Scientists Debunk Claim That Copper Smelting Was Invented 8,500 Years Ago in Turkey

'Slag' resulted from pretty green pigments burning accidentally with a body, not the earliest invention of metallurgy, says archaeometallurgical team.

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One of 15 items in a set which for more than 50 years was claimed to be evidence for the world’s earliest metal smelting event. It shows molten ‘outskirts’: shiny copper metal and silica-rich glass on the top, in contrast to the incompletely molten rest of the sample.
One of 15 items that for 50+ years, was claimed to attest to the world’s earliest metal smelting event. It shows molten ‘outskirts’ on top while the rest is incompletely molten.Credit: Miljana Radivojevic / © Elsevier or Journal of Archaeological Science
Ruth Schuster
Ruth Schuster
An example of a blue pigment, among beads, deposited in one of the burials at the site of Çatalhöyük, Turkey. Blue pigment of this sort would contain copper.Credit: Çatalhöyük Project / © Elsevier or Journal of Archaeological Science
Çatalhöyük, site of a very large Neolithic and Chalcolithic proto-city in southern AnatoliaCredit: Omar Hoftun
Thilo Rehren, Miljana Radivojevic and Ernst Pernicka (left to right)Credit: Miljana Radivojevic



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