research on prehistoric copper mining in copper country usa



The Lure of Copper

When the Canaanite-Beaker people rolled across Western Europe from North Africa, they knit that region together by a NETWORK OF TRADING POSTS. The Berbers were an active sea-going people, known for their long distance ocean voyaging. On the boats that they built they used animal skins for sails and, after a while, a great shortage of skins for the leather sails threatened to interrupt their maritime activities. This problem was solved by a group of Berbers who set up a large hunting camp in Arctic Norway near Mount Komsa in Finnmark. From here they annually took large numbers of reindeer out of the herds migrating through the area and sent the skins to the oak forests of southern Sweden and Conamara in Ireland for tanning with oak bark. Other trading posts appeared in the amber-rich areas of the Baltic.

In their merchantile voyages and through their Megalithic contacts, the Berbers became aware of the presence of vast deposits of COPPER in the New World. “Beaker Groups, keen to exploit copper deposits wherever they could be found, began to navigate to the New World. They possessed a geographical advantage…the easiest route to North America was the Atlantic Current from Iberia or North Africa to the Caribbean (Kehoe, 280)….North America was…treated to a large and substantial wave of Berber immigrants who brought their culture with them when they settled around the copper mines of Lake Superior and northern Wisconsin” (The Berber Project, p. 12).

The Canaanite/Berber/Beaker colonists were traders to the very core! They came in search of wealth and found it in copper — huge amounts of it around Lake Superior and on Ile Royale, which is reputedly the best source of pure copper on the entire planet! The sudden emergence of what archaeologists have called the “Old Copper Culture” coincides with large numbers of Berbers who descended on the American Midwest and the St. Lawrence River valley to exploit these new-found riches.

Hu the Mighty

Why this “sudden emergence” of the Old Copper Culture in North America? Why this sudden wave of Berber immigrants to the areas of Lake Superior and northern Wisconsin? What major event in Western Europe and the Iberian Peninsula could have caused this sudden influx of peoples to tThe Copper Culture

The chief artifact or product of the Old Copper Culture was, of course, the metal Copper. A vast number of copper tools suddenly appear in the archaeological record without any antecedent. Ronald J. Mason remarks: “Incredible numbers of copper artifacts — tens of thousands in eastern Wisconsin alone — attest to a use of the metal that is at variance with historical and ethnographic descriptions of Indian life” (Great Lakes Archaeology. N.Y.: Academic Press, 1981. P. 12). The amounts of copper mined from these areas is mindboggling — an estimated 500,000 pounds! Since only a very small amount of this total can be accounted for in New World archaeological sites, WHERE did the rest of it go? To the Old World, to fuel the growing “chalcolithic” economies of the Mediterranean civilizations. The Berbers who settled the New World left records of their sudden appearance: sculptured stones closely resembling those found in the Berber-speaking Canary Islands have been found north of Lake Superior. The resemblance was so strong that some scholars suggested the Canary Islanders originated in America!

David’s prodigious Temple preparations and his instructions to Solomon are recorded in I Chronicles 22: 1-16. Relates Steve M. Collins —

David accumulated “great stores of iron for nails and clamps” (RSV), showing that what secular historians have called the “iron age” was well under way by the beginning of the first millennium B.C. He also accumulated “bronze in quantities beyond weighing,” (RSV) so David also accumulated massive stockpiles of copper ores and refined copper products for Solomon to utilize in his reign. He also amassed much cedar wood through his alliance with the city-states of Tyre and Sidon. In the course of his wars, David had collected large amounts of gold and silver from tributary nations, and verse 14 quotes David as summing up his temple preparations with these words:

“With great pains I have provided for the house of the Lord a hundred thousand talents of gold and a million talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond weighing, for there is so much of it; timber and stone too have I provided.” (RSV). — The “Lost” Ten Tribes of Israel…Found!, p. 24.

