Bellow pix – Part of the Cucuteni! treasure found at Zargidava in 1982 – the site has layers from eneolithic, middle bronze, Hallstatt B, La Tene (sec IVbc-sec II) and medieval era (sec. XV-XVIII) ie Cucuteni, Monteoru, Costișa and geto-dacian cultures.
Gold, the most attractive and precious of metals in every society, is also the easiest for primitive man to acquire. Gold is bright, incorruptible, malleable, and appears in pure form in the beds of streams. Once seen, acquiring it is just a matter of picking it up. Nuggets of this gleaming substance must often have been kept and treasured. Pure gold also has the quality of softness. It can be easily shaped by hammering, but this malleability makes it useless for practical purposes. It always was just a luxury item. Copper which exists in nature in a pure form, can also be bashed into new shapes – with less ease than gold for it is much harder, but with more practical results for everyday use.
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 and the Bronze Age, has been given a name deriving from the somewhat awkward combination of materials. It is called the Chalcolithic Period, from the Greekchalcos ‘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.
The use of fire thus makes possible two significant new steps in the development of metallurgy: the casting of metal, by pouring it into prepared moulds; and the smelting of mineral ores to extract metal. Objects made from smelted copper, from as early as 3800 BC, are known in Iran.
Many mineral ores are found on the surface of the earth, in outcrops of rock. Chipping away at them, to pursue the metal-bearing lode down below the surface, leads inevitably to another technological advance – the development of mining.
Bellow picture – 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.” The first miners: from 4000 BC. By 4000 BC deep shafts are cut into the hillside at Rudna Glava, in the Balkans, to excavate copper ore. This robbing of the earth’s treasures is carried out with due solemnity. Fine pots, bearing produce from the daylight world, are placed in the mines as a form of recompense to propitiate the spirits of the dark interior of the earth. By about 3800 BC copper mines are also worked in the Sinai peninsula. Crucibles found at the site reveal that smelting is carried out as part of the mining process.
The age of bronze: from 2800 BC. Sometimes the ores of copper and tin are found together, and the casting of metal from such natural alloys may have provided the accident for the next step forward in metallurgy. It is discovered that these two metals, cast as one substance, are harder than either metal on its own. The cast alloy of copper and tin is bronze, a substance so useful to human beings that an entire period of early civilization has become known as the Bronze Age. A bronze blade will take a sharper edge than copper and will hold it longer. And bronze ornaments and vessels can be cast for a wide variety of purposes.
The technology of bronze is first developed in the Middle East. Bronze is in use in Sumer, at Ur, in around 2800 BC, and in Anatolia shortly afterwards. It then spreads spasmodically. It appears in the Indus valley in about 2500 BC, and progresses westwards through Europe from about 2000. At much the same time it is found in crude form in China, where it later achieves an unprecedented level of sophistication. From about 1500 BC the Shang dynasty produces bronze objects of exceptional brilliance.
In all these regions it is the rulers who use bronze, as a luxury for themselves or as a weapon for their armies. For ordinary people the Stone Age survives well into the Bronze Age.
Left pix – ”Mycenaean” sword / Wietenberg culture / National Museum of Transylvanian. The Mycenians came to Greece from the North of present day Romania, where this sword was found.
As the most valuable of commodities (in addition to being compact and easily portable), metals are a great incentive to trade. The extensive deposits of copper on Cyprus bring the island much wealth from about 3000 BC (Cyprus, in Latin, gives copper its name –cyprium corrupted to cuprum). Later, when the much scarcer commodity of tin is required to make bronze, even distant Cornwall becomes – by the first millennium BC – a major supplier of the needs of Bronze Age Europe.
There are various opinions about which methods were used to introduce the arsenic, but by the 1970s most researchers believed that the arsenic was there because Bronze Age metalworkers had selected copper ores that were naturally rich in the element. Copper ore deposits are usually laid down in rock fissures or veins as primary copper sulphide minerals. Exposed areas of such deposits are converted to secondary minerals such as oxides and carbonates. Within some primary copper deposits are the ‘fahlerz’ ores, which contain arsenic and the metal antimony. The metalworkers had apparently discovered that these ores yielded a superior product.
While some archaeologists were classifying metal artefacts by their physical appearance others began to analyse their composition, especially after spectrographic methods became widely available in the 1930s. This approach, pioneered by the German chemists Helmut Witter and Wilhelm Otto and the Austrian scientist Richard Pittioni, culminated in a massive programme, based in Stuttgart, which was responsible for more than 16 000 analyses of Early Bronze Age metalwork by the mid-1970s.
The magic of iron: from 1500 BC. The Hittites are the first people to work iron, in Anatolia from about 1500 BC. In its simple form iron is less hard than bronze, and therefore of less use as a weapon, but it seems to have had an immediate appeal – perhaps as the latest achievement of technology (with the mysterious quality of being changeable, through heating and hammering), or from a certain intrinsic magic (it is the metal in meteorites, which fall from the sky). Quite how much value is attached to iron can be judged from a famous letter of about 1250 BC, written by a Hittite king to accompany an iron dagger-blade which he is sending to a fellow monarch (see Letter from a Hittite king).
The discovery of steel: 11th century BC. By the 11th century BC it has been discovered that iron can be much improved. If it is reheated in a furnace with charcoal containing carbon, some of the carbon is transferred to the iron. This process hardens the metal; and the effect is considerably greater if the hot metal is rapidly reduced in temperature, usually achieved by quenching it in water.
The new material is steel. It can be worked just like softer iron, and it will keep a finer edge, capable of being honed to sharpness. Gradually, from the 11th century onwards, steel replaces bronze weapons in the Middle East, birthplace of the Iron Age. It becomes essential, from now on, to have a good steel blade rather than a soft and indifferent one.
