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Prehistoric Copper Mining in Europe: 5500-500 BC

  • Offers a good balance of descriptive details and interpretation of up-to-date research
  • Provides a broad survey, covering a wide geographical range of sites, and incorporating research from many archaeologists and geologists in different countries
  • Includes an extensive range of illustrations

By: William O'Brien(Author)

416 pages, 130 b/w illustrations

Oxford University Press

Hardback | Dec 2014 | #213332 | ISBN-13: 9780199605651
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £84.99 $108/€95 approx

About this book

Prehistoric Copper Mining in Europe examines prehistoric copper mining in Europe, from the first use of the metal eight thousand years ago in the Balkans to its widespread adoption during the Bronze Age. The history of research is examined, as is the survival of this mining archaeology in different geological settings. There is information on the technological processes of mineral prospecting, ore extraction, and metal production, as well as the logistics and organization of this activity and its environmental impact. The analysis is broadened to consider the economic and societal context of prehistoric copper mining and the nature of the distinctive communities involved.

The study is based on a review of field data and research produced over many decades by the collaboration of archaeologists and geologists in a number of different countries, and covers such famous mining centres as the Mitterberg in Austria, Kargaly in Russia, the Great Orme in Wales, and those in Cyprus, from where the name of this metal derives. These regional studies are brought together for the first time to present a remarkable story of human endeavour and innovation, which marks a new stage in the mastery of our natural resources.


List of Illustrations
List of Tables

1: Europe: the Birthplace of Mining?
2: South-east Europe
3: Eastern and Central Mediterranean
4: Iberia and the Western Mediterranean
5: France and the Western Alps
6: Northern Europe
7: Central and Eastern Europe
8: Technology and Work Practices
9: Mining, Community, and Environment
10: Mining, Economy, and Society


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William O'Brien is Professor of Archaeology at University College Cork.

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