Cultures & CopperThe Copperhed Team
Cultures & Copper
Copper has a rich, global history and has been used in a wide range of ways for thousands and thousands of years. It was first found and utilized in the regions of Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, but its very early use can be traced to other regions, as well. People all over South America and North America developed methods of smelting and alloying (the process of combining with other metals) copper not long after the more advanced copper regions. In Peru, the Incas were alloying copper around 1100 AD. Additionally, embossed copper was discovered from the same era on the land that is now known as St. Louis.
Copper is known to be the first metal ever used in ancient cultures, who used it to make jewelry, tools, art, vessels, and amulets. Artifacts made of copper date back to the Neolithic period and the metal even lent its name to the Copper Age, which preceded the Bronze Age. Copper is, of course, a vital component in making bronze, as well as many other alloys. For the Phoenicians and Mesoamericans, copper was not yet widely attainable and was worn as a symbol of high status. When copper rose into common use, it was exchanged as barter. This exchange eventually would evolve into currency and copper being used to make coins.
Copper was even used by ancient civilizations in medicinal ways. Its medical use was first recorded in the Smith Papyrus, written between 2600 and 2200 BC and one of the oldest known books. In this text, copper is described as useful for sterilizing wounds and drinking water. In later medical texts, copper compounds were recommended to treat headaches, burns, and other skin conditions. The same anti-inflammatory properties can be found in our Hair, Brow, Lash & Skin Supplement. The healing properties of copper were also used by the Greeks, who sourced their copper from the island of Kypros (modern day Cyprus) and would treat wounds with a powder made up of copper oxide and copper sulfate.
Since its discovery by humans, copper has never ceased to be used due to its versatility and availability. Nearly 5,000 years later, and we’re still thinking up new uses for the invaluable metal!