CATEGORY: geology DEFINITION: A minor ore but a widespread mineral of copper; basic copper carbonate, green in color. It was first employed as a cosmetic and ointment for the eyes, to cut down the glare of the sun and discourage flies. The discovery that metal could be obtained from it was probably accidental and then it was used as a source of copper. The extensive deposits in Sinai were much exploited in antiquity. It was also used for oils and water colors and encrusted upon other materials as ornament.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Aibunar CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A site with three copper mines, located near Stara Zagora in central Bulgaria. The open-castmining of malachiteore beds dates to the 4th millennium BC (Karanovo VI period) and was later used in the Late Bronze Age. Quantities of this ore have been discovered in settlements in Moldavia and the Ukraine (Cucuteni-Tripolye culture).
CATEGORY: geology DEFINITION: A ductile, malleable metallic element used in many functional and decorative artifacts. It was one of the first metals to be exploited by man because, like gold, it can be found in the native form, pure and requiring no smelting. It is most frequently obtained from a variety of ores: the carbonate (malachite), oxides, and sulphides. Shaping could be done by simple hammering, which served also to harden the metal. 'Pure' copper may contain up to one per cent of impurities and the concentrations of these impurities may indicate the source of the ore. Arsenical copper alloys (2-3% arsenic) have some advantages over pure copper in ease of casting and in the hardness of a hammered edge. In the New World, cire perdue casting of copper is first recorded in the Paracasculture of Peru and by the European conquest, the technique was practiced from the southwest U.S. to Argentina. Copper occurs fairly widely in the Old World, and was first used in Western Asia before 8000 BC as a substitute for stone, though it did not come into common use until after 4000 BC. Metallurgy dawned in Egypt as copper was cast to shape in molds (c 4000 BC), was reduced to metal from ores with fire and charcoal, and was intentionally alloyed with tin as bronze (c 3500 BC). The earliest surviving examples from Egypt are small artifacts such as beads and borers of the Badarianperiod, c 5500-4000 BC. Great copper hoards occur in the Ganges-Yamuna alluvial plain and just south of the lower Ganges, and elsewhere in India and Pakistan.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Chin-ts'un CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: A village near Luoyang, China, where rich tombs yielded 5th-2nd century BC carved jades and inlaid bronzeritual vessels, many of which are now in Western collections. The name Jincun is often applied to a style of Eastern Choubronze decor, also called the inlaystyle, characterized by inlays of gold, silver, malachite, turquoise, jade, and glass.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: The site of a Late Vincacopper mine, in the limestone hills of northeastern Serbia. The mine, dated to the early 4th millennium BC, employed a mining technique involving the construction of platforms on the steep hillside and follow the vertical veins of malachite down, thereby creating empty 'shafts'. Sealed deposits of miners' lamps, antler picks, and gabbro mauls have been found at the bottom of abandoned mineshafts, of which there are over 25.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Triangular peninsula linking Africa with Asia and occupying an area of 23,500 square miles. It lies between the Gulf of Suez and the Suez Canal on the west and the Gulf of Aqaba and the Negev desert on the east, and it is bounded by the Mediterranean Sea on the north and the Red Sea to the south. Occupied since prehistoric times, the earliest written information about it dates from 3000 BC, when the ancient Egyptians recorded their explorations there in search of copper ores. From very early times it was an important source of malachite, turquoise, and copper. Certain inscriptions associated with the copper mines are believed to be among the earliest examples of the alphabet, c 16th century BC.