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Copper alloy foundation figurines with pegs representing Gods

Copper alloy foundation figurines with pegs representing Gods



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The Copper Age

Copper first came into use as the earliest non-precious metal employed by the Sumerians and Chaldeans of Mesopotamia, after they had established their thriving cities of Sumer and Accad, Ur, al’Ubaid and others somewhere between 5000 and 6000 years ago. These early people developed considerable skill in fabricating copper and, from these centres, the rudiments of craftsmanship spread to the river-dwelling people of Egypt where it continued to flourish for thousands of years long after their own civilisation had degenerated.

Although the Sumerian art-forms were rather crude, many of the objects they produced were wonderfully life-like. Bronze pots and mixing trays have been found at al’Ubaid, near Ur (circa 2600 BC), also silver ones of the same date, besides silver-spouted bronze jugs, saucers and drinking-vessels which were probably used for ceremonial purposes. Still earlier are some copper chisels and other tools from Ur, likewise copper razors, harpoons, cloak pins and other small articles. Far older than any of these are some copper arrows and quivers, together with prehistoric Sumerian copper spearheads, all of which have successfully survived the test of time.

Even at such an early date, these people adopted the practice of burying under the foundations of buildings a record concerning the builder. Small bronze or copper figurines were likewise buried there at the same time. One such record, in the form of a copper or bronze peg 12 inches long, relates to a king of the First Dynasty at Ur. A more remarkable one shows a god holding a peg about 6 inches long this came from the temple at Ningursu (circa 2500 BC).

Another proof of the indestructibility of copper is connected with a Sumerian wooden sled, which was intended to run on the sands it is picturesquely known as ‘The Queen’s Sledge’. This sled was drawn by two oxen wearing large copper collars, while the reins had copper studs. A Sumerian soldier who presumably marched alongside this equipage wore a copper helmet.

The ‘Queen’s Sledge’ was drawn by two oxen wearing large copper collars, while the reins had copper studs. A Sumerian soldier who presumably marched alongside this equipage wore a copper helmet.
(Courtesy of The British Museum)

Whilst on the subject of Sumerian copper, it is worth mentioning the bust of Ur-Namma (see photo courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art). The casting of the bust in ‘arsenic copper was a considerable technological accomplishment at the time and its artistic merit is still unrivalled today.

The bust of Ur-Namma in ‘arsenic copper’ was a considerable technological accomplishment.
(Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art)


Cernunnos: The History and Mythology of the Enigmatic Celtic Horned God

Source: Pinterest

Introduction –

Arguably the most visually impressive and rather portentous of ancient Celtic gods, Cernunnos is actually the general name (theonym) given to the deity ‘Horned One’. As the horned god of Celtic polytheism, Cernunnos is often associated with animals, forests, fertility, and even wealth. His very depiction mirrors such attributes, with the conspicuous antlers of the stag on his head and the poetic epithets like ‘Lord of the Wild Things’.

Origins and History of Cernunnos –

A bas relief of the Celtic God Cernunnos on the Pillar of the Boatmen. Photo Credit: Peter (Flickr)

Like we mentioned before, Cernunnos is often identified with the horned deity of the Celtic mythology and folklore. Interestingly enough, the very theonym ‘Cernunnos’ is rather a general or conventional one often used in Celtic studies. As such the term is found only once in the historical context – mentioned in the Pillar of the Boatmen, a Roman column dating from circa 1st century AD, possibly erected by a guild of Celtic sailors. To that end, this column, dedicated to Emperor Tiberius, has inscriptions in Latin but with features of Gaulish language that goes on to depict a ‘mix’ of Celtic deities and Roman mythical figures as bas-reliefs (Cernunnos pictured above).

However, quite intriguingly, the visual representations of the horned deity (as one of the Celtic gods) predate such inscriptions and names by centuries, including small figurines dating from circa 7th-4th century BC and Ist century BC, from different parts of western Europe. Some have even conjectured how the horned deity was venerated as the shamanic god of the hunt since the prehistoric times. In essence, while we prescribe the theonym ‘Cernunnos’ to the Horned God of the Celts, the deity in itself is far older than the conventional name.

As for the mythological side of affairs, given the Roman penchant for identifying foreign deities with their own (known as interpretatio Romana), Cernunnos was likened to Dis Pater, along with Mars and Mercury. That was because, according to the Romans, most of these entities were regarded as the rulers of the treasures of the underworld (possibly signifying mineral wealth). As for the Irish side of affairs, Cernunnos is also vaguely identified with Conall Cernach, the foster brother to the hero Cú Chulainn – with the Cernach epithet (sounding close to Cernunnos) alluding to ‘being victorious’ or ‘bearing a prominent growth’.

Talking of etymology, befitting the mysterious nature of the forest god, his theonym ‘Cernunnos’ also has ambiguous origins. However, the similar-sounding karnon from Gaulish (cognate with Latin cornu and Germanic *hurnaz), ultimately derived from Proto-Indo-European *k̑r̥no-, means ‘horn’. In that regard, 12th-century Eastern Roman scholar and archbishop Eustathius of Thessalonica referred to the animal-shaped Celtic military horn as the carnyx.

Depictions of Cernunnos –

Depiction of the Horned God on the Gundestrup Cauldron. Source: Wikimedia Commons

As we mentioned in the earlier entry, there are representations of the Celtic Horned God that predate the Cernunnos on the Pillar of the Boatmen (where he is also depicted as a horned figure). Apt examples would pertain to an antlered human figure featured in a 7th-4th century BC dated petroglyph in Cisalpine Gaul and other related horned figures (included a deity with two faces) worshipped by the Celtiberians based in what is now modern-day Spain and Portugal. And the most well-known depiction of the deity (pictured above) can be found on the Gundestrup Cauldron (circa 1st century BC), discovered from Jutland – comprising portions of present-day Denmark and Germany. Credit: National Trust

Interestingly enough, back in 2018, archaeologists discovered a 5 cm long copper alloy human figurine (pictured above), probably dating from the 2nd century AD, at the Wimpole Estate in Cambridgeshire, England. And while the statuette, holding a torc (high-value Celtic neck ring) is seemingly ‘faceless’, researchers have hypothesized that it represents Cernunnos. As Shannon Hogan, National Trust Archaeologist for the East of England, said –

This is an incredibly exciting discovery, which to me represents more than just the deity, Cernunnos. It almost seems like the enigmatic ‘face’ of the people living in the landscape some 2,000 years ago. The artefact is Roman in origin but symbolises a Celtic deity and therefore exemplifies the continuation of indigenous religious and cultural symbolism in Romanised societies.

