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Copper Age Copper occurs naturally as native metallic copper and was known to some of the oldest civilizations on record. The history of copper use is at least 11,000 years old, estimated to have begun in 9000 BC in the Middle East; a copper pendant was found in northern Iraq that dates to 8700 BC. Evidence suggests that gold and meteoric iron (but not iron smelting) were the only metals used by humans before copper. The history of copper metallurgy is thought to follow this sequence: 1) cold working of native copper, 2) annealing, 3) smelting, and 4) the lost wax casting. In southeastern Anatolia, all four of these techniques appear more or less simultaneously at the beginning of the Neolithic c. 7500 BC. Just as agriculture was independently invented in several parts of the world, coppe ... .