Re: earliest metalworking (was: Re: cocaine in mummys

Yuri Kuchinsky (
1 Jan 1997 20:03:50 GMT

Thanks for your reply, August.

August Matthusen ( wrote:
: Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:

: > On the second thought, when I thought about these dates, can we really be
: > so sure where the earliest metalworking began? I think that perhaps we
: > should be cautious about this whole thing? (OK, _I wasn't_ in my original
: > post...) The dates are pretty close, you know...

: Yeah, only 500 to 800 or so years older in the old world.
: > a) How sure are we that both areas have been excavated and studied
: > adequately?

: Frankly, I have no idea what you mean by that.

I meant if our sample is adequate to come to firm conclusions about dates.

: > Old World sites probably were studied better than the
: > Wisconsin sites?

: Why? (BTW, maybe you should read the articles: Rapp et al.
: list 540 sites regarding new world copper [not just Old
: Copper Culture] and Vernon et al. note that the Old Copper
: Culture is spread throughout several Great Lakes states and
: Canada with the main source of the copper being the Keweenaw
: Peninisula in Upper Michigan.)

You're right. I will investigate these sources.

: > b) What about the carbon dating?

: Who said anything about carbon dating?

Well, how do we have the dates then?

: > We all know about the limitations of it. Yes?

: Some people do; I wouldn't go so far as to say "all" do.

I do. <grin>

: > Specifically, were any of those dates calibrated? This can change
: > the dates quite a bit!

: Are you suggesting that if radiocarbon dating is used, the calibration
: differs in the Old World versus the New world?

I mean that calibration can change the dates significantly. Often,
calibration, or a lack of it, is not mentioned when dates are given.

: Perhaps you should read the articles and the source literature.
: Both Rapp et al. and Vernon et al. cite abundant sources (Rapp et al.
: go so far as to provide supplemental references). As for Butzer,
: that was what I happened to have on hand. Who knows, in the last
: 25 years or so since Butzer, more recent work may have pushed the
: age of the first signs of metalworking in the Old World back further
: (of course, there is also 6 or so years since the articles by Rapp
: et al. and Vernon et al. for more recent work to push back the age
: in the new world).

: As for your suggestion of transatlantic copper, Rapp et al. have
: also published some papers on trace element fingerprinting of copper
: to identify source areas. If you should find some old world
: copper artifacts which you suspect are new world it appears that
: discrimination is possible.

I would like to find out if it is at all possible that (some of?) the
copper in the Old World artifacts may have derived from the New World. I
will try to look it up.

Happy New Year,


=O= Yuri Kuchinsky in Toronto =O=
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We should always be disposed to believe that that which
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Church so decides === St. Ignatius of Loyola