Most of these figurines and inscriptions represent a human or a half-human (or humanoid figure) with antler crowns. Such historical portrayals, in turn, influence the modern representations of Cernunnos as the forest deity with his set of elaborate horns (discussed later in the article).

Myths of Cernunnos –

Source: Got-Deity

Given the ambiguous scope of the Horned God in Celtic mythology, there are no recorded myths and ancient literary sources that directly pertain to the figure of Cernunnos. However, the imagery of horns and serpents do play their part in some mythical narratives of ancient Europe. For example, in the 8th-century Irish tale Táin Bó Fraích, the warrior-hero Conall Cernach bypasses a fort to confront a mighty serpent that is guarding the stronghold’s treasure. But instead of a valiant clash, the story turns anti-climatic – with the serpent surrendering itself by girdling itself along the hero’s waist. And like we mentioned before, the Cernach epithet could alternatively mean ‘angular, having corners’ or ‘bearing a prominent growth’, thus possibly referring to horn-like receptacles.

Now, in an intriguing manner, depictions of snakes and even ram-horned snakes were found in northern-eastern Gaul – the very same area known for its association to the ancient cult of Cernunnos (or the Horned God). Other similar depictions are also found outside of the area, including the famous Gundestrup Cauldron from Jutland. However, it should be noted that such depictions are not unique in their connection to Cernunnos, but were rather found in conjunction with other Romano-Celtic deities, like the Celtic (syncretic) versions of Mars and Mercury.

Attributes –

Source: Twitter

As the Horned God of the Celtic polytheism, Cernunnos is often associated with the deity of animals, fertility, life, and even wealth (in his syncretic Romano-Celtic form, like we discussed earlier). Pertaining to animals and wildlife, Cernunnos has been offered poetic epithets like ‘Lord of Wild Things’ by many modern pagan movements. And from the historical perspective, the Horned God (or similar deities) was symbolically represented by the stag, along with a flurry of other critters, ranging from bulls, boars to rats and dogs.

Relating to this association with animals and hunting, some have also conjectured how Cernunnos could be a god of the underworld (since hunting results in death). But once again, from the historical angle, there is no evidence to back up such a claim. As for his attribute of a life-endowing force, the scope might be related to the seasonal changes and their effects on forests and vegetation, with the spring and summer bringing forth the verdancy, regeneration, and lushness of the many trees and plants.

Modern Revival of Cernunnos –

Source: Whats-Your-Sign

The popular imagery of Cernunnos as the otherworldly horned figure residing within the depth of forests is arguably inspired by Margaret Murray’s 1931 book, the God of the Witches. Murray, who was a historian, anthropologist, and folklorist (famous for her Witch-Cult theory), surmised that Herne the Hunter, a post-Christianity deity from around the Berkshire region, was a localized version or aspect of Cernunnos. Interestingly enough, Herne was also mentioned by Shakespeare in The Merry Wives of Windsor

There is an old tale goes that Herne the Hunter,

Some time a keeper here in Windsor Forest,

Doth all the winter-time, at still midnight,

Walk round about an oak, with great ragg’d horns

In any case, modern versions of Cernunnos are also prevalent in some traditions of Wicca (known as Kernunno in the Gardnerian Wicca), with the Horned God often regarded as a deity of fertility and renewal. To that end, Cernunnos is perceived in his death aspect at the onset of winter – who is once again resurrected to impregnate the earth goddess, thereby resulting in cyclic regeneration of life by the springtime. Now, of course, it should be noted that such associations are a result of the culmination and combination of various horned entities that were venerated in ancient Europe and even other parts of the world.

Book References: Pagan Celtic Britain: Studies in Iconography and Tradition (By Anne Ross) / God of the Witches (By Margaret Murray)


ანუნაკი

ანუნაკი, ენლილი, ნინლილი, ენკი — შუმერული და აქადური ღვთაებები, რომლებიც ცნობილნი გახდნენ უძველესი ხელნაწერი წყაროებიდან. ხშირად დაკავშირებულია ანუნასთან (50 მთავარი ღვთაება) და იგიგისთან (უმცროსი ღმერთები).

შუამდინარულ მითოლოგიაში გვხვდება ცნობა არსებების შესახებ, რომლებიც კოსმოსიდან მოვიდნენ, მათი ზომები 3-5 მეტრს აღწევდა, სიცოცხლის ხანგრძლივობა კი — ათასეულობით წელს, მათ ანუნაკებს უწოდებენ. ვინ იყვნენ ანუნაკები? ერთი ვერსიით, ანუნაკები სირიუსიდან მოვიდნენ, ხოლო მეორე ვერსიით, რომელიც უფრო გავრცელებულია – ნიბირუდან, იგივე პლანეტა X. ეს პლანეტა, მარსსა და იუპიტერს შორის მდებარეობდა, ყოველ 3 600 წელიწადში უახლოვდებოდა დედამიწას და ანუნაკებიც სწორედ ამ პლანეტიდან მოდიოდნენ ჩვენთან. ანუნაკები ადამიანებზე განვითარებულები იყვნენ, ისინი დედამიწაზე იმიტომ ჩამოვიდნენ, რომ ოქროს მოპოვება სურდათ. ამის გამო დედამიწაზე ჩამოიყვანეს რეპტილოიდების განსხვავებული სახეობები (ანუნაკებიც რეპტილოიდები არიან) ინუაკები და ინუნები, შემდეგ ესენი აჯანყდნენ, ხოლო ანუნაკებმა მუშახელად ადამიანები გამოიყენეს, რა თქმა უნდა ადამიანის შრომა ვერცკი შეედრებოდა იმას, რასაც რეპტილოიდები აკეთებდნენ. ამის გამო ყველაზე ჭკვიანმა ანუნაკმა ენქიმ (ეა) ადამიანის ევოლუცია დააჩქარა გარკვეული გენეტიკური ჩარევებით და ადამიანი გააუმჯობესა. მითი ანუნაკების შესახებ ასახავს უცხოპლანეტელებთან მომხდარ პალეოკონტაქტს, თუმცა უნდა აღინიშნოს ის, რომ მარსსა და იუპიტერს შორის არანაირი პლანეტა არ არსებობს და არც 500 000 წლის წინ არსებობდა (მითების მიხედვით). თუ პირველ ვერსიას დავუბრუნდებით, სირიუსიდან მათი წარმომავლობის ვერსიას, რბილად რომ ვთქვათ ეს თეორია სათუოა ვინაიდან სირიუსი ჩვენგან დაახლოებით 8 სინათლის წლის მანძილზეა. ყოველივე ზემოთ მოყვანილის გათვალისწინებით ანუნაკები არ შეგვიძლია მივიჩნიუთ უცხოპლანეტელებად, ანუანკები მხოლოდ და მხოლოდ წარმოადგენენ გარკვეული ცივილიზაციის რელიგიურ რწმენას და მითოლოგიის ნაწილს. ნებისმიერ მითოლოგიურ (რელიგიურ) წარმოდგენას სჭირდება მეტაფიზიკური (ზებუნებრივი) საწყისი, რათა ის ადამიანებმა იწამონ. ანუნაკების შემთხვევა ზუსტად ეს არის, ჩამოდის ვიღაც ზეციდან და ქმნის სრულიად ახალ ცივილიზაციას და ეს უკავშირდება ერთ კონკრეტულ პიროვნებას – ეას, რომელიც შუამდინარულ მითოლოგიაში სიბრძნის ღმერთია. ასე რომ, მითოლოგიაში და რწმენა წარმოდგენებში ხშირია ზებუნებრივი მოვლენები, რათა მოხდეს რწმენის ლეგიტიმაცია, მაგრამ ეს იმას არ ნიშნავს, რომ ეს ფაქტები რეალურად მოხდა! და მითუმეტეს არც იმას, რომ ანუნაკები უცხოპლანეტელები იყვნენ.


