeology, history and s ...
the Copper Age covered about the same period, beginning in the late 5th millennium BC and lasting for about a millennium before it gave rise to the
Early Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in musical composition * Period, ...
.


Terminology

The multiple names result from multiple recognitions of the period. Originally, the term
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the Three-age sys ...
meant that either copper or bronze was being used as the chief hard substance for the manufacture of tools and weapons. Ancient writers, who provided the essential cultural references for educated people during the 19th century, used the same names for both. In 1881, recognized that use of copper often preceded the use of bronze, and distinguished between a ''transitional Copper Age'' and the ''Bronze Age proper''. He did not include the transitional period in the
three-age system The three-age system is the periodization of human history (generally including pre-history) into three time-periods; for example: the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age; although the concept may also refer to other tripartite divisio ...
of Early, Middle and Late Bronze Age, but placed it outside the tripartite system, at its beginning. He did not, however, present it as a fourth age but chose to retain the traditional tripartite system. In 1884,
Gaetano Chierici Gaetano Chierici (1838–1920) was an Italian painter, mainly of genre art, genre works. Biography He was born in Reggio Emilia, and attended the Reggio Emilia School of Fine Arts in 1850 and 1851. Chierici continued his studies at the academies of ...
, perhaps following the lead of Evans, renamed it in Italian as the ''eneo-litica'', or "bronze–stone" transition. The phrase was never intended to mean that the period was the only one in which both bronze and stone were used. The Copper Age features the use of copper, excluding bronze; moreover, stone continued to be used throughout both the Bronze Age and the
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's pa ...
. The part ''-litica'' simply names the Stone Age as the point from which the transition began and is not another ''-lithic'' age. Subsequently, British scholars used either Evans's "Copper Age" or the term "Eneolithic" (or Æneolithic), a translation of Chierici's ''eneo-litica''. After several years, a number of complaints appeared in the literature that "Eneolithic" seemed to the untrained eye to be produced from ''e-neolithic'', "outside the Neolithic", clearly not a definitive characterization of the Copper Age. Around 1900, many writers began to substitute ''Chalcolithic'' for Eneolithic, to avoid the false segmentation. It was then that the misunderstanding began among those who did not know Italian. The Chalcolithic was seen as a new ''-lithic'' age, a part of the
Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology ...

Stone Age
in which copper was used, which may appear paradoxical. Today, ''Copper Age'', ''Eneolithic'' and ''Chalcolithic'' are used synonymously to mean Evans's original definition of Copper Age. The literature of European archaeology in general avoids the use of "Chalcolithic" (the term "Copper Age" is preferred), whereas Middle Eastern archaeologists regularly use it. "Chalcolithic" is not generally used by British prehistorians, who disagree as to whether it applies in the British context.


Near East

The emergence of
metallurgy Metallurgy is a domain of materials science and engineering ''Materials Science and Engineering'' may refer to several journals in the field of materials science and engineering: * '' Materials Science and Engineering A'' * '' Materials Science ...
may have occurred first in the
Fertile Crescent The Fertile Crescent is a crescent-shaped region in the Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an establishe ...

Fertile Crescent
. The earliest use of lead is documented here from the late
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is t ...
settlement of
Yarim Tepe Yarim Tepe is an archaeological site of an early farming settlement that goes back to about 6000 BC. It is located in the Sinjar Sinjar ( ar, سنجار, Sinjār; ku, شنگال ,Şingal, syr, ܫܝܓܪ, Shingar) is a town in the Sinjar Dist ...
in Iraq,
The earliest lead (Pb) finds in the ancient Near East are a 6th millennium BC bangle from
Yarim Tepe Yarim Tepe is an archaeological site of an early farming settlement that goes back to about 6000 BC. It is located in the Sinjar Sinjar ( ar, سنجار, Sinjār; ku, شنگال ,Şingal, syr, ܫܝܓܪ, Shingar) is a town in the Sinjar Dist ...
in northern Iraq and a slightly later conical lead piece from
Halaf Tell Halaf ( ar, تل حلف) is an archaeological site in the Al Hasakah , parts_type = Control , parts_style = para , p1 = Autonomous Administration of North and East S ...
period Arpachiyah, near Mosul. As native lead is extremely rare, such artifacts raise the possibility that lead smelting may have begun even before copper smelting.
Copper smelting is also documented at this site at about the same time period (soon after 6000 BC), although the use of lead seems to precede copper smelting. Early metallurgy is also documented at the nearby site of
Tell Maghzaliyah Tell Maghzaliyah (Tell Maghzalia) is a prehistoric aceramic Mesolithic The Mesolithic ( Greek: μέσος, ''mesos'' "middle"; λίθος, ''lithos'' "stone") is the Old World archaeological period between the Upper Paleolithic and the Neoli ...
, which seems to be dated even earlier, and completely lacks pottery. The
Timna Valley The Timna Valley (תִּמְנָע, ) is located in southern in the southwestern , approximately north of the and the city of . The area is rich in and has been since the 5th millennium . There is controversy whether the mines were active ...
contains evidence of copper mining in 7000–5000 BC. The process of transition from
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is t ...
to Chalcolithic in the Middle East is characterized in archaeological stone tool assemblages by a decline in high quality raw material procurement and use. This dramatic shift is seen throughout the region, including the Tehran Plain,
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
. Here, analysis of six archaeological sites determined a marked downward trend in not only material quality, but also in aesthetic variation in the lithic artefacts. Fazeli et al. use these results as evidence of the loss of craft specialisation caused by increased use of copper tools. The Tehran Plain findings illustrate the effects of the introduction of copper working technologies on the in-place systems of lithic craft specialists and raw materials. Networks of exchange and specialized processing and production that had evolved during the Neolithic seem to have collapsed by the Middle Chalcolithic ( 4500–3500 BC) and been replaced by the use of local materials by a primarily household-based production of stone tools.


