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Thread: Ancient Copper Supplies

  1. #1
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    Ancient Copper Supplies

    Reducing copper from it's ore, is a time honored chemistry lab, using black copper oxide, and an excess of powdered charcoal... 2 CuO + C = 2 Cu + CO2. It will happen in a campfire, if early hominids became fascinated with the beautiful colors of copper bearing rocks giving their characteristic blue/green flame test, and then allowed a wood burning fire to get to coals stage where the reducing atmosphere would yield copper pellets when the fire went out. So, the authors trace the isotopic composition of trace elements in the Balkans in ancient copper artifacts, and imply trade routes from ancient mines to chains of socially interacting groups. A little chemistry, a little archeology, a little physics. SEE:https://arxiv.org/abs/1705.05406

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    Nice piece of work.

    Though, I'm not sure about your idea about early hominids. This work cover human history going back about 10,000 years... not early hominids.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    Nice piece of work.

    Though, I'm not sure about your idea about early hominids. This work cover human history going back about 10,000 years... not early hominids.
    Swift. Ok. Probably not the best choice of words. I defer to humans... pete

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    Or, how long do ideas gestate?

    I imagine the first train squashed a penny, but how long would it take humans to do something with fire remains? Make soap?

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    Quote Originally Posted by grapes View Post
    Or, how long do ideas gestate?
    Ashes and fat have been together for as long as we've used fire. But I learned it was the Ancient Greek's religious class that discovered soap while cleaning up after their numerous animal sacrifices.

    That gives a long lag time between the first cooking over fire to the invention of soap.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    Ashes and fat have been together for as long as we've used fire. But I learned it was the Ancient Greek's religious class that discovered soap while cleaning up after their numerous animal sacrifices.

    That gives a long lag time between the first cooking over fire to the invention of soap.
    First recorded invention.

    The Romans supposedly got soap from the pre literate Germanic and Celtic tribes, not Greece.
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  7. #7
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    Don't recall reading about the Germanic and Celtic tribes being big on bathing.

    Thanks Clev, I never knew that. I assumed the Romans acquired it during their serious Greek-o-phile phase.
    Time wasted having fun is not time wasted - Lennon
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  8. #8
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    Apparently the so called beaker people came to Britain and showed where to find copper and separately tin, Ireland and Cornwall, taught how to make bronze, to bury the dead in barrows and who knows what other civilising ideas. They were buried with their beakers hence the name but we know very little else about them, where they came from and how they knew where to find the ores plus the technology. Finding copper in the fire is one thing, making bronze quite a lot more clever. Intriguing.
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