Institute of Archaeology

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Serbian site may have hosted first copper makers

23 September 2010

Microscopic image of copper slag from Belovode, Serbia

Research led by Institute PhD student Miljana Radivojevic and Thilo Rehren, in collaboration with Serbian colleagues, has uncovered the oldest securely dated evidence of copper making, from 7,000 years ago, at the archaeological site of Belovode, Serbia.

The discovery, which is due to be published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, (Nov 2010) and which was highlighted recently in Science News, intensifies the debate over the origins of Old World metal production and suggests that copper smelting may have been invented in separate parts of Asia and Europe rather than spreading from a single source.