Pure copper suffers from its softness, making it ineffective as a weapon and tool.
But early metallurgy experimentation by the Mesopotamians resulted in a solution to this problem: bronze.
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Bronze castings found in and around the provinces of Henan and Shaanxi are considered the beginning of China's bronze, although some copper and bronze artifacts used by the Majiayao have been dated as early as 3000 BC.
Literature from the era shows how developed Chinese metallurgy was, with detailed discussions of the exact proportion of copper and tin used to produce different alloy grades used for casting different items, including cauldrons and bells, axes, spears, swords, arrows, and mirrors.
A chemical analysis of bronze from the region indicates that common alloys of the time contained approximately 87 percent copper, 10 to 11 percent tin and small amounts of iron, nickel, lead, arsenic, and antimony.
In Egypt, the use of copper was also developing around the same period, although there is nothing to suggest any direct knowledge transfer between the two civilizations.