Cast iron in the east: 513 BC. Thus far in the story iron has been heated and hammered, but never melted. Its melting point (1528°C) is too high for primitive furnaces, which can reach about 1300°C and are adequate for copper (melting at 1083°C). This limitation is overcome when the Chinese develop a furnace hot enough to melt iron, enabling them to produce the world’s first cast iron – an event traditionally dated in the Chinese histories to 513 BC. In this they are a thousand and more years ahead of the western world. The first iron foundry in England, for example, dates only from AD 1161. By that time the Chinese have already pioneered the structural use of cast iron, using it sometimes for the pillars of full-size pagodas. Read more @ historyworld.net
Central Europe Bronze Period A1, 2300-1950 BC; Key:(1) Late Eneolithic;(2) Beaker culture;(3) Riesenbecher;(4) Únětice culture; (5)Adlerberg group; (6)EBA of north Alps,incl.Singen&Neckar-Ries-Lech groups;(7) Straubing culture;(8) Unterwölbling culture;(9) Early Bronze Age of South-East Alps;(10) Wieselburg culture;(11) Nitra culture;(12) Kisapostag culture; (13) Nagyrév culture; (14) Perjámos culture; (15) Otomani culture;(16) Hatvan culture;(17) Košťany culture;(18) Mierzanowice culture;(19) Dobre group; (20) Płonia (Buchholz) group.
wiki about cooper archaeometallurgy: The theory that metallurgy was imported into Europe from the Near East has been practically ruled out. Nowadays, the general opinion is that the development of metallurgy took place independently in different places, at different times, with various techniques. One fact that supports this interpretation is that, although the final products are quite similar throughout Europe, the method of production is not.
The earliest recorded metal employed by humans appears to be gold which can be found free or “native.” Certain metals, notably tin, lead and (at a higher temperature) copper, can be recovered from their ores by simply heating the rocks in a fire, a process known as smelting. The first evidence of this extractive metallurgy dates from the 5th and 6th millennium BC and was found in the archaeological sites of Majdanpek, Yarmovac and Plocnik, all three in Serbia. To date, the earliest evidence of copper smelting is found at the Belovode site, including a copper axe from 5500 BC belonging to the Vinča culture. Around 3500 BC, it was discovered that by combining copper and tin, a superior metal could be made, an alloy called bronze, representing a major technological shift which began the Bronze Age. Europe has very few sources of tin. It was therefore of extreme importance throughout ancient times to import it long distances from known tin mining districts of antiquity, namely Erzgebirge along the border between Germany and Czech Republic, the Iberian Peninsula,Brittany in France, and Devon and Cornwall in southwestern England. Another minor source of tin is known to exist at Monte Valerio in Tuscany, Italy.
The extraction of iron from its ore into a workable metal is much more difficult than for copper or tin. The process appears to have been invented by the Hittites in about 1200 BC, beginning the Iron Age. The secret of extracting and working iron was a key factor in the success of the Philistines.
Copper is the eighth most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust, available all over the world and one of the few that can appear in pure state (Atkinson 1987). It is not complicated to work with, a bare hammering can be enough to transform a nugget into a bead.
Stage A: Although native copper nowadays is frequently displayed in museum showcases of mineral collections, it once occurred copiously during prehistoric times. In Cyprus or Crete, collecting the mineral was once as easy as simply picking it up from the ground. In fact, native copper is no longer as easy to find in that state these days. The treatment of this native mineral was also uncomplicated through cold-hammering. This only permitted the production of a limited range of artifacts like awls, pins, or beads. In larger objects, the metal cracks when it is cold-hammered.
Stage B: Annealing the metal on an open fire (200–300 °C) reduces its hardness considerably and gives in malleability. This permits the manufacture of slightly more sophisticated objects, like bracelets, but is still a rather limited technique.
Stage C: In the first two steps, the mineral used was native copper with no specialized technology. Probably, due to the situation that native copper was increasingly difficult to find, copper ore was used in the third step. This was a very significant development, in fact this was truly the beginning of metallurgy. Separating the copper from the gangue was possible only by smelting, using furnaces that were able to reach at least 1,089 °C.
Numerous examples of mines are known all over Europe (Craddock 1980, Mohen 1992 and 1996, Shennan 1999, Bartelheim et al. 2003) from the east: Rudna Glava (Serbia), Ai Bunar (Bulgaria); to the west: Mount Gabriel (Ireland), Great Orme, Alderley Edge (United Kingdom); crossing Central Europe: Mitterberg (Salzach, Austria), Neuchâtel (Switzerland), Cabrierés (France); to the south: Riotinto,Mola Alta de Serelles (Spain); and the Mediterranean: Corsica, Cyprus, and the Cyclades islands. It is remarkable that, usually, it is not a single mine but a complex, with a variable, large number of mineshafts, as in Rudna Glava (30) or Mount Gabriel (31).
One of Greece’s most famous archaeological sites, the Middle Bronze Age city of Akrotiri is the Pompeii of Greece. Inhabited in c.1600-1525 BC, Akrotiri was once a prosperous trading centre but was abandoned after a volcanic eruption buried the site in several metres of ash. Its houses – many preserved up to two or three stories high, along with furniture and pottery – lay undisturbed for 3,500 years until the site was excavated by Spyridon Marianatos in 1967. It’s eerie walking through there. Beds are upturned on top of one another, as if the occupants would come back for them. Jars and jugs lay scattered. The ash formed a sort of cast for some of the furniture, leaving behind beautifully sculpted tables and even a keepsake box with a gold ibex. Akrotiri even had a sewage system. Santorini Island itself didn’t have such technology until the mid-1900s. These people were bloody brilliant. “Thera” was the original name of Santorini Island, and this museum houses most of the artifacts collected from Akrotiri. Perfectly preserved pieces of wall murals and frescoes are on display here, and even 7000-year-old fossilized olive leaves from some of the island’s earliest eruptions. Other interesting tidbits: the world’s first portable oven and pieces of jewelry.
Relation between salt mines and copper workshops in late Bronze age. Deja în urmă cu aproape o jumătate de secol, M. Rusu atrăsese atenţia asupra unei posibile legături între marile depozite de bronzuri transilvănene şi resursele de sare, ipoteză reluată şi de alţi cercetători.