Ife Art

Ife Art depicts kings and gods. The majority being sculpted heads the head structures are a result of the belief in ase. Ase is the power and energy of a person are believed to be on the head. Ilé-Ifè is the place of origin of the Yoruba people. It is believed that Ilé-Ifè was founded by Oduduwa, son of Olodumare after climbing down from the heavens. It is said that Oduduwa planted a tree with 16 branches. This further interprets the name Ilé-Ifè which means ‘land of expansion’.

Other Yoruba kingdoms stem from the Ilé-Ifè , modern-day Osun state, and rulers and clans when traced, are descendants of Oduduwa. Art is a significant part of this history and culture as it depicts the power of man in ancient time. These art pieces represent the historic people of Ife and the offices associated with them. A monumental piece is a sculpture of King Obalufon II, who is believed to have invented bronze castings. He is honoured in form of a naturalistic copper life-sized naturalistic mask.

According to Wikipedia Ilé-Ifè is known worldwide for its ancient and naturalistic bronze, stone and terracotta sculptures. These art pieces reached their peak of artistic expression between 1200 and 1400 AD. In the period around 1300 CE, the artists at Ife developed a refined and naturalistic sculptural tradition in terracotta, stone and copper alloy – copper, brass, and bronze many of which appear to have been created under the patronage of King Obalufon II, the man who today is identified as the Yoruba patron deity of brass casting, weaving, and regalia. After this period, political and economic power shifted to neighbouring kingdom of Benin, which like the Oyo kingdom, developed into a major empire causing a decline in production of Ife art pieces. Ife art is a unique example of naturalism in pre-colonial African art which varied in regalia, facial marks, patterns and body proportions.


Tara – North Star to Enlightenment

The name ‘Tara’ means ‘star’ in Sanskrit and the bodhisattva is likened to the North Star, as it is her role to guide those who are lost onto the path of enlightenment. In the Tibetan language, she is known also as ‘Sgrol-ma’, which may be translated to mean ‘she who saves’. Once again, this name reflects the role that Tara plays in Buddhism, i.e. as a savior.

Needless to say, Tara saves the faithful by showing them the way to enlightenment. Apart from that, Tara is believed to protect her devotees from various calamities and to help them overcome the many obstacles that they may encounter in their lives.

There are a number of different tales concerning how Tara came into being. In one of these myths, she is thought to be the female counterpart of Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of infinite compassion and mercy. In the myth, Avalokiteshvara, who worked ceaselessly for all who suffer, looked at the world, and realized that the task at hand was so much greater than he had expected. Moreover, all his hard work did little to alleviate the suffering of the world.

Realizing this, Avalokiteshvara fell into despair and began to weep. In one version, the tears of the bodhisattva fell onto the ground and formed a lake. From the waters of the lake a lotus emerged and revealed Tara as it opened.

In another, a lotus bloomed from Avalokiteshvara’s tears and Tara appeared as the flower opened. Tara comforted Avalokiteshvara and told him that she would work with him to free all beings from suffering.

Another version of the story is provided by Taranatha, a Tibetan Lama who lived between the 16th and 17th centuries. In this version, Tara is said to have been a mortal woman before becoming a bodhisattva. Prior to becoming a bodhisattva, Tara was a princess who lived millions of years ago.

This princess was named Yeshe Dawa, which means ‘Moon of Primordial Awareness’ or ‘Wisdom Moon’. The princess was a great devotee of the Buddha of her time, Tonyo Drupa, and made many offerings to him over thousands of lifetimes. As she advanced on the path of enlightenment, she eventually came before the Buddha, and took the ‘Bodhisattva Vow’.

The monks who were present recognized her potential and urged her to pray for a male rebirth so that she may continue her progress on the path of enlightenment. The princess, however, saw the error in the monks’ point of view and told them that ‘male’ and ‘female’ are merely classifications created by the unenlightened minds of this world. The princess then made a vow – as long as suffering continued in the world, she would take on a female body to lead all beings to enlightenment.

In yet another story, which was prevalent in Tibet during the 7th century AD, Tara was believed to be the incarnation of every pious woman. In particular, the bodhisattva became associated with the two wives of the first Buddhist king of Tibet, Srong-brtsan-sgam-po also written as Songsten Gampo), who is credited with the foundation of the Tibetan Empire. Srong-brtsan-sgam-po’s power extended well beyond the Tibetan Plateau and he ruled over Nepal as well as parts of India and China.

As Srong-brtsan-sgam-po commissioned a court scholar to create the Tibetan written language , which is based on an Indo-European model, his reign marks the beginning of recorded history in Tibet. Furthermore, Srong-brtsan-sgam-po is credited with the introduction of Buddhism in Tibet through his two wives.

One of the king’s wives was a princess from China by the name of Wencheng, while the other was a Nepalese princess by the name of Bhrikuti. Both of the king’s wives are believed to be incarnations of Tara, the former being White Tara whereas the latter Green Tara.

