- Copper was the first metal humans learned to work with. The earliest evidence comes from Cayonu in southeast Turkey (late ninth or early eighth millennium B.C.), where small items of jewelry were made from cold hammered nuggets. Large-scale copper production is associated with the Chalcolithic period. Especially in Anatolia and Palestine, quantities of copper articles were produced in the fifth millennium. Antimony and arsenic were often added to the copper to improve its working properties.The copper used in Mesopotamia originated from various places, notably Cyprus, Anatolia, Iran, the Levant, Sinai, and Oman. Copper was melted, cast into easily transportable forms (ingots), and then shipped. From the fourth millennium on, it was made into beads and all sorts of everyday items; later it was also used for cult objects such as statues, musical instruments, and vessels. The coppersmiths fashioned the metal into objects by casting, chasing, hammering, forging, and engraving (see CRAFTS). One of the most famous copper objects from Mesopotamia is the head of a royal statue found at Nineveh. It dates from the Akkadian periodand is believed to depict either Sargon or Naram-Sin of Akkad. For a short time during the Early Dynastic period, copper served as standard but was soon replaced by silver. Copper was also a raw material in the production of bronze and glass. In medicine, it was used to cure eye diseases.
Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia. EdwART. 2012.