Native Copper Objects
Before the arrival of Europeans, people made tools and ornaments from nearly pure copper nuggets that were mined from various areas, including the larger Appalachian Piedmont and the Lake Superior basin. Turning copper nuggets into objects was done via cold hammering; because copper is malleable it can be hammered while cold. When the copper became brittle from the hammering, it could be heated in a fire and cooled in water – a process called annealing. The copper axe and ear discs shown below all came from the Town Creek site. Copper tends to preserve materials it is in direct contact with, which is why wooden parts of these ear discs have survived today. Wearing these discs meant piercing the ear lobes and stretching them wide enough to accommodate the discs – you can also see people today wearing ear plugs in the same style.
For more information on the models, click on the artifact title in the upper left corner of the model window. You can also click on the collection name beneath the model window to view the full collection on Sketchfab.
Native Copper Tools & Ornaments
by RLA Archaeology