Songtsen Gampo (center), Princess Wencheng - White Tara (right), and Princess Bhrikuti - Green Tara (left). (Mistvan / Public Domain)


Michigan Copper in the Mediterranean

Wayne May has been researching all of his life, finding amazing information about archaeology all over North America. He has become a very respected voice when it comes to copper in Michigan. Wayne has had articles in his Ancient American magazine for years from Mr. Wakefield and others who share with us amazing research about the ancient civilizations of the Hopewell and Adena Cultures. I recommend his magazines highly and you can purchase them here.

Editor’s Note: It’s important to remember that we support the Universal Model and believe in the dating of the earth to about 12,000 BC and dinosaurs date to the time of Adam. References in the article below may not reflect this information.

Article below by Jay Stuart Wakefield Published 29th July 2011

The Shipping of Michigan Copper across the Atlantic in the Bronze Age (Isle Royale and Keweenaw Peninsula, c. 2400 BC-1200 BC)

Summary

Recent scientific literature has come to the conclusion that the major source of the copper that swept through the European Bronze Age after 2500 BC is unknown. However, these studies claim that the 10 tons of copper oxhide ingots recovered from the late Bronze Age (1300 BC) Uluburun shipwreck off the coast of Turkey was “extraordinarily pure” (more than 99.5% pure), and that it was not the product of smelting from ore. The oxhides are all brittle “blister copper”, with voids, slag bits, and oxides, created when the oxhides were made in multiple pourings outdoors over wood fires. Only Michigan Copper is of this purity, and it is known to have been mined in enormous quantities during the Bronze Age.

The Geology of Copper

Copper is said to be the most common metal on the face of the Earth with the exception of iron. However, most of it is in the form of low-grade ores that require a sequence of concentration mechanisms to upgrade it to exploitable ore through a series of proto-ores. Copper ores of the “oxidized type”, including the oxide cuprite, and carbonates (malachite) are generally green or blue, and reducible to copper metal by simple heating with charcoal. Ores of the “reduced type” are sulfides or sulfosalts (chalcocite, chalcopyrite, tetrahedrite), and are not readily identified in outcrops as ores they require roasting to convert them to oxides, then reduction of the oxides to produce metal. There are a number of places in the world where copper can be found in small deposits in the pure state, but it is usually embedded in a rock matrix, from which it must be freed by intensive labor, or, today, crushed in huge volumes, and treated to obtain the metal.

The Unique Geology of Michigan Copper

Early in Earth’s history, there were huge volcanic outflows over the Great Lakes area. As new sediments overlaid these flows, copper solutions were crystallizing in the Precambrian flood basalts of the lava layers. The copper had been crystallized in nodules and irregular masses along fracture zones a few inches, to many feet wide. After a billion years, about a quarter of the age of the Earth, four major glaciations ground upon the edges of the old layered basalt lava beds, and exposed some of the embedded copper (Fig.2, top drawing).

Isle Royale and the Keweenaw Peninsula remained high ridges of volcanic basalt. The scraping and digging by the glaciers, followed by surface exposure of the hardest material, the metal, was followed by sluicing of the land by glacial meltwaters. This left many mineral nodules of all sizes on the surface, in the huge pine forests. This was called “float copper”, as it appeared that it had “floated” to the surface. Nodules of copper were discovered shining in the surf along the shores of Isle Royale. The prolonged crystallization, followed by glacial exposure, was a unique sequence of events. When exploited, it took man from the stone age to an industrial world. The half billion pounds mined in prehistory were followed by six and a half billion pounds mined in the “industrial age” in America, starting in the late 1800s

Old World Copper

Most European copper was smelted out of copper ores starting about 4460 BC. These ores often had only a concentration of 15% copper in them, and had many trace element contaminants, such as lead (Ref.19). Buried hoards of bronze are usually composed of broken axeheads, miscellaneous broken pieces, and lumps, recycling the valuable metal. Henderson’s book (Ref.19) reports a German study that did 12,000 [!] chemical analyses of copper-containing artifacts, with the aim of identifying “workshops”. They were not able to do this, but noted that “hoards which often contain low impurity metal in South-Eastern England and Northern France may be linked to the occurrence of copper ingots, which also had low impurities.” Barber (Ref.28) says that “ingot (or ‘cake’) fragments are a common feature of founder’s hoards of the late Bronze Age, and often comprise pure, unalloyed copper.” Barber says only one mining site in the British Isles (Great Orme) shows evidence of activity after the early Bronze Age. Burgess (Ref.16) says of the British Isles Bronze Age, “the remarkable thing is that metallurgy seems to have started in the south-east, apparently as early as anywhere in Britain, [though] the southeast has no local ores”.

The Miners of Michigan Copper

It is estimated that half a billion pounds (Ref.1) of copper were mined in tens of thousands of pits on Isle Royale and the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan by ancient miners over a period of a thousand years. Carbon dating of wood timbers in the pits has dated the mining to start about 2450 BC and end abruptly at 1200 BC. Officially, no one knows where the Michigan copper went. All the “ancient copper culture” tools that have been found could have been manufactured from just one of the large boulders. A placard in London’s British Museum Bronze Age axe exhibit says: “from about 2500 BC, the use of copper, formerly limited to parts of Southern Europe, suddenly swept through the rest of the Continent”. No one seems to know where the copper in Europe came from.

Indian legends tell the mining was done by fair-haired “marine men”. Along with wooden tools, and stone hammers, a walrus-skin bag has been found (Ref.1). A huge copper boulder was found in the bottom of a deep pit raised up on solid oak timbers, still preserved in the anaerobic conditions for more than 3,000 years. Some habitation sites and garden beds have been found and studied (various ref.). It is thought that most of the miners retired to Aztalan (near Madison, Wisconsin) and other locations to the south at the onset of the hard winters on Lake Superior. The mining appears to have ended overnight, as though they had left for the day, and never came back. A petroglyph of one of their sailing ships has been found (Fig.7).

During this thousand-year period of mining, some of the miners must have explored the continent to the west, as evidenced by strangely large skeletons in a lot of places, such as the red-haired giants who came by boat to Lovelock Cave on Lake Lahontan (Nevada), that were found in 1924 with fishnets and duck decoys (Ref.77). There is “biological tracer” evidence for foot traffic back and forth across the continent, more that three thousand years before the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Huber (Ref.27) describes the “remarkable” presence of the shrub Devil’s Club on Blake Point, the northern tip of Isle Royale, and on Passage Island, offshore, and also on small islands around Rock Harbor, on Isle Royale. Its usual habitat is the rainforest gullies of the conifer forests of the Pacific Northwest. Huber claims it appears nowhere else east of the Rocky Mountains. This plant has giant leaves, with spines underneath, and frightfully spiny woody stems. It has a history of traditional use as a medicine, to treat diabetes, tumors, and tuberculosis, with its effectiveness confirmed by modern studies. It appears likely it was carried in a medicine bag to this remote island in Lake Superior in ancient times, and the places where the Devil’s Club are found are showing us where the miners were using medicines.