Europe

An archaeological site in
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may ref ...

Serbia
contains the oldest securely dated evidence of coppermaking from circa 7,500 years ago. The find in June 2010 extends the known record of copper smelting by about 800 years, and suggests that copper smelting may have been invented in separate parts of Asia and Europe at that time rather than spreading from a single source. In Serbia, a copper axe was found at
Prokuplje Prokuplje ( sr-cyrl, Прокупље, ) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd e ...

Prokuplje
, which indicates use of metal in Europe circa 7,500 years ago (5500 BC), many years earlier than previously believed. Knowledge of the use of copper was far more widespread than the metal itself. The European
Battle Axe culture The Battle Axe culture, also called Boat Axe culture, is a Chalcolithic The Chalcolithic (),The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) , p. 301: "Chalcolithic /,kælkəl'lɪθɪk/ adjective ''Archaeology'' of, relating to, or denoting a period ...

Battle Axe culture
used stone axes modeled on copper axes, even with moulding carved in the stone.
Ötzi the Iceman Ötzi, also called the Iceman, is the natural mummy A mummy is a dead human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living orga ...
, who was found in the Ötztal
Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest and most extensive mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt ...

Alps
in 1991 and whose remains were dated to about 3300 BC, was found with a Mondsee copper axe. Examples of Chalcolithic cultures in Europe include and Los Millares on the
Iberian Peninsula The Iberian Peninsula , ** * Aragonese Aragonese or Aragones may refer to: * Something related to Aragon, an autonomous community and former kingdom in Spain * the Aragonese people, those originating from or living in the historical region ...

Iberian Peninsula
. Pottery of the
Beaker people The Bell Beaker culture (or, in short, Beaker culture) is an archaeological culture An archaeological culture is a recurring Assemblage (archaeology), assemblage of types of Artifact (archaeology), artifacts, buildings and monuments from a specif ...
has been found at both sites, dating to several centuries after copper-working began there. The Beaker culture appears to have spread copper and bronze technologies in Europe, along with
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation ...
languages. In Britain, copper was used between the 25th and 22nd centuries BC, but some archaeologists do not recognise a British Chalcolithic because production and use was on a small scale.


South Asia

According to Parpola (2005), ceramic similarities between the
Indus Valley Civilisation The Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC), also known as the Indus Civilisation, was a Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other ear ...
, southern
Turkmenistan Turkmenistan ( or ; tk, Türkmenistan, ), also known as Turkmenia, is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastlines lie on endorheic basin, endorheic basins. There ar ...

Turkmenistan
, and northern
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
during 4300–3300 BC of the Chalcolithic period suggest considerable mobility and trade. The term "Chalcolithic" has also been used in the context of the
South Asian Stone Age The South Asian Stone Age covers the Palaeolithic The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic or Palæolithic (), also called the Old Stone Age (from Greek wikt:παλαιός, palaios - old, lithos - stone), is a period in prehistory Prehistory, a ...
. In
Bhirrana Bhirrana, also Bhirdana and Birhana, (Hindi Hindi ( Devanagari: हिन्दी, IAST/ ISO 15919: ''Hindī''), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi ( Devanagari: मानक हिन्दी, IAST/ ISO 15919: ''Mānak Hindī'' ...
, the earliest Indus civilization site, copper
bangle Bangles are traditionally rigid bracelets A bracelet is an article of jewellery that is worn around the wrist. Bracelets may serve different uses, such as being worn as an ornament. When worn as ornaments, bracelets may have a wikt:supporti ...

bangle
s and
arrowhead An arrowhead or point is the usually sharpened and hardened tip of an arrow s and nock. An arrow is a fin-stabilized projectile launched by a bow and arrow, bow. A typical arrow usually consists of a long, stiff, straight ''shaft'' with a weig ...

arrowhead
s were found. The inhabitants of
Mehrgarh Mehrgarh (; ur, ) is a Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human his ...