Hartă cu localizarea exploatărilor de sare din Bronzul târziu (^) şi a principalelor depozite-atelier (*):1. Dipşa ; 2. Figa ; 3. Uioara de Sus
şi Şpălnaca ; 4. Ocna Mureş; 5. Aiud ; 6. Pănade; 7. Ocnişoara ; 8.Guşteriţa; 9. Ocna-Sibiului ; 10. Bicaz ; 11. Coştiui – Şugatag ; 12.Valea Florilor ; 13. Band.
Middle Bronze 1800BC: The modest huts were replaced by larger houses and some settlements were fortified with earthworks and stone walls. Four wheel wagons were common throughout the Balkans, central Europe and Asia Minor.
Wietenburg culture: Origins – Coţofeni & Baden, Area – Crisana, E Hungary, Slovakia spread west later, Pottery – high-necked cup, geometric & spira, Settlements – houses arranged in circles, fortified with ramparts, Technology – developed bronze metallurgy, Burials – inhumation.
The Únětice culture dated roughly to about 2300–1600 BC, originated in the territories of contemporary Bohemia, the village Únětice is located northwest of Prague. Today, this archaeological culture is known from Czech Republic and Slovakia from approximately 1400 sites, from Poland (550 sites) and Germany (approximately 500 sites and loose finds locations). The culture corresponds to Bronze A1 and A2 in the chronological schema of Paul Reinecke: A1: 2300-1950 BC: triangular daggers, flat axes, stone wrist-guards, flint arrowheads ; A2: 1950-1700 BC: daggers with metal hilt, flanged axes, halberds, pins with perforated spherical heads, solid bracelets. Úněticean graves can be divided in two categories: flat graves and barrows. The Únětice culture practiced skeletal inhumations, however occasionally cremation was also practised.In classic phase (approx. 1850-1750 BC), Úněticean burial rite displays strong uniformity, regardless of the gender or age of the deceased. Men and women were buried in the same N-S position.Coffins were made of single block of wood. The Únětice culture had trade links with the British Wessex culture. Cornish tin was widely traded as well.
The Carpathian arc from the Bohemia -Únĕtice culture, the upper Tiza Otomani culture and into Transylvania Wietenburg culture was the centre of the Bronze industry, trading up to the Baltic coast and east to the Caucasus. The ‘alliance’ of these three cultures used tin from Bohemia to produce Bronze in Transylvania and then their strength spread north of the Carpathians into the Ukraine (Komarów culture) and east to the Pontic Steppe.
Wietenberg and Otomani were the first cultures to develop bronze technology in Transylvania. While Otomani, Unetice and all the other cultures around still had inhumation, Wietenberg had cremation and urns. When all the other cultures had only stone tools, Wietenberg had a well develope bronze and gold technology, followed by Otomani culture. And in the above pix the Wietenberg battle ax looks nicer than the Unetice axe Look also to the Mycenaean bronze sword found at Dumbrăvioara, Mureş County, Romania and consider that first ”aryan” invasion of Greece, came from this area! The period of Greek history from about 1600 BC to about 1100 BC is called Mycenaean in reference to Mycenae. At its peak in 1350 BC, the citadel and lower town had a population of 30,000 and an area of 32 hectares.
The first Bronze technology from Serbia/Vinca is probably related to the ancient copper & tin mines from W Serbia – Cer & Bukulja mountains (close to where Sava & Morava flows into the Danube). The Early Bronze Age from Spain can be explained through the tin mines from Spain. As well the Nuragic Culture was linked to the copper mines from Sardinia. Metallurgy appeared later in NW Europe but very soon became the most advanced technology in Europe, that could be linked to the tin mines from England/Cornwall, which were the most abundant from all Europe. Unetice Culture probably is closely connected with the Copper Tin mines from Bohemia/Erzgebirge. Metallurgy produced strong rich cultures, produced well armed warriors that were able to conquer other people.
New technologies produced welfare, better living conditions, increased population. New products induced trade, traders had to protect the products they transported, ‘industrial areas’ and ‘rich comunities’ also had to be protected, I guess there is a good link between welfare/expensive products/trade and warriors/aristocracies.
Metallurgy and strong cultures in Transylvania could be linked with 1#the gold sources from Alburnus Maior, some of the richest in Europe, the main reason for Traian to conquer Dacia and 2#with salt mines from Transylvania. 3#Transylvania was in the middle of everything: it was between Vinca and Cucuteni. 4#It was the turntable from where R1b conquered W Europe and 5#close to the tin sources from Bohemia. 6#It was connected with the pontic steppes, and through this highway with the metallurgic centers from Urlas/Arkaim and Caucaz. 7#And finally it was close to the rich basins of lower Danube and Middle Danube+Tisa basin.
Bellow pix: left is Unetice from Germany, right is Wietenberg from Transylvania.
The Wietenberg culture from Transylvania, is the extension of the CONTACT AREA on the Dniester river, the melting pot area where the
1#Old Europe Cucuteni I2(+J1+E1+G) farmers met
2#the R1b coming on the N&S shores of the Black Sea and the
3#R1a coming from the northern forest steppes.
This melting pot ended the Cucuteni Culture around 3000BC but produced people with all the qualities to be more competitive than others around: they knew farming, metallurgy, they had horses & chariots, they were fierce warriors. Cremation could come from Cucuteni who used to burn everything, cooper mining could come from salt mining typical for Cucuteni also, bronze technology seems to be connected with R1b who later conquered all Western Europe. All in all the Wietenberg area 2200–1600/1500 BC seems to be / could be :
1]in the center of the European bronze technology, which expanded from here North to Poland (Unetice), to West up the Danube to England and to East it related strongly over the Pontic steppes to the Urals, to the Sintashta-Arkaim culture 2100–1800 BC.
