History

Tin in Asia

Tin in Asia

Western Asia has very little tin ore; the few sources that have recently been found are too insignificant to have played a major role during most of ancient history. However, it is possible that they were exploited at the onset of the Bronze Age and are responsible for the development of early bronze manufacturing technology. Kestel, in Southern Turkey, is the site of an ancient Casserite mine that was used from 3250 to 1800 B.C. It contains miles of tunnels, some only large enough for a child. A grave with children which were probably workers has been found. It was abandoned, with crucibiles and other tools left at the site. The next evidence of the production of pure tin in the Middle East is an ingot from the 1300 BCE Uluburun shipwreck off the coast of Turkey.

While there are a few sources of cassiterite in Central Asia, namely in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan that show signs of having been exploited starting around 2000 BCE, archaeologists disagree about whether they were significant sources of tin for the earliest Bronze Age cultures of the Middle East.

In Northern Asia the only tin deposits considered exploitable by ancient peoples occur in the far eastern region of Siberia This source of tin appears to have been exploited by the Eurasian Steppe people known as the Turbino culture of the Middle Bronze Age (1000 BCE) as well as northern Chinese cultures around the same time.