Silver in the Copper

Pieces of the “native” Michigan copper sometimes have crystals of silver inclusions, mechanically enclosed but not alloyed this is called “halfbreed copper”. In the commercial mines, the miners are said to have cut these silver nodules off with knives, and take them home. The presence of silver nodules in “Old Copper Culture” tools shows they were made by hammering, called “cold working”. These hammered weapons and tools found in Hopewell mounds sometimes “show specks of silver, found only in copper of Lake Superior” (Ref. 69). Apparently, one instance of identification by silver inclusion has occurred overseas: In this letter of December 1 st , 1995, Palden Jenkins, a historian from Glastonbury, writes, “I met the farmer who owns the land on which a megalithic stone circle is, called Merry Maidens, in far west Cornwall. While clearing hedges, he discovered an arrowhead, which was sent to the British Museum for identification. The answer returned: ‘5,000 years old source, Michigan, USA’.” (Ref.76).

Trace Element Analysis

The temperature of a wood fire is 900°C, and with charcoal above 1000°C, but forced air fires are hotter, and met the need to obtain the 1084°C melting point of copper. The melting of crystallized copper, and pouring it into oxhide molds (the shape of the skin of a flayed ox) for shipping, wherever it was done, is the first step in its contamination. Re-melting, for pouring into tool molds, can involve the use of fluxes, fuel contamination, the addition of used/broken tools, and the addition of arsenic or tin.

Since metals always contain small portions of trace elements, it was thought we could follow the copper, by looking at trace elements in copper elsewhere, to see if it matched. The six early studies reported by Griffin (Ref.25), all report native copper at 99.92% copper. Rapp and others (Ref.8,53) report that using trace element “fingerprints”, using mostly Lake Superior copper samples, probable geographic/geologic source identification can be done. The work of Hancock et al. (Ref.47) showed again that native copper, including Michigan copper, showed lower levels of tin, arsenic, gold, and especially cobalt, than “European copper” manufactured artifacts. The British Museum reported “generally low trace element content [in] our Egyptian artifacts” (Ref.2). Years ago, the author collected some European copper and bronze axes, thinking that he might do some sampling of them for some commercially-available trace element analysis. Unfortunately, sample testing is only useful for hammered coppertools, not melted/cast ones. Looking at artifacts, full of mixed contaminants in their manufacturing, has for the most part, not been helpful. We need to look at the least-disturbed samples, the ingot form in which copper was shipped.

The Uluburun Ingots

In the excellent 30-page 2002 study by Hauptmann et al, on the “Structure and Composition of Ingots from the 1300 BC Uluburun Wreck” (Ref.54) the authors say “the cargo represents the ‘world market’ of bulk metal in the Mediterranean. The wreck contained 354 oxhide-shaped ingots and 121 discoid, or bun ingots, altogether 10 tons of copper (see Fig.4).

Additionally a ton of tin ingots were recovered, in 120 ingots and fragments, a ratio which roughly corresponds to the ratio of copper to tin in ‘classical’ bronzes.” The cedar hull was badly damaged by a collision with the shore, but some of the wood was preserved by the corrosion products of the copper ingots. These ingots are all now in the Museum of Underwater Archaeology, in Bodrum, Turkey, with the ingots also found in the later date Cape Gelidonya shipwreck. These are more ingots than the total in all other museums and private collections put together. Some oxhide ingots have been excavated in the Minoan ruins of Hagia Triadha in Crete (dated to 1550-1500 BC), and others have been found in Sardinia, Cyprus, the Nile Delta, Turkey and Bulgaria. Researcher Zena Halpern, (Ref.71), reports “I saw heaps of copper ingots in the Maritime Museum in Haifa, Israel”. “Metal bars in the oxhide shape dating from c.1700 BC have been found at Falmouth in Cornwall”, England (Ref.78). Egyptian New Kingdom tomb paintings and temple reliefs depict a great number of copper ingots, but only one has been found in Egypt, as they were consumed there. (Ref.23).

For many years, the archaeological community has thought that lead isotope studies by an Oxford group, Gale et.al.(Ref.23,35,44,56) have proved that the ingots all came from Cyprus. In 1998 the Gale group (Ref.56) reports performing “approximately one thousand [!] lead isotope analyses of ores and ingots, including about 60 Uluburun ingots”. (They did not test a single sample of Michigan copper.) The study reports that the “Uluburun ingots are greater than 99.5% pure copper”.

In the Hauptmann study, a steel chisel was used to cut pieces for surface sampling of 151 of the Uluburun ingots, and three oxhides and one bun were drill cored all the way through (see Fig.2). Their report states that he samples showed porous volume typical of “blister copper”, that “exceeds by far our previous ideas on their inner structure, with void volume reaching 20% or higher, especially in the upper portions of the ingots. In general, cavities like these, called “spratzen”, are caused by the effervescence of gases, such as oxygen, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide, by water from burning charcoal. This is in contrast with copper from other periods and other localities… All the ingots contain angular-shaped inclusions of iron-silicate slags, features compatible with natural rocks affected by the impact of high temperatures in the solid state. These can be removed by repeated melting, but, while these were regular steps … at many metallurgical sites all over the middle and southern part of Africa, the Uluburun ingots were not processed in this way. The angular shape of the slag inclusions, the structure, and the existence of iscorite point to a pouring of copper into a mold when the slag was already solidified… Interfaces in the crystalline structure of the ingots points to different batches during casting. Almost all the samples contained cuprite (Cu2O) distributed in changing amounts throughout the ingots, associated with large voids. The cuprite formed by corrosion in the sea does not penetrate for more than 5mm or so. An oxygen-rich atmosphere necessary to produce cuprite in an amount observed does not prevail during the smelting of (roasted) ores. We therefore can eliminate the conclusion that the ingots consist of as-smelted raw copper from a smelting furnace. Most of the ore available on Cyprus is of chalcopyritic composition, and relics of sulfides are quite difficult to completely remove, yet this mixed sulfide does not occur in the copper ingots.”