2]the starting area of the protoceltic Urnfield culture 1300 BC – 750 BC which led to the Hallstat Iron Age culture. Urnfield is preceded by the Tumulus culture 1600 BC to 1200 BC, descendant of the Unetice culture
3]may be the original area of the Greco-Macedonians & Thracians the – Mycenae 1600-1100bc and of course could be
4] origin of the Geto-Dacian people, who worked gold and iron in Transylvania mountains, simillar to Hallstat and LaTene celts in the Alps.
Thus the Middle Danube & Tisa basins plus Transylvania were the turntable, the area from where 1#Linear Pottery spread to Central Western Europe than later 2#Pro Italo Celts conquered all Western Europe.
Wietenburg culture spread east to the Noua culture of Moldavia and Sabatinovka culture of the Steppe as far as the Dnieper. Pastoralism was practiced extensively in the central to east of Romania. Seven of the nine superior Bronze “Mycenaean” swords found in Romania were found in Transylvania showing connections with the southern Balkans through the Morava-Vardar corridor.
Suciu de Sus – Felchesevch-Stanova Culture: Origins – either from Otomani & Sighişoara, or Vučedol-Zok-Nir, Area – Maramures & Ukraine sub Carpathians, & part of Crişana, Pottery – spirals & solar designs, also geometric, Houses – surface huts of wattle & daub, Economy – on trade route from central to north Europe, Technology – metallurgy, Burials – cremation, tumulus graves.
The shift to cremation rather than interment around 1300 BC, gave archaeologists a name for the burgeoning Urnfield culture. The typical Urnfield burial used a urn to contain the ashes of the desceased, capped by an upturned bowl, set into a pit. The usage had spread over much of Europe by 1000 BC.
Any type of cremation was uncommon earlier over most of Europe except the Carpathian Basin, where it appears among the Makó and Bell Beaker groups as early as c. 2700 to 2400 BC. So this region has often been considered the starting point for the Urnfield tradition. Two of the Middle Bronze Age cultures of Hungary favoured cremation, but only one of them placed a capped burial urn in a pit. That was the Vatya Culture of sheep-breeders living in the settlements along the Danube. These were well-placed for trading, as well as having good grazing land nearby. So the idea could easily have travelled up the Danube to the trading nexus at its head. From there it spread west and north into Germany and Poland and south into Italy. Finally it moved into France and part of Spain. There was also a transition to cremation burial in Scandinavia and the British Isles in the Late Bronze Age, but without the vast cemeteries of Continental Europe.
The distribution of the Urnfield Culture is very similar to that of the Y-DNA Haplogroup R1b-U152. The origins of the cremation rite are commonly believed to be in Hungary, where it was widespread since the first half of the 2nd millennium BC. The neolithic Cucuteni-Trypillian culture of modern-day northeastern Romania and Ukraine were also practicing cremation rituals as early as approximately 5,500 BC.
The village Malaya Kopanya (укр: Мала Копаня) is located on the banks of the river Tisa. The village is famous for its hill-fort (Gorodyshche) located one and a half kilometers from the center of the village, where excavations were conducted for many years. The hill-fort reffers to the Dacian culture and occupies an area of almost 5 hectares of which only 2 were investigated. Here is a study about iron swords found at Malaya Kopanya, stating that the dava, the Dacian fort, was built around 60BC in the time of Burebista king, replacing the ”North Thracian environment”. The settlement was destroyed by the Romans in 107AD. All findings convey to Vynohradiv (Seleuşu Mare) State Museum.
La 20 de kilometri de graniţa cu România, (48° 10′ 0″, 23° 6′ 0″) la intrarea Tisei în bazinul Maramureşului istoric, săpăturile arheologice au fost demarate în 1977 si din anul 2.000 au continuat în baza unui acord de colaborare științifică dintre Muzeul Județean Satu Mare și Universitatea Națională din Ujgorod, cu finanțare de la Ministerul Culturii şi Cultelor din România. Încununarea cercetărilor arheologice a venit o dată cu campania de săpături din 2008, când arheologii sătmăreni au descoperit mormintele şi, odată cu acestea, cea mai mare şi reprezentativă cantitate de bijuterii dacice după vestitele brăţări din aur. Săpăturile au fost oprite în 2011 pe fondul lipsei de finanțare. Acesta este al doilea cimitir-cetate dacic descoperit, pe lângă cel din Zemplen – Slovacia, aflat la 200 de kilometri de graniţa cu România.
Cea mai mare descoperire de la Malaya Kopanya se referă la cele 70 de morminte, mai multe decât au fost descoperite vreodată în tot arealul Marii Dacii, ceea ce a determinat arheologii să afirme că suntem în fața celei mai mari necropole dacice. Cercetătorii speră să dea de câteva sute de morminte pe când vor finaliza săpăturile. Stratul de cultură coboară până la 3, 8 m. Este vorba despre un cimitir de incineraţie, în care defuncţii au fost puşi pe rug, osemintele calcinate depuse în urne şi îngropate în pământ. În mormintele de femei au fost descoperite bijuterii, fibule, catarame, inele şi verigi, în timp ce în mormintele bărbaţilor au fost descoperite arme, printre care şi unele foarte spectaculoase, precum spade îndoite, o armă specială numită fica – un fel de sabie cu un singur tăiş, pinteni și vârfuri de lance. Mormintele datează din perioada lui Burebista. Sistemul de apărare al cetăţii este deosebit de complex, demn de un mare centru politic, comercial şi religios, cetetea de la Malaya Kopanya se aseamănă cu Sarmisegetuza Regia, doar că cetatea din Ucraina ar fi avut zidurile din lemn, pe când Sarmisegetuza le avea din piatră.
