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Copper smelting pits, Ross Island mine





The beginning of the Irish Bronze Age was marked by several centuries of unalloyed copper production, contemporary with the use of Beaker pottery between 2400-2200 BC. This early copper metallurgy is associated with an arsenic-rich metal used to make axeheads and blades. These objects achieved a wide circulation across Ireland in this period, with some supply into western Britain where they contributed to the spread of metallurgy there. Ross Island provides important new evidence for the extraction and processing of copper minerals at the dawn of insular metallurgy. This is the first copper mine which can be linked directly to the users of Beaker pottery, believed to have been the earliest metallurgists in Ireland















                                                                          Bronze Axehead and Copper Ingot



                                                                    Image courtesy : National Museum of Ireland