The Hauptman study concludes that “from a chemical point of view, the purity of the ingots is extraordinary in comparison with other sorts of copper from Wadi Arabah (high lead), from the Caucasus (high arsenic), from Oman (high arsenic and nickel). The ingots are made of pure copper, and all the ingots show a homogeneous composition. From our metallographic investigations, we are able to exclude a conscious purification or even a refining process to produce the ingots. We see few indications that bronze scrap could have been added, due to the very low tin concentration, and would not include gas bubbles and slag inclusions. The ingots provide an explanation for the previously vexing question of how an ingot of a metal as ductile as copper could have been broken up into small pieces such as those excavated by the hundreds in Sardinia. Two characteristics of the Uluburun ingots stand out – the presence of a substantial degree of porosity, and a high concentration of copper oxide inclusions, which made it brittle. Simply dropping the ingots onto a hard surface would easily shatter the ingots.”

A 32 page 1995 study by Budd et al (Ref.55), reviewed all the work to date, and says “all the oxhide ingots are composed of essentially pure copper… No meaningful conclusions on provenance can currently be drawn from a consideration of trace element data for oxhide ingots, ores, and artifacts on Cyprus or Sardinia… It is no surprise that the only oxhide ingot mold ever found, at Ras Ibn Hani, Syria, in 1983 was surrounded by droplets bearing the same isotope signature as the vast majority of the oxhide ingots. The 1989 (Ref.35) Gale report concludes that the Aghia Triadha ingots on Crete “are certainly not made of Cypriot copper”, and the copper source could not be identified. Dickinson, author of the Aegean Bronze Age (Ref.21) “From outside the Aegean came …oxhide ingots. These have all, when tested, proved to be non-Aegean metal.”

Where did the Copper go?

Enormous orders for bronze weapons are recorded on excavated Bronze Age clay tablets, for swords in the tens of thousands. The Roman soldier is said to have worn up to 48 pounds of bronze in his uniform. Armies throughout the ancient world were equipped with bronze weapons. Statues and musical instruments, chariots, furniture and vases were made of copper and bronze. Even rooms were lined with copper and bronze. After the bronze Colossus of Rhodes was destroyed in an earthquake in 226 B.C., it was sold to a merchant, who used almost 1,000 camels to ship the pieces to Syria (Ref.13). “From only 5% of the Karum Kanesh tablets, we already know of 110 donkey loads carrying 15 tons of tin into Anatolia, enough to produce (at 5-7% tin content) 200 to 300 tons of bronze.”(Ref.23).

Minoan Traders

A variety of cultural groups were involved in the mining, shipping, and trading of copper, among them the Egyptians, the Megalithic peoples of the western coast of Europe, the Atlanteans, and the Minoans. The Minoans have the reputation of controlling the copper trade in the Eastern Mediterranean. “It is in the New Palace period in Bronze Age Minoan Crete, that we find a large increase in population, particularly in settlements along the coasts, the growth of towns, which in some cases surround mini-palaces, luxurious separate town houses at palatial and other sites, and fine country villas…Villas and houses at Ayia Triadha and Tylissos contained not only weights and loom weights, but also copper oxhide ingots and Linear A tablets, and both are rich in luxury products and bronze objects. Minoan prowess in metal weapon production was not limited to the long sword, but included the short sword, the solid long dagger and the shoe-socketed and tube-socketed spearhead and arrowhead, all of which may have made their first Aegean appearance in Crete”… Neopalatial Crete is extremely rich in bronze, but very poor in sources of copper and of course totally lacking in sources of tin” (Ref.23). The Newberry Tablet of Newberry, Michigan (Fig.6) is in a Cypriot/Cretan sylabary. Cretan script may have been the basis of the Cree sylabary (Ref.7), and Mayan writing (Ref.3).

The “Cavern of Glyphs” on the Ohio River had images of clothed figures that “singularly recall the dress of the Minoans, as seen on the frescoes at Knossos in Crete” (Ref.79). A Minoan pot has been unearthed in Louisiana. The Olmecs laid mosaic tiles at La Venta, (Mexico) upon asphalt, the same technique used in Crete (Ref.3). The excavation of the wealthy grave goods at Hallstatt (see Fig.5) show that traders brought Minoan pots as well as copper/bronze pots to trade for salt.

It appears that the ruling elite of Hallstatt were among the end customers of Michigan copper, as well as the Egyptians.

References

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Published April 1863, 30 page reprint from the Smithsonian Institution this booklet one of the best early sources for the ancient copper mining activities of Upper Michigan. Booklet is fully illustrated with examples of miners copper, stone and wood tools plus map of the Keweenaw Peninsula showing ancient mine locations. Booklet, orig. rel. in 1863, 30 pgs.


Copper alloy foundation figurines with pegs representing Gods - History

The Thames has long been important as both a natural boundary and major route of travel and communication – it has often been described as the ‘longest archaeological site’ in the world!

The British Museum has over 2,000 objects in its collection that have been found in the Thames. Some of them predate the city’s foundation, and they can tell us fascinating stories about London’s history. Most were recovered during the 19th and early 20th century, often found by workmen in the course of dredging and the building of bridges and locks, so we do not always know their exact findspots or circumstances of recovery.

Here are eight intriguing objects, dating from the Neolithic period to Tudor times – that’s nearly 5,000 years of throwing (or losing) things in the river!

1. A Neolithic polished macehead

Humans have lived along the Thames since the earliest periods of prehistory, with the archaeological record stretching back to first human settlement of the British Isles. Long before London was built, we find scatters of artefacts along the edge of the river suggesting that people were living there. By the Neolithic (4000–2200 BC), we start to see specially produced prestige objects, such as this polished stone macehead, found in the Thames near Twickenham, and made out of precious materials. Research suggests that while maces may have been used as weapons, it is most likely that they are ceremonial and possibly symbols of power because of the effort and skill required to make them. Their discovery may represent the beginning of a long history of deliberately depositing precious objects in the river, possibly as ritualistic offerings.

2. A bronze sword

Leaf-shaped, bronze (copper-alloy) sword dated to the Late Bronze Age. On display in Room 1.

During the Bronze Age (2200–800 BC) and the Iron Age (800 BC–AD 43), the River Thames was a popular place to make offerings and sacrifices, especially along the stretch from Battersea to Waterloo. This may have been the site of crossing points across the powerful and turbulent river, or perhaps a sacred place, or an important political boundary – maybe all of these things. The remains of ancient human skulls have also been found in the river. Perhaps the weapons and other objects accompanied the watery burial of the dead, or were spoils of war being dedicated to the gods by victorious warriors. Casting these beautiful and important objects into the water may even have simply been a display of wealth and power – we don’t know for sure.