Epoca bronzului mijlociu cuprinde, conform datelor 14C calibrate, prima jumatate a mil. II i.Ch., sau conform cronologiei traditionale, sec. 17-14 i. Hr. Aceasta epoca, in toata Europa de Sud-Est si Centrala, se caracterizeaza prin cristalizarea unor entitati etnoculturale bine delimitate geografic si tipologic, prin trecerea treptata la forme de habitat mai stabile, prin cresterea complexitatii structurilor sociale, proces a carui expresie cea mai elocventa a reprezentat-o cresterea accentuata a numarului asezarilor fortificate, depunerea tezaurelor de piese de aur si argint – simboluri ale puterii sacrale si sociale; prin progrese remarcabile in metalurgia bronzului: inlocuirea treptata a tiparelor de lut cu cele de piatra, folosirea pe scara larga a cositorului pentru obtinerea bronzului de calitate. Avand in vedere lipsa cositorului in zacamintele din toata Europa de Est si Sud-Est, tehnologia bronzului nu ar fi fost posibila fara sa fi existat o retea transeuropeana de circulatie a acestui metal. Cositorul folosit in Transilvania provenea din Slovacia. Mai sus piese din colectia muzeului Baia Mare.
Perioada mijlocie a epocii bronzului in Bazinul Carpatic se caracterizeaza si prin manifestari artistice deosebite: eleganta formelor si ornamentare extrem de bogata si expresiva a vaselor ceramice, care in unele privinte repeta motivele ornamentale din eneolitic. Printre motivele decorative caracteristice bronzului mijlociu un loc aparte il ocupau simbolurile solare si reprezentari de plante, motive care sugereaza cultul solar, cel al fertilitatii si al fecunditatii. Probabil, un rol ritual au jucat si carele votive, figurine de animale si pasari.
Majoritatea cercetatorilor atribuie culturile arheologice ale epocii bronzului mijlocii din spatiul Carpato-Dunareano-Pontic unor grupuri prototracice sau tracice. Pe tot parcursul bronzului mijlociu, sudestul Transilvaniei a fost net dominat de cultura Wietenberg, raspandita in toata Transilvania.
Valea Muresului este ‘autostrada preistorica’ prin care au patruns in Ardeal toti migratorii care au venit din Zona Dunare/Tisa. Arheologii au inventariat 57 de situri pe traseele din judetul Alba ale viitoarei autostrazi de pe Culoarul IV Pan-European, practic, la fiecare 2,5 kilometri exista cate un sit arheologic. Cetatea preistorica de la Santana – Troia Romaniei – are 78 de hectare! si este cea mai mare cetate hallstattiana din Europa! Cuprinde o necropola din prima epoca a cuprului, cultura Tiszapolgar circa 4000BC, apoi o asezare ce dateaza de la sfarsitul epocii bronzului, de la circa 1200BC si o fortificatie ridicata de traci la inceputul primei epoci a fierului. o necropola din prima epoca a cuprului, cultura Tiszapolgar circa 4000BC, apoi o asezare ce dateaza de la sfarsitul epocii bronzului, de la circa 1200BC si o fortificatie ridicata de traci la inceputul primei epoci a fierului. În 1988, cu ocazia unor lucrări de modificare a terasamentului căii ferate ce leagă Aradul de Oradea, se descoperă un vas din pastă grosieră care conţinea oase umane, şi un tezaur compus din 23 de piese din aur.
În 1954, Ioan Mărinoiu a găsit, în urma unor lucrări agricole, un celt şi un fragment de seceră. Tot în această perioadă a mai fost descoperit (întâmplător) un brâu realizat din bronz aurit. În 1976, tractoristul Aurel Bulzea din Sântana, găseşte în spatele fostei halte C.F.R. Cetatea Veche, un cuptor plin (aprox. 200 de piese) cu proiectile (bile) de praştie din lut. Elevii cercului de istorie-arheologie de la Şcoala generală nr.1 din Sântana, aflaţi sub îndrumarea lui Augustin Mureşan, urmărind lucrările la un canal care a traversat fortificaţia, salvează în 1980 mai multe obiecte: un topor din piatră găurit şi şlefuit, proiectile din lut pentru praştie, două râşniţe din piatră, două greutăţi de la războiul de ţesut, ceramică şi un fragment dintr-un tipar de gresie, folosit probabil pentru turnarea unor piese de harnaşament.
Metsamor The citadel on top of the volcanic hill is about 10.5 hectares in size, but the entire city is believed to have covered 200 hectares at its greatest extent, housing up to 50,000 people. Excavations have shown strata of occupancy going back to the Neolithic period 7,000-5,000 BC, but the most outstanding features of the site were constructed during the early, middle and late Bronze Ages 5,000-2,000 BC. Inscriptions found within the excavation go back as far as the Neolithic period, and a sophisticated pictograph form of writing was developed as early as 2000-1800 BC. The “Metsamor Inscriptions” have a likeness to later scripts.
Metallurgy – The excavations uncovered a large metal industry, including a foundry with 2 kinds of blast furnaces (brick and in-ground). Metal processing at Metsamor was among the most sophisticated of its kind at that time: the foundry extracted and processed high-grade gold, copper, several types of bronze, manganese, zinc, strychnine, mercury and iron. Metsamor’s processed metal was coveted by all nearby cultures, and found its way to Egypt, Central Asia and China. The iron smelting process was not advanced in Metsamor, probably due to the vast quantities of pure bronze alloys at hand, and Metsamor primarily mined and sold iron ore to neighbouring cultures which took better advantage of its properties.
The Foundry – The foundry dates from the Early Bronze Age – ca. 4,000 BC, though recent digs in the area uncovered signs of metal processing as early as 5,000 BC. The complex of smelting furnaces and moulds date from the mid Bronze to Early Iron Age (3,000-2,000 BC). The complex becomes more astounding the more you walk through it. Several huge underground caves were uncovered that are thought to have been storehouses for base metal, as well as a granaries for winter months. The first iron in the ancient world was probably forged here, though it was not considered as important as bronze, giving the jump on development to the Babylonians.
The Varna culture belongs to the late Neolithic of northern Bulgaria. It is conventionally dated between 4400-4100 BC, contemporary with Karanovo in the South. It is characterized by polychrome pottery and rich cemeteries, the most famous of which are Varna Necropolis, the eponymous site, and the Durankulak complex, which comprises the largest prehistoric cemetery in southeastern Europe, with an adjoining coeval Neolithic settlement (published) and an unpublished and incompletely excavated Chalcolithic settlement.
