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A bronze blade will take a sharper edge than copper and will hold it longer.
And bronze ornaments and vessels can be cast for a wide variety of purposes.
The technology of bronze is first developed in the Middle East.
Bronze is in use in Sumer, at Ur, in around 2800 BC, and in Anatolia shortly afterwards. It appears in the Indus valley in about 2500 BC, and progresses westwards through Europe from about 2000.
Later, when the much scarcer commodity of tin is required to make bronze, even distant Cornwall becomes - by the first millennium BC - a major supplier of the needs of Bronze Age Europe.
The next great development in metallurgy involves a metal which is the most abundant in the earth's surface but which is much more difficult to work than copper or tin.
This intermediate period between the Stone Age (when all weapons and tools are of flint) and the first confident metal technology (the Bronze Age) has been given a name deriving from the somewhat awkward combination of materials.
It is called the Chalcolithic Period, from the Greek chalcos 'copper' and lithos 'stone'.
Nuggets of this gleaming substance must often have been kept and treasured. It can be easily shaped by hammering, but this malleability makes it useless for practical purposes. The earliest surviving gold jewellery is from Egypt in about 3000 BC.
Many mineral ores are found on the surface of the earth, in outcrops of rock.
Chipping away at them, to pursue the metal-bearing lode down below the surface, leads inevitably to another technological advance - the development of mining.
So is the entire Industrial Revolution, from steam to electricity.
Nature entices man into the adventure of metallurgy by an initial gift of an almost magic charm.
Gold, the most attractive and precious of metals in every society, is also the easiest for primitive man to acquire.