Mehrgarh
in present-day
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
fashioned tools with local copper ore between 7000 and 3300 BC.Possehl, Gregory L. (1996) At the
Nausharo Nausharo is located in Balochistan Balochistan (; bal, بلوچِستان; also romanised as Baluchistan) is an arid A region is arid when it is characterized by a severe lack of available water, to the extent of hindering or preventing the ...
site dated to 4500 years ago, a pottery workshop in province of
Balochistan Balochistan (; bal, بلوچِستان; also romanised as Baluchistan) is an arid A region is arid when it is characterized by a severe lack of available water, to the extent of hindering or preventing the growth and development Development ...

Balochistan
, Pakistan, were unearthed 12 blades or blade fragments. These blades are long and and relatively thin. Archaeological experiments show that these blades were made with a copper indenter and functioned as a potter's tool to trim and shape unfired pottery. Petrographic analysis indicates local pottery manufacturing, but also reveals the existence of a few exotic black-slipped pottery items from the
Indus Valley The Indus ( ) is a transboundary river A transboundary river is a river that crosses at least one political border, either a border within a nation or an international boundary. Bangladesh has the highest number of these rivers, including tw ...

Indus Valley
.


Pre-Columbian Americas

There was an of
copper Copper is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elem ...
smelting first by
Andean civilizations The Andean civilizations were complex societies A complex society is a concept that is shared by a range of disciplines including anthropology Anthropology is the Science, scientific study of humanity, concerned with human behavior, human ...
in South America. The term "Chalcolithic" is also applied to American civilizations that already used copper and copper
alloy An alloy is an admixture of metal A metal (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in ...
s thousands of years before the European migration. Besides cultures in the Andes and Mesoamerica, the
Old Copper Complex Native copper nugget from glacial drift, Ontonagon County, Michigan. An example of the raw material worked by the people of the Old Copper Complex. Old Copper Complex or Old Copper Culture were ancient Native Americans in the United States, Nativ ...
, centered in the Upper Great Lakes region; present-day
Michigan Michigan () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Michigan
and
Wisconsin Wisconsin () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Wisconsin
in the United States—mined and fabricated copper as tools,
weapon A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or device that can be used with the intent to inflict physical damage or harm. Weapons are used to increase the efficacy and efficiency of activities such as hunting, crime, law enforcement, self-defe ...
s, and personal ornaments. The evidence of smelting or alloying that has been found in north America is subject to some dispute and a common assumption by archaeologists is that objects were cold-worked into shape. Artifacts from some of these sites have been dated to 4000–1000 BC, making them some of the oldest Chalcolithic sites in the world. Furthermore, some archaeologists find artifactual and structural evidence of casting by Hopewellian and Mississippian peoples to be demonstrated in the archaeological record.


East Asia

In the 5th millennium BC copper artifacts start to appear in East Asia, such as in the
Jiangzhai Jiangzhai () is a Banpo phase Yangshao culture archaeological site in the east of Xi'an, where the earliest copper artifacts in China were found. The Jiangzhai site is located on the east bank of the Lin River in Lintong District, Xi'an, Shaanxi, ...
and
Hongshan culture The Hongshan culture () was a Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Huma ...
s, but those metal artifacts were not widely used. While copper objects may occasionally appear early on, these finds do not represent a regular practice of copper metallurgy which, in East Asia, begins with the entry of Afanasievo groups into western Mongolia towards the end of 4th millennium and beginning of the third millennium BC.


Sub-Saharan Africa

In the region of the
Aïr Mountains The Aïr Mountains or Aïr Massif ( tmh, Ayăr; Hausa language, Hausa: Eastern ''Azbin'', Western ''Abzin'') is a triangular massif, located in northern Niger, within the Sahara Desert. Part of the West Saharan montane xeric wood ...
in Niger, independent copper smelting developed between 3000 and 2500 BC. The process was not in a developed state, indicating smelting was not foreign. It became mature about 1500 BC.Ehret, Christopher (2002). The Civilizations of Africa. Charlottesville: University of Virginia, pp. 136, 137 .


See also

*
Proto-city A proto-city, or a proto-town, is a large village or town of the Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the worl ...


References


Sources

* . * . * . * Hogan, C. Michael (2007) ''Los Silillos'', The Megalithic Portal, ed. A. Burnha

* * * Possehl, Gregory L. (1996). ''Mehrgarh'' in ''Oxford Companion to Archaeology'', edited by Brian Fagan. Oxford University Press.


External links


"Chalcolithic Era"
Elizabeth F. Henrickson. '' Encyclopaedia Iranica, Encyclopædia Iranica'', 1991. {{Authority control Copper Historical eras