How Was Copper Processed in Ancient Times?

Copper is one of the oldest metals known to humans. It has been used for various purposes, including utensils, coins, and even as a decorative element in ancient times.

The process of extracting and processing copper was not an easy task during those times. In this article, we will explore how copper was processed in ancient times.

The Discovery of Copper

The discovery of copper dates back to around 9000 BCE. It was first found in the Middle East, specifically in present-day Turkey. The people at that time discovered that copper can be easily shaped and molded into various forms, making it useful for different purposes.

The Extraction Process

The extraction process of copper in ancient times involved several steps. The first step was to find a suitable source of copper ore. This was usually done by digging deep into the earth’s surface or mining near mountains where copper deposits were found.

Once the ore was extracted from the ground, it was crushed into small pieces using primitive tools such as hammers and stones. The next step involved heating the crushed ore in a furnace until it reached high temperatures. This process helped to remove impurities from the ore and also helped to melt the copper.

After melting, the molten copper was poured into molds to give it different shapes as per requirements. These molds were made up of clay or stone and could be used multiple times.

Uses of Copper

Copper had various uses in ancient times. It was primarily used for making tools and weapons due to its malleability and durability. Copper tools were widely used for farming purposes as well as for hunting animals.

Apart from this, copper was also used extensively for decorative purposes such as jewelry making, sculpting, and architecture. Many ancient structures such as temples and palaces were adorned with beautiful copper ornaments that added to their grandeur.


In conclusion, the process of extracting and processing copper in ancient times was a tedious task. However, people at that time recognized the usefulness of copper and utilized it for various purposes.

Today, copper is still an essential metal used in many industries, including electronics, construction, and transportation. Its discovery and usage have significantly impacted human civilization and continue to do so even today.