A recent excavation of the Neolithic portal dolmen of Perthi Duon on the island of Anglesey has revealed the following artifact:
Now, this may not look like much, but this small piece of metal may prove to be very important in terms of the chronology of prehistoric Britain. It is thought that this small artifact is a piece of copper, and if this is the case, then it may provide evidence for a British ‘Copper Age’. The Copper Age (or Chalcolithic) was a period at the beginning of the Bronze Age, before the discovery of the technique to produce bronze by mixing tin and copper, and has been evidenced in the archaeological record on the European continent. However, it is unknown whether such a period can be defined for Britain, or whether the process of bronze production was brought to this island without copper being used first. It is hoped that this small piece could provide evidence for such a period here, however it is going to need testing and analysing first before such a claim can be satisfactorily made. It may turn out to have entered Britain as a completed object, meaning that the technology may not have been brought, and bronze could have been made here first, or it could have been formed here, suggesting the technology for copper working was in place in Britain. I am personally quite excited by the prospect of a British Chalcolithic, but am hesitant to jump to too many conclusions on the basis of this one object. I shall look out for updates with interest though.