294 graves have been found in the necropolis, many containing sophisticated examples of copper, some of the world’s oldest gold jewelry, pottery (about 600 pieces, including gold-painted ones), high-quality flint and obsidian blades, beads, and shells.
The findings showed that the Varna culture had trade relations with distant lands, possibly including the lower Volga region and the Cyclades, perhaps exporting metal goods and salt from the Provadiya rock salt mine. The copper ore used in the artifacts originated from a Sredna Gora mine near Stara Zagora, and Mediterranean spondylus shells found in the graves may have served as primitive currency.
The pix bellow – distribution of polymetallic deposits in the Western Carpathians including the Slovakian Erzgebirge. The triangles mark Early Bronze Age settlements.
The Mondsee group was a neolithic Austrian Pile dwelling culture spanning the period from roughly 3800 to 2800 BC, of particular interest due to its production of the characteristic “Mondsee Copper” arsenical bronze, apparently the first in central Europe to emulate the Serbian Vinča culture.
Metalurgy in the Elbe-Saale (Harz) region. A recent paper (2012, in German) discusses a copper dagger that has been found in a late Neolithic grave from Aspenstedt near Halberstadt (15 km north of the Harz mountains), and uses the opportunity to, based on other finds in the region, reconstruct the early history of metallurgy in the area:
According to the paper, the process included the following stages:
1] 4.100-3.800 BC : Occasional import of copper tools from western Slovakia
2] 3.800-3.500 BC: Increased occurrence of copper artefacts and indication of local processing of imported copper. The supply source shifts towards East Alpine Mondsee copper. The Aspenstedt dagger, a Mondsee dagger that exhibits signs of local re-shaping, belongs into this group.
3]3.500- 3.350 BC: First indication of the use of local copper alongside imported one.
4]3.350 – 3.100 BC: Strong increase in copper finds (8% of all locations, compared to 4% before), mostly decorative items, increasingly produced from local copper.
5]3.100 – 2.800 BC: Further increase of copper finds (11% of all locations). The increased occurrence of copper axes, produced from local copper, indicates a well developed local tool making industry.
Eupedia Forum: I think it makes a lot of sense to associate baking pottery with copper age revolution. You do not need an oven to make simple pottery, that can be done in an open fire. But for fine pottery, with proper glazing, you need higher temperatures and also some control over the amount of oxygen inside the oven. It is true that copper in natural form could be found and cold molded for tools, and was in sporadic use very early, but ubiquitous copper use, the true copper revolution, only came with ability to smelt it and cast it.
Clay pottery to harden needs to be baked in fire/heat. But how hot kiln needs to be to achieve the ceramic state of clay? Required temperature turned to be no less than 1,000 C, and in some cases as high as 1,400C for best quality. Temperature needed for melting copper is 1,084C, pottery kilns were hot enough to melt copper.
Interestingly, to cast copper we need clay/ceramic molds. Should we mentioned that clay molds were readily available around pottery kilns? A very convenient circumstance.
Another interesting fact is that copper, copper oxide and dioxide, was used as pottery colorant. At this high temperatures copper evaporates in kiln and is absorbed by pottery, giving it greenish and reddish colour. This colouring technique could have been primary introduction of copper in kilns. From this it is only a short step to accidental invention of smelting copper.
Tainted ores and the rise of tin bronzes Excavations at Plocnik, a Vinca culture site in Serbia, recovered a piece of tin bronze foil from an occupation layer dated to the mid fifth millennium BC. The Plocnik and Gomolava objects are similar in composition to 13 previously analysed early tin bronzes from Bulgaria and Serbia. Their shape implies that they were used for decorative purposes; visual appearance played a significant role in their use. The foil from Plocnik was left in a soft annealed state so that it could be wrapped around a ceramic vessel, while the ring from Gomolava was left in the work-hardened state. This study provides archaeological and analytical evidence for the independent emergence of tin bronze production, from complex copper-tin ores, some 1500 years before the first tin bronze alloys of south-western Asia. They also preceded by almost half a millennium the earliest use of natural alloys of arsenical copper (Roberts et al. 2009). Thus the fifth millennium tin bronzes fundamentally challenge the established sequence of the evolution of metallurgy in western Eurasia.
Copper, tin bronzes and gold are not the only metals used in the Balkans at this period. There is evidence of mid fifth millennium BC use of both lead and galena from the Vinca culture sites of Selevac, Opovo, Autoput and Donja Tuzla (Glumac & Todd 1987). In the wider Balkan region the use of silver is attested by the hoard of more than 100 silver artefacts from the Alepotrypa Cave in Greece, and dated to the mid fifth–early fourth millennia BC (Muhly 2002). The near-contemporary use of tin bronze, gold, lead/galena and, most likely, silver in addition to the dominant copper in the Balkans during the mid to late fifth millennium BC defies the conventional narrative of a slow unilinear evolution of metallurgy. Quite the reverse, the early trajectory of metallurgy in the Balkans emerges almost from the very beginning as polymetallic in nature.
The production of complex tin bronzes in the Balkans declined towards the end of the fifth millennium BC. Significantly, this coincided with the collapse of the gold-using cultures in Bulgaria. Explanation could be sought in population dynamics, which were a powerful mechanism for both the generation and decline of innovations in prehistoric societies (Henrich 2004; Powell et al. 2009). Tin bronzes only re-appeared some 1500 years later, based on cassiterite tin.
The Coţofeni culture (Serbian: Kocofeni), also known as Usatove culture, is a Chalcolithic to Early Bronze Age archaeological culture that in south-eastern Central Europe facing the Black Sea between the mouths of the Bug River and the Danube in present-day Romania, Moldova, and southern Ukraine, between roughly 3500 and 2500 BCE.
