Where are the earliest known metal tools and weapons?

Cyprus? Israel? Turkey? Egypt? Iraq? Pakistan?

You are going to be surprised!

Part Four of the Mesolithic Period in Eastern North America

by Richard L. Thornton, Architect and City Planner

I first saw this exhibit above in the Milwaukee Public Museum at Christmastime in my 17th year. I had taken my first airplane ride to visit lifetime family friends, the Card Family, in Racine, Wisconsin. It was also the first time that I experienced two feet deep snow, tobogganing, cross-country skiing, Danish kringle pastry, -25° F temperatures, buildings designed by Architect Frank Lloyd Wright and kissing Scandinavian girls. The only reason that the image of copper Indian artifacts has been retained in my archived memory cells was that I was surprised. My high school Social Studies book and my high school history teacher told us that the indigenous peoples of the Americas never progressed beyond the Stone Age. The official American textbooks and my teacher lied! Then 3 1/2 years later, while on a fellowship in Mexico, I learned that the Purepeche People of Michoacan used bronze weapons and tools!

Danish Kringle pastry from Racine, WisconsinLittle did I know that the next time I ate kringle would be 5 1/2 years later, when . . . two days after graduating from Georgia Tech . . . I would be sitting at a dining table in the Landskrona, Sweden Stadsarkitektkontoret and having morning coffee break with the staff. The Swedish province of Skåne was part of Denmark until 1658, The flag of Skåne is a mixture of the Danish and Swedish national flags.

The earliest known metal artifacts are found in the Great Lakes Region!

Copper artifacts, unearthed in the Great Lakes Basin of the United States and Canada, have been dated to as early as 9,500 years old. The makers of these tools were contemporary with the residents of a village with 1000+ residents in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and the builders of earthen mounds in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. That date is somewhat older than the earliest known copper artifacts in the Middle East and Mediterranean Basin. Furthermore, copper artifacts were still rare in the Old World, when there was a robust production of a wide range of weapons and tools in the Great Lakes Basin.

I don’t recall anyone assigning an age, accepted as factual, to the Old Copper Complex artifacts until the 21st century. When I visited the Milwaukee Public Museum, these copper tools and weapons were just being accepted as being made by Native Americans. For most of the 19th and 20th century Scandinavian descendants in the Midwest had insisted that these copper artifacts were made by their Viking ancestors. Impossible!

You see, the Vikings only used iron and steel weapons and tools. There were no known sources of copper and tin in Scandinavia until Swedish traders ventured northward into the lands of the Sami during the Middle Ages.

Thanks to major advancements in genetics, we now know that the Neolithic, Copper Age and Bronze Age inhabitants of Scandinavia were very different genetically from modern Scandinavians. They would have looked similar to Uchee, Creeks and Chickasaws in the Southeastern United States today. On the right is a painting of the famous Creek lady, who befriended the early colonists of Savannah – Mary Musgrove. She is almost identical to the recent illustrations of a lady, whose 8,000 year old remains were found in northern Sweden.

The whole question of production of copper tools and weapons in the Great Lakes Region, while most peoples in the world were still living in the Neolithic or Mesolithic societies, has not been answered satisfactorily by North American academicians. The anonymous author of the “Old Copper Culture” article in Wikipedia describes them as being “primitive hunter and gatherer” peoples. All of you, who believe that interpretation now stand up and sing “Yankee Doodle.” Why would primitive hunters produce sophisticated grain sickles with wooden handles as seen above?

Rather than being force fed more lies in North American anthropology books, while at Georgia Tech, I learned about the Neolithic, Copper Age and Bronze Age history of northern Europe the good ole fashion way . . . by attending lectures at Lund University in the heart of the former Scandinavian Bronze Age civilization . . . which occurred 5,000 years AFTER copper artifacts appeared in North America. That perspective will be applied to future articles.

But first, a video to introduce readers to the Old Copper Culture of the Great Lakes Basin.


  1. Ancient America a great source. Arizona is also known for ancient copper mining. I don’t have archeological stats with me, but five+ miles west, people were mining copper well before Spanish colonists showed up. Tried to enslave locals, and were driven out. The same happened just south of the San Carlos Apache rez. If you look at a map of missions, there’s nearly always a mineral deposit close to it.

    I wonder why people stopped using copper from Isle Royale, MI. But, flint is easier to work than metal, and remains sharp till it wears out. I’ve been told it’s now the preferred material in surgery. niio

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The videos and articles from Midwestern sources are misleading. The Creeks in Georgia continued to make copper hatchets, arrowheads, chisels, awls, bracelets, body armor and decorative copper plates until European colonists made iron and steel items available. The weapons were made from a natural brass, which was mined near Dahlonega, GA.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Excuse me, to clarify, it was Isle Royale I spoke of. People in the area stopped using copper for tools and decorations. I cannot see why they would when it was always so valued. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8nAJd_F8ck&list=PL-0Tkyf_HCHLjrCgRm30Bie6WrFZAUnCA

        Mine, People of the Maize Moon River (Susquehannocks), were trading copper. In the Southwest people were mining copper yet when Spanish colonists arrived. Copper was medicinal (it’s proved to kill bacteria) and that was common all over the world. niio

        Liked by 1 person

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