Station: [217] Oldest Copper in Saxony

During the fourth millennium BC the first metal arrived in Saxony. This was copper. Copper working followed the main routes from South East Europe through to Southern Scandinavia; the copper grave goods that are found in late Neolithic graves attest to this.  The better-known finds are copper jewellery, daggers and axe-heads; the latter objects were scarcely hard enough to be used as weapons or tools, and they presumably functioned as status symbols.

Mining, smelting and forging copper were activities that required special skills. The Bell Beaker Culture graves, in particular, contain stone implements that were used in metal-working. However, not many copper finds have been made in Saxony. The little copper spiral in the display case comes from a Globular Amphorae Culture burial in Zschernitz that dates from 3,000 BC. It was found close to the dead person’s head, and was presumably an earring or a headdress. The plain ring is more recent. It was found in Werben, and came from a Corded Ware Culture grave.  These innovations with regard to extracting and working copper during the late Neolithic facilitated the rise in metallurgy during the Bronze Age.