Mid fourth-millennium copper mining in Liguria, north-west Italy: the earliest known copper mines in Western Europe. PROTOHISTORIC METALLURGY IN LIGURIA. The earliest copper mining on the European continent (Figure 7) is in the Balkans and may be dated generically to the later fifth millennium cal BC: Ai Bunar in Bulgaria (Cernych 1978) seems to be dated to Karanovo V (approximately 4230-4000 cal BC) and Rudna Glava in Serbia (Jovanovic 1979; Jovanovic & Ottaway 1976) to Vina D (approximately 4670-4980 cal BC). Copper mining in Liguria is thus about a millennium later than that in the Balkans.
To the west, an independent origin is now generally accepted for Iberian metallurgy, with Ruiz-Taboada and Montero-Ruiz (1999) recently publishing a radiocarbon date in the first half of the fifth millennium cal BC for copper smelting at Cerro Virtud in Almer´ıa. Other dates for copper metallurgy in Almer´ıa are in the mid fourth millennium BC, and Rothenberg & Blanco Freijeiro (1980) have claimed late fourth/third millennium BC copper mining at Chinflon (Huelva) – although the interpretation of this latter site is controversial.
Obsidian trade, amber trade, prehistoric flint are all related the early copper mines. The mining history of Sardinia started probably around the 6th millennium BC with the mining of obsidian. About 3000 BC, the metal working practices expanded into Sardinia too, where they reached a highly practical level. Together with metal working, mining practices developed too allowing the mining of growing amounts of minerals and then of metals. The geographical position of the island, but also its mining asset, attracted between the tenth and the 8th century BC. Phoenician merchants, that were replaced by Carthaginians.
How did R1b come to replace most of the older lineages in Western Europe ? Until recently it was believed that R1b originated in Western Europe due to its strong presence in the region today. The theory was that R1b represented the Paleolithic Europeans (Cro-Magnon) that had sought refuge in the Franco-Cantabrian region at the peak of the last Ice Age, then recolonised Central and Northern Europe once the ice sheet receded. The phylogeny of R1b proved that this scenario was not possible, because older R1b clades were consistently found in Central Asia and the Middle East, and the youngest in Western and Northern Europe. There was a clear gradient from East to West tracing the migration of R1b people (see map bellow). This age of the main migration from the shores of the Black Sea to Central Europe also happened to match the timeframe of the Indo-European invasion of Europe, which coincides with the introduction of the Bronze-Age culture in Western Europe, and the proliferation of Italo-Celtic and Germanic languages.
Historians and archeologists have long argued whether the Indo-European migration was a massive invasion, or rather a cultural diffusion of language and technology spread only by a small number of incomers. The answer could well be “neither”. Proponents of the diffusion theory would have us think that R1b is native to Western Europe, and R1a alone represent the Indo-Europeans. The problem is that haplogroup R did arise in Central Asia, and R2 is still restricted to Central and South Asia, while R1a and the older subclades of R1b are also found in Central Asia. The age of R1b subclades in Europe coincide with the Bronze-Age. R1b must consequently have replaced most of the native Y-DNA lineages in Europe from the Bronze-Age onwards.
However, a massive migration and nearly complete anihilation of the Paleolithic population can hardly be envisaged. Western Europeans do look quite different in Ireland, Holland, Aquitaine or Portugal, despite being all regions where R1b is dominant. Autosomal DNA studies have confirmed that the Western European population is far from homogeneous. A lot of maternal lineages (mtDNA) also appear to be of Paleolithic origin (e.g. H1, H3, U5 or V) based on ancient DNA tests. What a lot of people forget is that there is also no need of a large-scale exodus for patrilineal lineages to be replaced fairly quickly. Here is why.
1]Polygamy. Unlike women, men are not limited in the number of children they can procreate. Men with power typically have more children. This was all the truer in primitive societies, where polygamy was often the norm for chieftains and kings.
2]Status & Power. Equipped with Bronze weapons and horses, the Indo-Europeans would have easily subjugated the Neolithic farmers and with even greater ease Europe’s last hunter-gatherers. If they did not exterminate the indigenous men, the newcomers would have become the new ruling class, with a multitude of local kings, chieftains and noblemen (Bronze-Age Celts and Germans lived in small village communities with a chief, each part of a small tribe headed by a king) with higher reproductive opportunities than average.
3]Gender imbalance. Invading armies normally have far more men than women. Men must therefore find women in the conquered population. Wars are waged by men, and the losers suffer heavier casualties, leaving more women available to the winners.
4]Aggressive warfare. The Indo-Europeans were a warlike people with a strong heroic code emphasising courage and military prowess. Their superior technology – metal weapons, wheeled vehicles drawn by horses and attitude to life would have allowed them to slaughter any population that did not have organised armies with metal weapons i.e. anybody except the Middle-Eastern civilizations.
5]Genetic predisposition to conceive boys. The main role of the Y-chromosome in man’s body is to create sperm. Haplogroups are determined based on mutations differentiating Y-chromosomes. Each mutation is liable to affect sperm production and sperm motility. Preliminary research has already established a link between certain haplogroups and increased or reduced sperm motility. The higher the motility, the higher the chances of conceiving a boy. It is absolutely possible that R1b could confer a bias toward more male offspring. Even a slightly higher percentage of male births would significantly contribute to the replacement of other lineages with the accumulation effect building up over a few millennia. Not all R1b subclades might have this boy bias. The bias only exist in relation to other haplogroups found in a same population. It is very possible that the fairly recent R1b subclades of Western Europe had a significant advantage compared to the older haplogroups in that region, notably haplogroup I2 and E-V13. Read more
Replacement of patrilineal lineages following this model quickly becomes exponential. Imagine 100 Indo-European men conquering a tribe of 1000 indigenous Europeans (a ratio of 1:10). War casualties have resulted in a higher proportion of women in the conquered population. Let’s say that the surviving population is composed of 700 women and 300 men. Let’s suppose that the victorious Indo-European men end up having twice as many children reaching adulthood as the men of the vanquished tribe. There is a number of reason for that. The winners would take more wives, or take concubines, or even rape women of the vanquished tribe. Their higher status would garantee them greater wealth and therefore better nutrition for their offspring, increasing the chances of reaching adulthood and procreating themselves. An offspring ratio of 2 to 1 for men is actually a conservative estimate, as it is totally conceivable that Bronze-Age sensibilities would have resulted in killing most of the men on the losing side, and raping their women (as attested by the Old Testament). Even so, it would only take a few generations for the winning Y-DNA lineages to become the majority. For instance, if the first generation of Indo-Europeans had two surviving sons per man, against only one per indigenous man, the number of Indo-European paternal lineages would pass to 200 individuals at the second generation, 400 at the third, 800 at the fourth and 1600 at the fifth, and so on. During that time indigenous lineages would only stagnate at 300 individuals for each generation.
