Recent discoveries from ancient DNA revealed that the Bronze Age in Britain (c. 2500-800 BC) began with a major population replacement from continental Europe. A remarkable change occurred in c. 2100 BC when Britain and Ireland were the first regions in Europe to completely switch over from copper to the far harder bronze (typically 10% tin, 90% copper) for their tools and weapons. This change spread across the rest of Bronze Age Europe and the Mediterranean over the following centuries.
Tin to make bronze was scarce but Britain possessed the richest deposits in Europe and there has long been speculation that Britain traded tin across the continent and even supplied Bronze Age civilizations in the Eastern Mediterranean. The project will ‘fingerprint’ chemically and isotopically tin ores collected across southwest England and tin metal artefacts from museums.
Alan Williams commented:
The new website illustrates all aspects of this exciting project for a general audience as we seek to answer the question: Did Britain’s exceptionally rich tin deposits in Cornwall and Devon make the European Bronze Age?
Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, University of Liverpool
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