3. The Battersea shield

The Battersea shield. Iron Age, c. 350–50 BC. On display in Room 50.

This magnificent shield was found in the River Thames in 1857, where Battersea Bridge stands today. It dates to the Iron Age, between 350 and 50 BC. The Battersea shield is not actually a complete shield, but only the facing – a metal cover that was attached to the front of wooden shield. The shield does not show signs of damage in combat, but this does not necessarily mean that it was not used in warfare. Flamboyant display seems to have been an important part of Iron Age battles, and both weapons and armour are often highly decorative. This decoration is sometimes hidden. Even the handle of this shield was very ornate. Perhaps the swirling designs were believed to hold magical or protective properties which empowered warriors. The highly polished bronze and glinting red glass on the shield would certainly have made for a great spectacle. Ultimately, though, it was thrown or placed in the River Thames, where many weapons were offered as sacrifices in the Bronze and Iron Ages.

4. The Waterloo helmet

Waterloo helmet. Iron Age, c. 250–50 BC. On display in Room 50.

Found in 1868 while dredging near Waterloo Bridge, this is the only Iron Age helmet to have ever been found in southern England, and the only Iron Age helmet with horns ever to have been found anywhere in Europe. It is unlikely to have been used in battle and was probably a form of ceremonial headdress. Being made from thin bronze sheets it would have been too fragile for use in battle. It has elaborate decoration (La Tène style) used in Britain between 250 and 50 BC. Originally, the bronze helmet would have been a shining polished bronze colour, not the dull green colour it is today. It was also once decorated with studs of bright red glass, like the Battersea shield.

5. A bust of Hadrian

In AD 43, the Roman’s established the first major town along the Thames – Londinium. This was a major port and had an important river crossing along a narrow section of the Thames, near where the modern London Bridge is located. Many remains from the Roman town can still be under the modern City of London. Dating from the reign of the Roman emperor Hadrian (AD 117–138), this head from a large statue of the emperor was dredged up from the bed of the Thames at the site of old London Bridge in 1834. It is very likely that the findspot is close to the statue’s original location in a central area of Londinium. The statue probably stood in a public space such as a forum, and may have been put up to commemorate Hadrian’s visit to Britain in AD 122. There are many known marble statues of him, but this bronze example is a rare survival.

6. A Viking sword

There are also plenty of early medieval finds from the Thames, including Anglo-Saxon and Viking weapons. The Vikings raided London multiple times in the 9th and 10th centuries in their bids to gain control of England (there’s even a theory that the nursery rhyme London Bridge Is Falling Down is about a Viking raid!). However it’s not entirely clear why these weapons are there – were these ritual and deliberate deposits or losses during transit or in battle? This particular sword was likely found in the river, and is now on display in Room 41.

7. A pilgrim badge

London was the starting point for the most significant pilgrimage route in medieval England, to St Thomas Becket’s shrine at Canterbury Cathedral. The route followed the old Roman road Watling Street across London Bridge to its first stop in Southwark, where pilgrims gathered at the Tabard Inn (famously the starting point for Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales). In the Middle Ages, the Church encouraged people to make pilgrimages to holy shrines as it was believed that by making this arduous journey on foot your sins would be forgiven. Becket’s tomb became the most popular shrine in England. People would wear pilgrim badges to mark their journey and would often acquire them as tokens or souvenirs along the route. Thousands of pilgrimage badges have been recovered from the Thames, many from around London Bridge, including this one. The three fishes may represent the Holy Trinity or the lombardic ‘M’, a symbol for the Virgin Mary. It is debated if these badges were simply lost in travel, or deposited into the river for good luck after returning from pilgrimage.

8. A Tudor toy

Over the years, many tears must have been shed by children over their beloved toys, which suddenly fell out of their grasp and over a bridge or wall with no possibility of rescue. This doll, found at Bull Wharf in London, takes us close to her original owner, a small girl in late Tudor London. The doll is a rare find. Cast in lead alloy, it is almost complete. Her dress is so exactly detailed that she can be dated to the late 1500s. She wears a heart-shaped hood, a fitted bodice which is laced at the back and a full skirt, which opens at the front to reveal an underskirt. We know very little about who made these hollow-cast dolls, but we think they were sold at city fairs such as St Bartholomew’s Fair at Smithfield in London.

The water of the Thames has preserved these objects for us to rediscover and display today. What secrets will the river give up to future generations? Whatever they may be, they will provide a fascinating glimpse into London’s ongoing history.


Dancing girls and prostitutes used to tattoo their thighs as a precaution against venereal disease

A fired clay female figure, depicting an erotic dancer, excavated at Abydos in Upper Egypt and now in the exhibition at Two Temple Place, is embellished with indentations that were meant to represent tattoos. Of course, in ancient Egypt, tattoos probably had a decorative purpose.

But they may have had a protective function too. There is evidence that, during the New Kingdom, dancing girls and prostitutes used to tattoo their thighs with images of the dwarf deity Bes, who warded off evil, as a precaution against venereal disease.

“The more I try to understand what the Egyptians themselves understood as ‘beautiful’”, says Egyptologist Joyce Tyldesley, “the more confusing it becomes, because everything seems to have a double purpose. When it comes to ancient Egypt, I don’t know if ‘beauty’ is the right word to use.”

These cosmetic pots contained kohl, which the ancient Egyptians applied like eye-liner, perhaps to screen out the sun (Credit: Two Temple Place/Ipswich Museum)

To complicate matters further, there are eye-catching exceptions to the general rule whereby elite ancient Egyptians presented themselves in a stereotypically ‘beautiful’ fashion.

Consider the official portraiture of the Middle Kingdom pharaoh Senwosret III. Although his naked torso is athletic and youthful – idealised, in line with earlier royal portraits – his face is careworn and cracked with furrows. Moreover his ears, to modern viewers, appear comically large – hardly an attribute, you would think, of male beauty.

Yet, in ancient Egypt, the effect wouldn’t have been funny. “In the Old Kingdom, kings were god-kings,” explains Tyldesley, who is a senior lecturer at the University of Manchester. “But by the Middle Kingdom, kings [such as Senwosret] recognised that things could crumble and go wrong, which is why they look a bit worried.”

“The big ears are telling us that this king will listen to the people,” she adds. “It would be wrong to take his portrait literally and say he looked like this.”

