Copper

In Ancient Greece copper and bronze were called “khalkos” from the root “khalk.” According to linguists, this corresponds to “Hayk,” the name the Armenians gave to their country. The names “Hayos,” and “Ayas” that were given to copper by the Indians, Iranians, Germans and other Indo-European nations, are also connected with the name of the Armenian people. This linguistic etymology derives from a thousand year period when the neighboring nations taking into account the preliminary monopoly of the Armenians in the field of metalworking, particularly copper processing, named this metal after the Armenians.
Archaeological evidence also testifies that the first steps in copper processing were taken by the natives of the Armenian Plateau. The oldest brass items ever found were excavated in the Kharberd Valley (1964), in an ancient dwelling near the spring of the River Tigris, in close proximity to the copper ore deposits. The excavated hairpins proved that the technique of casting brass items was well-known in this locality from the 8th to the 7th millennium B.C. In this ancient period the Armenian Plateau was very rich in copper ores, which provided not only for the natives’ own needs, but also enough to export
to Syria and Mesopotamia. It is well known that the Sumers, the ancient inhabitants of Mesopotamia, named the River Euphrates “Urruttu” (river of copper) and going against the river stream bartered corn for copper. In the opinion of the English scientist Hall, “the Egyptians borrowed the art of processing the copper from Mesopotamia, probably from tribes like the Armenians: Armenoids, who appeared in the Lower Egypt before the period of the Pharaohs. Armenoids most likely received copper from the northern sources of the modern Armenian mountains”. The ancient metal workers knew quite well that it was possible to lower the melting point of copper by mixing it with a small quantity of tin. This created a new alloy, bronze, which had an increased hardness. Even though the Armenian mountains were rich in copper ores, the same could not be said about tin. Nevertheless, the ancient masters found different methods of making copper harder by mixing it with zinc, lead and other me tals. It is known that in Metsamor 14 kinds of bronze were produced in this way. On the verge of the 4th-3rd millennia B.C metalworking in the Armenian mountains was highly developed and tools, weapons and adornments made of bronze could be found in almost every cultural layer of these ancient dwellings.

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