Metals, words and gods. Early knowledge of metallurgical skills in Europe, and reflections in terminology
How can metallurgical terminology - specifically names of metals - support ar chaeological investigation? Can comparative linguistics and archaeology co-operate in order to identify the emergence and development of metallurgical skills? How did Neolithic and Bronze Age man imagine the taming of nature in order to achieve metal artifacts? Such questions -and many others -may arise whenever we try to investigate the beginnings and making of civilization. It is clear that the various aspects connected to archaeometallurgy cannot be analyzed separately from other aspects of human life, like agriculture, trade, urbanization, religious beliefs, early writing systems, pottery techniques, a.o. The earliest known (or identifiable) names of metals do reflect a cer tain ideology and a certain way of 'seeing' metals as imbued with magic powers. It is certain that colours and reflections - specific to metals - made early man interpret them as divine (Biek and Bayley 1979; Muşu 1981, chapter Symphony of colours, a first attempt in reconstructing pre-Greek names of colours).
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