What Was Copper Used for in Ancient Times?

Copper is one of the oldest metals known to mankind. It has been used for various purposes since ancient times, and its importance has only increased over the years. Let’s take a look at what copper was used for in ancient times.

Early Uses of Copper

Copper was first discovered around 9000 BC in the Middle East. The first people to use copper were the inhabitants of present-day Turkey, who used it to make tools and weapons. Over time, copper became an important material for creating decorative objects and jewelry.

Medicinal Purposes

Copper was also used for medicinal purposes by ancient civilizations. Egyptians would use copper to sterilize water and treat infections. Greeks believed that copper had healing properties and would wear copper bracelets to alleviate joint pain.


In ancient times, copper was also used as currency. The Romans used bronze coins made from a mixture of copper and tin.

In fact, the word “copper” comes from the Latin word “cuprum,” which means “from Cyprus.” This is because Cyprus was one of the main sources of copper during ancient times.


Copper’s durability and resistance to corrosion made it an ideal material for construction purposes. Ancient Egyptians used copper nails and clamps to construct their famous pyramids, while the Greeks used it for roofing tiles.

The Bronze Age

The Bronze Age began around 3000 BC when people discovered how to mix copper with other metals such as tin and zinc. This resulted in a harder metal called bronze which could be sharpened into weapons like swords, spears, and axes.

Artistic Expression

Bronze also allowed for greater artistic expression as it could be cast into intricate shapes using molds. The Greeks created beautiful bronze statues depicting gods and heroes, while the Chinese used bronze to create intricate vessels and ritual objects.

Industrial Revolution

During the Industrial Revolution, copper became even more important. It was used to make electrical wiring, heating and cooling systems, and various other industrial components. Today, copper is still a vital material in modern industry.


In conclusion, copper has been an important material for various purposes since ancient times. From its early uses in toolmaking and jewelry to its modern-day applications in industry, copper has stood the test of time as a valuable resource. Its versatility and durability have made it a staple material throughout history and continue to make it a valuable resource today.