Ask the Archaeologist: How did ancient people make things out of metal? Have you found any archaeological clues?
We have lots of evidence of metal work by ancient people in Great Britain. We use a type of calendar to identify technology in archaeology which separates the Bronze and Iron ages.
I want to tell you about Bronze, which is mainly made up of a mineral found in the ground called Copper and probably started to be used about 3,300 years ago. Evidence can be found all over the UK, in Scotland on the Isle of Harris and there is also quite a bit in the South West near Dartmoor, for example. Our evidence comes from burials, usually where small hills or mounds are built up over a burial. Each burial often contains lots of metalwork which has been given to the person who has died. We have axes, jewellery, daggers, usually unused (probably only used for best), which shows how special they were or perhaps how high up in the community they were. Both men and women have these pieces of metal. Head over to the BBC website, which shows how bronze is made:
We also have evidence from the places where the copper was mined from, It was then heated over a fire where it melts and then put into a mould (a bit like a small cake tin!), there is one in Wales , here is the link which shows you pictures of the mine http://www.greatormemines.info/
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