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Gold can be agglomerated into larger pieces by cold hammering, but native copper cannot, and an essential step toward the Metal Age was the discovery that metals such as copper could be fashioned into shapes by melting and casting in molds; among the earliest known products of this type are copper axes cast in the Balkans in the 4th millennium .Another step was the discovery that metals could be recovered from metal-bearing minerals.The discovery of the value of tin may have occurred through the use of stannite, a mixed sulfide of copper, iron, and tin, although this mineral is not as widely available as the principal tin mineral, cassiterite, which must have been the eventual source of the metal.

The eventual disappearance of copper-arsenic alloys is difficult to explain.

Production may have been based on minerals that were not widely available and became scarce, but the relative scarcity of tin minerals did not prevent a substantial trade in that metal over considerable distances.

It is generally agreed that the first known metals were gold, silver, and copper, which occurred in the native or metallic state, of which the earliest were in all probability nuggets of gold found in the sands and gravels of riverbeds.

Such native metals became known and were appreciated for their ornamental and utilitarian values during the latter part of the Stone Age.

It also concerns the chemical, physical, and atomic properties and structures of metals and the principles whereby metals are combined to form alloys.

One cause of the rising demand for coal in Britain was the depletion of the woodland and supplies of charcoal, making manufacturers anxious to find a new source of fuel.

It may be that tin bronzes were eventually preferred owing to the chance of contracting arsenic poisoning from fumes produced by the oxidation of arsenic-containing minerals.

As the weathered copper ores in given localities were worked out, the harder sulfide ores beneath were mined and smelted.

In many regions, copper-arsenic alloys, of superior properties to copper in both cast and wrought form, were produced in the next period.

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