This brings to mind one very obvious question — WHERE did all this copper ore come from? Since the amounts of gold and silver were weighed (“a hundred thousand talents of gold” and “a million talents of silver”), the copper and iron stockpiles obviously had to far exceed the precious metals stockpiles to be considered “beyond weighing.” How many millions of talents of iron and copper ores, then, were amassed to reach an amount “beyond weighing”? Apparently such a vast amount of copper and iron ores could not have all come from sources that were indigenous to Israel. However, since David was on friendly terms with the Phoenician city-states of Tyre and Sidon, he could have had the Phoenician merchant ships import the ores from overseas. “Phoenician [or Canaanite] ships dominated the commerce of the Mediterranean Sea and they sailed into the Atlantic Ocean to reach ports in Western Africa and Northwest Europe. Just how far into the Atlantic did they sail?” (ibid., p.25). How far, indeed?

In the book Bronze Age America, the late Dr. Barry Fell (Professor Emeritus of Harvard University) records that copper trading between ancient North America and the Old World was extant prior to and DURING THE REIGN OF KING DAVID! “His book cites evidence from ancient inscriptions that Norse kings carried on a copper trade with the New World in the St. Lawrence River as early as 1700 B.C., seven centuries prior to the reign of King David over Israel” (ibid., p. 25). This begs the question that if ancient Old World civilizations traded with the inhabitants of North America — could the seafaring Phoenicians have been far behind?

There is, in fact, clear evidence that David’s allies, the Canaanite Phoenicians, were indeed included in the New World copper trade and that some of David’s huge stockpile of copper ore came from the Phoenician’s North American trading routes. Notes Barry Fell —

There is also quite independent…reasons for thinking that ancient European voyages came to America. That concern the mining of metals.

For the past twenty years leading mining engineers and university metallurgists have been seeking from archaeologists an explanation of a most baffling mystery in the history of mining technology. So far no answer has been found.

Around the northern shore of Lake Superior, and on the adjacent Ile Royale, there are approximately 5,000 ancient copper mine workings. In 1953 and 1956 Professor Roy Drier led two Michigan Mining and Technology expeditions to the sites. Charcoal found at the base of the ancient mining pits yielded radio carbon dates indicating that the mines had been operated between 2000 B.C. and 1000 B.C…The most conservative estimates by mining engineers show that at least 500 million pounds of metallic copper were removed over that time span, and there is no evidence as to what became of it. Bronze Age America. NY: Wallaby, 1976. P. 261.

Since radio carbon dating can be inaccurate in this time frame, we should lower the dates. However, it would still fall into the time of King David and Solomon’s reigns over Israel. Since the mining operations at these North American sites were taking place during the reigns of David and Solomon, it is more than likely that part of this Lake Superior copper was used to satisfy David’s voracious appetite for raw copper for the Temple. The biggest customers for copper and other raw materials in the world of the time were King David and Israel and, later, King Solomon. It is well-known that Solomon’s building projects went far beyond anything that David himself envisioned — so the demand upon the available world sources of raw materials during their reigns must have been huge indeed! The local mines could not have supplied all the ore required at the time. With this in mind, it is significant that these ancient Lake Superior copper mines were worked to exhaustion during the reign of King Solomon, meaning that they were producing during the time that David was stockpiling copper ore “beyond calculation” for the construction of the Temple in Jerusalem! “Since the North American copper mines had been known to the Old World for centuries before David lived, and since there is evidence that Phoenician ships called at ancient North American ports, the means to transport Lake Superior copper ores to King David of Israel did exist” (The “Lost” Ten Tribes of Israel…Found!).

The observation of barry Fell that “there is no evidence as to what became of it” (meaning that there is no evidence that this ancient North American copper was used in ancient North America) can now be answered from God’s Word. The Bible plainly indicates that ancient Israel, under King David, was stockpiling massive quantities of copper ore around 1,000 B.C. — secular sources have confirmed that the North American copper mines ran out of ore during the reign of Solomon. The connection between the two is very obvious: most of the ancient North American copper ore was shipped to ancient Israel and used for the construction of the Temple and later projects of Solomon. Notice the following quotation from Barry Fell’s book —

Archaeologists have maintained that there was NO Bronze Age in Northern America and that no contacts with the outside world occurred. On the other hand the mineralogists find themselves obliged to take a DIFFERENT VIEW: it is impossible, they argue, for so large a quantity of metal to have vanished through wear and tear. And since no large numbers of copper artifacts have been recovered from American archaeological sites, they conclude that the missing metal may have SHIPPED OVERSEAS. — Bronze Age America, p. 261).

