Reports

Kestel: An Early Bronze Age Source of Tin Ore in the Taurus Mountains, Turkey

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Science  14 Apr 1989:
Vol. 244, Issue 4901, pp. 200-203
DOI: 10.1126/science.244.4901.200

Abstract

An ancient mine located at Kestel on the outskirts of Nigde, in the Taurus Mountains of south central Turkey, has been dated by radiocarbon and pottery type to the third millennium B.C. Archeological soundings in the mine located cassiterite (tin oxide) in the detritus of ancient mining activity. Cassiterite is also present in veins and, as placer deposits, in streams nearby. Since tin is used with copper in order to form bronze but is thinly distributed in the earth's crust, the presence of tin ore at Kestel offers a source for the much sought after tin of the Bronze Age. The discovery of an ancient mine containing cassiterite sheds light on this question, but also greatly complicates the accepted picture of regional economic patterns in the highland resource areas of Anatolia and of interregional metal exchange in the formative periods of urbanization and metal use in the eastern Mediterranean.

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