Institute of Archaeology


New monograph on the Rise of Metallurgy in Eurasia

14 January 2022

The monograph resulting from the AHRC-funded Rise of Metallurgy in Eurasia project, led by Thilo Rehren, is now available (in print and Open Access download) from Archaeopress.

The Rise of Metallurgy in Eurasia (bookcover)

The Rise of Metallurgy in Eurasia is a landmark study in the origins of metallurgy.

The collaborative AHRC-funded project, led by Thilo Rehren with Benjamin Roberts (Durham University), Miljana Radivojević and Serbian and German partners, aimed to trace the invention and innovation of metallurgy in the Balkans. It combined targeted excavations and surveys with extensive scientific analyses at two Neolithic-Chalcolithic copper production and consumption sites, Belovode and Pločnik, in Serbia. At Belovode, the project revealed chronologically and contextually secure evidence for copper smelting in the 49th century BC. This confirms the earlier interpretation of c. 7000-year-old metallurgy at the site, making it the earliest record of fully developed metallurgical activity in the world. However, far from being a rare and elite practice, metallurgy at both Belovode and Pločnik is demonstrated to have been a common and communal craft activity.

This monograph, edited by Miljana Radivojević, Benjamin Roberts, Miroslav Marić, Julka Kuzmanović-Cvetković and Thilo Rehren, reviews the pre-existing scholarship on early metallurgy in the Balkans. It subsequently presents detailed results from the excavations, surveys and scientific analyses conducted at Belovode and Pločnik. These are followed by new and up-to-date regional syntheses by leading specialists on the Neolithic-Chalcolithic material culture, technologies, settlement and subsistence practices in the Central Balkans.

The volume places the project results in the context of major debates surrounding early metallurgy in Eurasia before proposing a new agenda for global early metallurgy studies.

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