It must remembered that the Canaanite Phoenicians had the primary maritime shipping fleet at the time, with ports in Pelasgian (Israelite) Spain. Since King David was closely allied to the Phoenicians, he would have received preferential allocation of whatever was being shipped from the New World in Phoenician ships.

The Role of Poverty Point

At the very same time — circa 1,000 B.C. — we find the construction of the first real “city” in the United States — at a site archaeologists call “POVERTY POINT,” along the Mississippi River in Louisiana. “Here,” according to Lynda Schaffer, “Berber-style MOUND-BUILDING in the New World begins with startling suddenness” (Native Americans Before 1492, p. 6).

Poverty Point was a TRADING CITY, called by some a chalcolithic Berber Singapore, through which the copper wealth of the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes was funnelled. Copper from Lake Superior, notes Ronald Mason, made it all the way to the Gulf Coast and eventually to the Old World; and north-south trade with the “Red Ochre Culture” is abundantly proved by the Wisconsin Archaeologist. Observes R. Ben Madison —

Utilizing Megalithic ideas, Poverty Point’s mounds were aligned so as to predict the vernal and autunmal equinoxes. At its peak, between 1000 and 700, Poverty Point had a population of over 5,000 people. Its direct territorial control took in the Mississippi Valley in Mississippi, Louisiana and southern Arkansas. The modern name, “Poverty Point,” is most unfortunate; it was an enormous and thriving city — perhaps “Prosperity Point” would be more appropriate. Interestingly, the city was divided into TWO DISTRICTS, indicating some kind of SOCIAL DISTINCTION. — The Berber Project, p. 14.

The Phoenician ships with their Israelite traders/buyers used this port on the Mississippi for buying the ore that was transported down the river from Lake Superior and the Isle Royale. The fact that Poverty Point was divided into two districts points to a Canaanite-Phoenician/Berber quarter and a quarter for the Israelites who traveled on the Phoenician ships. Evidently, a large quantity of the copper ore stockpiled by David for use in the Temple passed through Poverty Point. Later, David’s son Solomon continued importing the ore from Lake Superior for his grandiose building projects — until it was finally exhausted.


Following this Great Migration around 500 B.C., we are left with three large and substantial Canaanite/Berber groups in the New World. The first — which had settled around Lake Superior and Wisconsin in approximately 1430 B.C. — was named the “Old Copper Culture” by the archaeologists. Its continuation, the “Red Ochre Culture,” spread through Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and Indiana. The second group settled in and around Poverty Point, Louisiana circa 1000 B.C. Finally the third group, which was the third great wave of Berber immigration, arrived shortly after 500 B.C. and was instrumental in the emergence of the Adena Culture


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One Response to research on prehistoric copper mining in copper country usa

  1. none of this article has actually been proven, but it also is very hard to disprove and remains a mystery to this day. when i was at university of michigan one of my first research papers took me to the BENTLEY Historical Library and the JESUIT CHRONICLES of early Missionary writings of the Explorers.. It is one of only a few copies in existence as I read of early mentions of Copper. I had to have some of the pages CUT open, for NO ONE HAD EVER READ the PAGES of the Jesuit Chronicles.. that I was reading. !!! at least in the Bentley Library.. That astonished me.

    I advanced a simple proposition to TEST the METALIC CONTENT of some OLD KINGDOM copper artifacts from Egypt… and see if the UNIQUE metallic composition of the Lake Superior Mines is present, for that provides absolute proof of the orgins of said metals, for every mine in the world has a unique composition of metals..

    and the Lake Superior region is noted for its very distinctive pure copper and high SILVER content in its ores.

    Unfortunately how does one get ACCESS to PRICELESS Egyptian artifacts for analysis of metallic content ? Although now there are unobtrusive ways to do this.

    Doing so threatens all “Accepted History by Authoritative Historians” and casts doubts on their entire mind set of civilizations developing isolated from one another.

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