Heavy Metal

2 Feb 2016 — 14 Jan 2018 at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy

12 DECEMBER 2016
Heavy Metal, Exhibition view. Courtesy of Museo Archeologico dell’Alto Adige
Heavy Metal, Exhibition view. Courtesy of Museo Archeologico dell’Alto Adige

The first metal was discovered over 10,000 years ago. It was a revolutionary step for mankind. Someone must have found a relatively pure copper nugget by accident and realized that this unknown material could be shaped by beating. At some point our ancestors succeeded in smelting copper ore at 1000º C and fashioning it into desired forms. The triumphal march of copper began! Soon craftsmen in the Middle East were learning how to make useful and beautiful things out of copper – whether jewellery, weapons or tools. Trade and mining gathered pace, and the knowledge of how to exploit the unlimited possibilities of this metal was passed around the world.

The special exhibition Heavy Metal traces the history of copper. What were the consequences of its discovery for Stone Age man? And why is the shiny red metal found in smartphones, coins and electrical cables today? The most famous individual from the Copper Age is Ötzi, the glacier mummy from the Schnalstal Valley. He has been on display in the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology since 1998. He carried a valuable copper axe, which marks him out as a person of high standing.

Heavy Metal is linked to the permanent Ötzi exhibition and presents the Copper Age as an exciting period of historic global change. On display are new archaeological finds from the Alpine region and important authentic artefacts from the surrounding area.