In the fourth millennium B.C., at the grave site of Ma’adi southeast of Cairo at the mouth of Wadi Digla, we read as follows on the dead,
“The deceased, once again curled up in a fetal position, head resting on a stone serving as a pillow, were accompanied by globular urns placed against their backs. But what characterizes the site above all is that alongside objects made of ivory and polished bone, there is an abundance of copper, used instead of stone for all tools such as axes, needles, fishhooks, rings and spatulas.” The Glory of Cairo, Edited by Andre Raymond, The American University in Cairo Press, pp. 25
So when did the bronze age actually begin? And why. We have been led to believe that much copper was mined from the upper peninsula of Michigan in the times long before Columbus and regular documented trans-atlantic contact between the European powers and the new world. We have been further led to believe that the Michigan copper was the catalyst for the bronze age in the old world, specifically in the near east and at the time of Ma’adi discussed above we find the sudden emergence of copper artifacts in lieu of lithic pieces from the prior era.
In North America, the Adena moundbuilding culture is nearly exclusively known for the copper artifacts they would provide the dead in burial mounds. The timeframe of the Adena ranges as far back as 1,000 B.C. and maybe marked transition culture anywhere from 200 A.D. to 800 A.D. Forgive us on the dates, they do vary wildly and the carbon dating is exclusively, remotely related to the piece in question in each study and text and other medium describing that culture fail to account for the origin of the copper, most often and most generalized, however the assumed origin is upper peninsula, Michigan, why, presumably something about the composition of that metal from that region on the physical chemists to explain, but presumably there are no other sources of copper except for the ones there are, here and there, veins of copper, quite literal veins, along the coasts of the US and South America, all the while we are led to believe no fishing or maritime culture could import and export such copper despite the copper being entirely depleted, we are told, not so, and more to the point, where in the world is copper nowadays.
Where did the copper come from and why? Michigan, we are told, for reasons that are unspecified except for Michigan copper is unique, which is true in the sense that Michigan copper is pure and not an oxide of copper and as such may be hammered right out of rock rather than diluted and solvated, et cetera, so is this copper different from other copper, yes it is, we are told the Egyptian copper is Michigan copper, we would like to believe there is some more specific chemistry on the subject and maybe one day we will get around to looking into that.