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Chalcolithic

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Modern Copper Shop, Kenya

Copper Shop, Kenya

Robin Hutton
Definition:

The Chalcolithic is the name given to the period in the Near East and Europe after the Neolithic and before the Bronze Age, roughly between about 4500 and 3500 BC.

This period has the earliest evidence for complex societies, the location of cemeteries outside of settlements, craft specialization in copper tool production (casting and lost wax), ivory, and ceramics. Chalcolithic is sometimes referred to as the 'Copper Age', and the word is from the Greek for copper (chalcos) and stone (lithos).

Sources

Hauptmann, Andreas, et al. 1989. Ancient copper production in the area of Feinan, Khirbet en-Nahas, and Wadi-el-Jariye, Wadi Arabah, Jordan. Fleming, Stuart J. and Schenck, Helen R. MASCA: History of Technology: The role of metals, 6-16.

A nicely detailed discussion of the Chalcolithic in Turkey may be found at the Ancient Anatolia site.

This glossary entry is part of the Dictionary of Archaeology.

Examples:
Be'er Sheva, Israel; Chirand (India); Los Millares, Spain; Tel Tsaf (Israel), Krasni Yar (Kazakhstan), Teleilat Ghassul (Jordan), Areni-1 (Armenia)

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