Based on such a scenario, the R1b lineages would have quickly overwhelmed the local lineages. Even if the Indo-European conquerors had only slightly more children than the local men, R1b lineages would become dominant within a few centuries. Celtic culture lasted for over 1000 years in Continental Europe before the Roman conquest putting an end to the priviledges of the chieftains and nobility. This is more than enough time for R1b lineages to reach 50 to 80% of the population.
The present-day R1b frequency forms a gradient from the Atlantic fringe of Europe (highest percentage) to Central and Eastern Europe (lowest), the rises again in the Anatolian homeland. This is almost certainly because agriculture was better established in Eastern, then Central Europe, with higher densities of population, leaving R1b invadors more outnumbered than in the West. Besides, other Indo-Europeans of the Corded Ware culture (R1a) had already advanced from modern Russia and Ukraine as far west as Germany and Scandinavia. It would be difficult for R1b people to rival with their R1a cousins who shared similar technology and culture. The Pre-Celto-Germanic R1b would therefore have been forced to settled further west, first around the Alps, then overtaking the sparsely populated Western Europe.
R1b-M269 (the most common form in Europe) is closely associated with the diffusion of Indo-European languages, as attested by its presence in all regions of the world where Indo-European languages were spoken in ancient times, from the Atlantic coast of Europe to the Indian subcontinent. It has been hypothetised that R1b people (perhaps alongside neighbouring J2 tribes) were the first to domesticate cattle in northern Mesopotamia some 10,500 years ago. The analysis of bovine DNA has revealed that all the taurine cattle (Bos taurus) alive today descend from a population of only 80 aurochs. The earliest evidence of cattle domestication dates from circa 8,500 BCE in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic cultures in the Taurus Mountains. The two oldest archaeological sites showing signs of cattle domestication are the villages of Çayönü Tepesi in southeastern Turkey and Dja’de el-Mughara in northern Iraq, two sites only 250 km away from each others. This is presumably the area from which R1b lineages started expanding – or in other words the “original homeland” of R1b. Horses were first domesticated around 4600 BCE in the Caspian Steppe, perhaps somewhere around the Don or the lower Volga, and soon became a defining element of steppe culture. Nevertheless it is unlikely that R1b was already present in the eastern steppes at the time, so the domestication of the horse should be attributed to the indigenous R1a people.
It is not yet entirely clear when R1b crossed over from eastern Anatolia to the Pontic-Caspian steppe. This might have happened with the appearance of the Dnieper-Donets culture (c. 5100-4300 BCE). This was the first truly Neolithic society in the Pontic-Caspian Steppe. Domesticated animals (cattle, sheep and goats) were herded throughout the steppes and funeral rituals were elaborate. Sheep wool would play an important role in Indo-European society, notably in the Celtic and Germanic (R1b branches of the Indo-Europeans) clothing traditions up to this day. However, many elements indicate a continuity in the Dnieper-Donets culture with the previous Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, and at the same time an influence from the Balkans and Carpathians, with regular imports of pottery and copper objects. It is therefore more likely that Dnieper-Donets marked the transition of indigenous R1a and/or I2a1b people to early agriculture, perhaps with an influx of Near Eastern farmers from ‘Old Europe’. Mitochondrial DNA sequences from Dnieper-Donets culture showed clear similarities with those of the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture in the Carpathians (haplogroups H, T and U3).
The first clearly Proto-Indo-European culture was Sredny Stog (4600-3900 BCE), when small kurgan burials begin to appear, with the distinctive posturing of the dead on the back with knees raised and oriented toward the northeast, which would be found in later steppe cultures as well. There is evidence of population blending from the variety of skull shapes. Towards the end of the 5th millennium, an elite starts to develop with cattle, horses and copper used as status symbols.
The Maykop culture, the R1b link to the steppe? Another migration across the Caucasus happened shortly before 3700 BCE, when the Maykop culture, the world’s first Bronze Age society, suddenly materialized in the north-west Caucasus, apparently out of nowhere. The origins of Maykop are still uncertain, but archeologists have linked it to contemporary Chalcolithic cultures in Assyria and western Iran. Archeology also shows a clear diffusion of bronze working and kurgan-type burials from the Maykop culture to the Pontic Steppe, where the Yamna culture developed soon afterwards (from 3500 BCE). Kurgan (a.k.a. tumulus) burials would become a dominant feature of ancient Indo-European societies and were widely used by the Celts, Romans, Germanic tribes, and Scythians, among others.
<<So the blending of Cucuteni I2 and R1a herders produced the first elites, herders with horses and copper from Cucuteni. Maykop could correspond to the crossing of Caucasus by the R1b-M269, and the mixture of Cucuteni farmers with R1a&R1b produces the first ”arians”, the first true kurgan society, with superior bronze technology from R1b Maykop, horses from R1a and farming&pottery&salt from Cucuteni culture.>>
The Yamna period (3500-2500 BCE) is the most important one in the creation of Indo-European culture and society. Middle Eastern R1b people had been living and blending to some extent with the local R1a foragers and herders for over a millennium, perhaps even two or three <<and with I2 Cucuteni culture>>. The close cultural contact and interactions between R1a and R1b people <<I2>> all over the Pontic-Caspian Steppe resulted in the creation of a common vernacular, a new lingua franca, which linguists have called Proto-Indo-European (PIE). It is pointless to try to assign another region of origin to the PIE language.