Lake Superior Mines, Old Copper Culture and Copper Shipments to Europe during the Bronze Age.
|3 ton copper nugget, Lake Superior|
To which I replied:
On Mon, Feb 6, 2012 at 7:16 PM, Dale Drinnon wrote:
But there WERE copper artifacts all over the area and dating MUCH further back than the quoted C14 dates on these coppermines. Furthermore the page you listed cites some nonstandard dates for some other things otherwise.
The Old Copper Culture begins sometime before 4000 BC and hence is on a par with Megalithic Europe and most parts of the Near East, and they were making tools of much the same design as Bronze Age Europe at the same time-
” Archaeologists do know that widespread trading must have taken place because items such as marine shells from the southern Gulf Coast are found at Archaic sites.” at the last one.
Best Wishes, Dale D.
To which Teresa replied: “hhhhmmmm…. the plot thickens. so why aren’t we reading more bout this sort of things. Well we are, but why isn’t this making more mainstream news I wonder?”
And then I came back with: “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt, ya know.”
An obituary for Fred Rydholm that appeared in April of 2009 happened to mention some of the basic circumstances regarding the Lake Superior copper and it is worth quoting here: About a year and a half ago, Fred sent me an autographed copy of his book, “Michigan Copper: The Untold Story,” without which I could not have written The Copper Trail portion of a program presented at the Ancient Artifact Preservation Society’s annual convention in Marquette last fall. He enclosed a handwritten note basically saying he felt that I was the most qualified person to write The Copper Trail. Actually, Fred was the most qualified person — no one else could come close to his knowledge about the vast amounts of pure natural copper in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the history of its mining. But I’ll take the compliment, and thanks to my fellow researcher Myron Paine of Martinez, Calif., who apparently put a bug in Fred’s ear about whatever writing abilities I possess.
The Copper Trail is part of a chain of evidence presented at the conference stating that oceans were not barriers in ancient times, but were moving highways — allowing many peoples from many places to travel to the land that now is the Americas at many times before Christopher Columbus “discovered” it Many of those seafarers came to what is now known as Michigan, to gather and transport native copper back to their home countries, fueling the world’s Bronze Age. Bronze is 90 percent copper alloyed with 10 percent tin. Michigan has more than 5,000 ancient copper mining pits, some as deep as 30 feet and all so old they were filled almost to ground level with decayed vegetable matter and wind-blown soil when they were discovered in the mid-1850s. Thousands upon thousands of stone hammers (used to batter pieces small enough to carry, from big, heated copper nuggets) were found in and around the mining pits. The story of Michigan’s copper is not taught in our public schools today, but thanks to Fred more than anyone else, it will be in the future — and it certainly should be. It’s a fascinating story and part of our nation’s early history.
Fred was the catalyst behind the formation of the Ancient American Artifact Preservation Society and the first to have the idea for a planned museum to promote knowledge of the copper country and diffusionism. (Diffusionists believe the opposite of the traditional view of history, which teaches that Columbus and a few Norse were the first Europeans to reach the Americas, other than ancestors of American Indians who are said to have walked across the Bering land bridge which existed in the distant past. To read more about Fred, learn about the upcoming Conference on Ancient Copper or the 5th Annual AAPS Conference on Ancient America or buy “Michigan Copper: The Untold Story,” visit www.aaaps.org and click on the appropriate icons.
Fred proposed to build the museum over huge piece of [glacially-deposited] native float copper which was discovered about 10 years ago. The huge copper nugget weighs an estimated 40 to 70 tons. No one knows how much of the nugget’s copper is underground, so there is no way to properly verify its weight. The AAPS (the word “American” has been dropped since the society’s founding) made a down payment on the nugget and several acres of land a couple of years ago, but still owes about $340,000. The aaaps.org Web site also tells how to make donations to benefit the museum project. After the museum is built, and as word gets out to schools about the copper country and the ancient copper trade, Fred’s influence on the teaching of history will be felt around the world.
Now I should mention that the first time that it was suggested that the European Bronze Age was relying heavily on UP Michigan copper was in 1881. That was by Ignatius Donnelly in Atlantis: the Antediluvian World. Since then the official stance has been to steadfastly ignore any evidence that such a thing was even possible.
The Old Copper Culture lasted from about 4000 BC (or even before) until about 1000 BC: the Mound (Adena and Hopewell) copper items seem to be a direct continuation of the same tradition.
It is important that several of the types of tools made by the OCC are of the types being made in Europe at the same time, and that it would be EXTREMELY unusual if the people in the New World independantly invented such a thing as socketed hafting of spears and celts. But beyond that there is the whole array of European style tools including little cosmetic spoons and trepanning tools, and some of the “Spearheads” look a lot like bronze knives and swords being used in Europe. And just when did shaving become important enough among Native Americans that you frequently find RAZORS, even exactly the same type as popular in Europe at the same time?
“There have been incredible, but totally unsubstantiated, claims made as to the time and manpower required to create the ancient copper pits and as to the amount of copper that was actually mined.
One has to ask the obvious question, where did all this mined copper go? Some scholars would have us believe that the vast majority was taken by Phoenicians, Berbers, Minoans, Bronze Age Europeans or Vikings in a huge international copper trade centering in the Lake Superior Region. Where is the archeological evidence to support these theories? The truth is that it does not exist. There are no identified community or camp sites, no burial remains, and no identifiable artifacts to support any of these theories. All of this evidence does exist to demonstrate that the indigenous peoples were, in fact, the ones who mined the copper and fashioned it into implements, weapons and ornaments”
And furthermore the forms of the copper objects that were manufactured by the Old Copper Culture match their old-world analogues (also specified by Barry Fell). Any of them could be taken to be artifacts of an introduced culture. What eventually happened in America was that they eventually ceased to have a utilitarian use and value and were used solely as elite trade items. Or for their monetary value and the status they conferred, to put it another way.
OCC tools and ornaments are scattered over a wide area besides around the Great Lakes in the USA: I know of several finds in Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky and even as far away as Maryland. These are assumed to have been trade goods. They are also found in Canada as far as Lake Winnepeg.
Locations of some Old Copper Culture artifact collections:
Wisconsin State Historical Society in Madison
Chicago Field Museum
Neville Public Museum in Green Bay
American Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.
Pennsylvania University Museum in Philadelphia
Boats such as were used by the builders of stonehenge to move large blocks of stone over hundreds of miles.
Those Isle Royale copper miners had to go out in notoriously rough waters, repeatedly, and with mega-tons of that copper they had been digging out. They WEREN’T doing that in little birch-bark canoes. Viking longboats or their earlier forerunners would be more like it. They HAD to have been pretty rough sea-faring types to get through with the cargo. Which we know they did, because the copper they shipped out turns up everywhere.
Incidentally, not only is Lake Superior the largest of the Great Lakes, it contains enough water to make up all of the other Great Lakes, plus enough left over for several more Lake Eires.
|Late Bronze Age Merchant Ship|