Towards a Deep History of Southern Appalachian Copper Mining: New Agendas and Approaches


Copper was an important raw material throughout the prehistory of the Eastern Woodlands of North America. The role of southern Appalachian copper in social, economic, political, and ideological systems across the Eastern Woodlands has received little attention from anthropological archaeologists, particularly compared with copper from more famous procurement zones in the Great Lakes region. In this paper, we present the first steps of a new collaborative research project designed to understand the deep history of southern Appalachian copper extraction, production, and exchange. Building on a synthesis of geological information and historical records of copper mining in the southern Appalachians, this paper presents the context and background that informs research agendas and analytical approaches to the study of the origins and development of copper mining in the region. We argue that a holistic research approach, that considers copper extraction at multiple temporal, spatial, and social scales is necessary to characterize how copper procurement was organized and changed throughout prehistory and to better understand the roles of copper in the lives of communities within and beyond the southern Appalachians.

Cite this Record

Towards a Deep History of Southern Appalachian Copper Mining: New Agendas and Approaches. Colin Quinn, Alice Wright, Benjamin Duvall-Irwin. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431774)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -91.274; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -72.642; max lat: 36.386 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15005