Queen of the Nile

Why, then, do we continue to associate ancient Egypt with glamour and beauty? “We still find ancient Egyptian civilisation very seductive,” agrees Tyldesley, who believes that this is due to the afterlives of two famous Egyptian queens: Cleopatra and Nefertiti.

Ever since antiquity, following the Roman conquest of Egypt, Cleopatra has been known as a paragon of beauty. Meanwhile the discovery, in 1912, of the famous painted bust of Nefertiti, now in Berlin’s Egyptian Museum, turned a little-known wife of the pharaoh Akhenaten into a pin-up of the ancient world.

Yet, says Tyldesley, who has written a biography of Cleopatra and is researching a book on Nefertiti, there is irony to the fact that these two Egyptian queens now resonate as sex symbols.


6. The Egyptian Mining Experience

In the orderly nature of the Ancient Egyptian civilization, they maintained written records showing the nature of their expeditions and the arrangements of their mining activities. The surviving Ancient Egyptian records show a tremendous organization of mining activities more than 5,000 years ago, in numerous sites throughout Egypt and beyond.

The turquoise mines at Serabit el Khadem in the Sinai Peninsula show a typical Ancient Egyptian mining quarry consisting of a network of caverns and horizontal and vertical passages carefully cut with proper corners—as were the quarries of the Ancient Egyptians in all periods. The Ancient Egyptians were able to cut deep and long into the mountains with proper shoring and support of excavated shafts and tunnels. Underground water seepage into tunnels and shafts was safely pumped out to ground level. These Egyptian pumps were famed worldwide, and were used in the mining activities in Iberia as per the following testimony of Strabo, in his Geography [3. 2. 9]:

So Poseidonius implies that the energy and industry of the Turdetanian miners is similar, since they cut their shafts aslant and deep, and, as regards the streams that meet them in the shafts, oftentimes draw them off with the Egyptian screw.

The very religious Egyptians have always built temples/shrines, along with commemorative stelae, near/at each mining site. The same exact practice was found in mining sites outside of Egypt, such as in the Iberian Peninsula, where mines of silver, copper, etc. were extracted since time immemorial.

The Ancient Egyptian mining site at Serabit el Khadem in Sinai provides a typical mining site with its small temple of Hathor, called “the Lady of the Turquoise”, which stood on a high rocky terrace that dominates the valley since the 4th Dynasty [2575–2465 BCE], or possibly much earlier. This temple was enlarged afterwards by the kings of the New Kingdom especially by Twt Homosis III. In front of the temple, for at least a half mile, is a kind of avenue that was arranged through numerous massive stelae covered on four sides with inscriptions commemorating mining expeditions. Inscribed stelae are also found at other mines throughout Egypt, describing the work at each mining site.

At the mines of Wadi Maghara, in Sinai, the stone huts of the workmen as well as a small fort, built to protect the Egyptians stationed there from the attacks of the Sinai Bedouins, still stand. There was a water well not far from these mines, and sizeable cisterns in the fortress to hold water. The mines of Wadi Maghara were actively worked all throughout the dynastic era [3050–343 BCE].

Inscriptions of the 19th Dynasty in the desert temple of Redesieh relate that King Seti I [1333–1304 BCE] commissioned stonemasons to dig a water well to provide water for both the mining operations as well as the mining workers. When the well was finished, a station and “a town with a temple” were built. Ramses II [1304–1237 BCE], his successor, mediated plans to provide for boring additional water along the roads to mining sites, where it was also needed.

Each mining site was conceived and planned for, with actual plans drawn up. Two Ancient Egyptian papyri were found which include site maps related to mining for gold during the reigns of the Pharaohs Seti I and Ramses II. One papyrus, which is only partially preserved, represents the gold district of the mountain Bechen in the Eastern Desert, and belongs to the time of Ramses II. The site plan on the found papyrus depicts two valleys running parallel to each other between the mountains. One of these valleys, like many of the larger valleys of the desert, is covered with underwood and blocks of stone to control soil erosion as a result of surface water runoff.

The prepared site plan shows the major details of the site, such as the road network within the mining site and its connection to the outer roadway system and “routes leading to the sea”. The site plan also shows treatment areas of ore metals (such as washing, etc.), small houses, storage areas, various buildings, a small temple, a water tank, etc. The area surrounding the mining site shows cultivated ground that provides the food needed for the mining site colony.

The Ancient Egyptian records also show the various divisions and specialties of the manpower at mining sites.

The Ancient Egyptian records show the organizational structure of the mining operations. Ancient Egyptian surviving records show the names and titles of various officials who, during the Old and the Middle Kingdoms, directed the works at Hammamat, at the Bechen mines in the Eastern Desert. They included engineers, miners, smiths, masons, architects, artists, security details, and ship captains who maintain the integrity of the parts of the ships that will be put back together when the expedition reaches navigable waters.

The ore metals were treated on site before being transported by land and water, under heavy security, to the populated areas of Egypt by the Nile Valley.

Egyptian mining activities were very organized, with people traveling back and forth to check the site work, ensuring the proper efficiency of operation and providing frequent rotation of the workforce at the mining sites, as well as providing amenities to these fortified sites. Under the Ancient Egyptian King Pepi I [2289–2255 BCE], the records show the name of the director of the quarries and the names and titles of the higher officials who conducted inspection visits to the site. Inscriptions mention many titles, such as “the chief superintendent of all the works” and “the chief architect”. This great man paid two inspection visits to Hammamat—once accompanied by his deputy and once, when it was a question of the religious texts on the walls of a temple, with a superintendent of the commissions of the sacrificial estates.

A document that dates to the reign of Ramses IV [1163–1156 BCE] provides a report of an expedition to the mountain of Bechen in the Eastern Desert under the direction of the “superintendent of the works”. Altogether, the expedition consisted of 8,368 people. These men included more than 50 civil officials and ecclesiastics as well as 200 officials from various departments. The fieldwork was carried out by miners, stonemasons, and other related work forces who worked under three superintendents and the “chief superintendent”. The labor work was carried out by 5000 miners, smiths, masons, etc., and 2,000 various types of labor. There were at least 110 officers supervising 800 of the barbarian mercenaries used for security details. The security forces were needed for the protection of the mining sites and the transportation of people and material. The management of this large number of people is extraordinary—8,368 people is the size of a large community, even nowadays.

The Ancient Egyptians sought raw materials from other countries and used their homegrown expertise to explore, mine, and transport raw materials from all over the inhabited world. Ancient Egyptian mining characteristics are found in many places—such as Iberia.

[An excerpt from Ancient Egyptian Culture Revealed , 2nd edition by Moustafa Gadalla]


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