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The Copper Mountain of Magan*

  • Harold Peake

One of the most interesting problems of antiquity is the origin of metallurgy. The metals first used seem to have been gold and copper, and it has been felt that if we could ascertain where the earliest civilized people obtained their ores we should be on the way to finding out which group first made the momentous discovery that copper could be melted and cast in a mould.

With a view to solving some part of this problem, the Anthropological Section of the British Association, at the Toronto meeting in 1924, appointed a Research Committee to report on the probable sources of the supply of copper used by the Sumerians. The present writer was appointed chairman of this committee, and this is his only excuse for making public the results of the labours of others, and the secretary from the beginning has been Mr G. A. Garfitt, to whose untiring energy is due the work that has been accomplished. Several leading archaeologists, with experience in excavations in the Near East, were added to the committee, as well as Dr Cecil Desch, F.R.S., Professor of Metallurgy at the University of Sheffield, and, at a later date, Professor C. O. Bannister of the University of Liverpool. The examination and analysis of the specimens have been carried out by these professors and their assistants.

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* Read before the Seventeenth International Congress of Orientalists at Oxford, 29 August 1928.

1 Sayce, A.H., ‘The Atlas of the Empire of Sargon of Akkad’. Ancient Egypt, 1924, p. 2. The text has been published in Keilschrifttexte aus Assur, verschiedenen Inhalts (1920), no. 92.

2 Cambridge Ancient History, 1, 415.

3 Cambridge Ancient History, 1, 416.

4 Ibid. 544.

5 Ibid. 416. From an inscription of Gudea.

6 Professor Albright informs me that this means ‘the mountain of the mines .

7 Professor Langdon tells me that this means ‘the camping–ground’.

Read before the Seventeenth International Congress of Orientalists at Oxford, 29 August 1928.

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  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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