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Michigan Copper in the Mediterranean (cont.)
By Jay Stuart Wakefield, MES & AAPF

Where did the copper go?

Enormous orders for bronze weapons are recorded on excavated Bronze Age clay tablets, for swords in the tens of thousands. The Roman soldier is said to have worn up to 48 pounds of bronze in his uniform. Armies throughout the ancient world were equipped with bronze weapons. Statues and musical instruments, chariots, furniture and vases were made of copper and bronze. Even rooms were lined with copper and bronze. After the bronze Colossus of Rhodes was destroyed in an earthquake in 226 B.C., it was sold to a merchant, who used almost 1,000 camels to ship the pieces to Syria (Ref.13). “From only 5% of the Karum Kanesh tablets, we already know of 110 donkey loads carrying 15 tons of tin into Anatolia, enough to produce (at 5-7% tin content) 200 to 300 tons of bronze.”(Ref.23).


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Minoan Traders

A variety of cultural groups were involved in the mining, shipping, and trading of copper, among them the Egyptians, the Megalithic peoples of the western coast of Europe, the Atlanteans, and the Minoans. The Minoans have the reputation of controlling the copper trade in the Eastern Mediterranean. “It is in the New Palace period in Bronze Age Minoan Crete, that we find a large increase in population, particularly in settlements along the coasts, the growth of towns, which in some cases surround mini-palaces, luxurious separate town houses at palatial and other sites, and fine country villas…Villas and houses at Ayia Triadha and Tylissos contained not only weights and loom weights, but also copper oxhide ingots and Linear A tablets, and both are rich in luxury products and bronze objects. Minoan prowess in metal weapon production was not limited to the long sword, but included the short sword, the solid long dagger and the shoe-socketed and tube-socketed spearhead and arrowhead, all of which may have made their first Aegean appearance in Crete”… Neopalatial Crete is extremely rich in bronze, but very poor in sources of copper and of course totally lacking in sources of tin” (Ref.23). The Newberry Tablet of Newberry, Michigan (Fig.6) is in a Cypriot/Cretan sylabary. Cretan script may have been the basis of the Cree sylabary (Ref.7), and Mayan writing (Ref.3).


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The “Cavern of Glyphs” on the Ohio River had images of clothed figures that “singularly recall the dress of the Minoans, as seen on the frescoes at Knossos in Crete” (Ref.79). A Minoan pot has been unearthed in Louisiana. The Olmecs laid mosaic tiles at La Venta, (Mexico) upon asphalt, the same technique used in Crete (Ref.3). The excavation of the wealthy grave goods at Hallstatt (see Fig.5) show that traders brought Minoan pots as well as copper/bronze pots to trade for salt.


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It appears that the ruling elite of Hallstatt were among the end customers of Michigan copper, as well as the Egyptians.

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