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  • Knossos Reconstruction
    Crete, Greece

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    Chania, Crete, Greece

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    Crete, Greece

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    Luzon, Phillipines
    1991

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    Knossos, Crete, Greece

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    Akrotiri, Santorini, Greece

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    Akrotiri, Santorini, Greece




The Distribution
of
Tin (Cassiterite)
Mediterranean Bronze Age

The Tin (Cassiterite) Distribution Google Earth 3D GIS Project was originally initiated in 2007 and has finally come to fruition. It is intended to definitively present all currently known instances of the primary ore of Tin throughout the entirety of Europe, the Middle East, and all of North Africa in an attempt to begin to finally put to an end the lingering controversy regarding the availability of Tin to the Eastern Mediterranean during the Bronze Age.

This mapping includes every geological expression of Tin that could be found from every possible source (Mindat.org, etc.) that range from the largest ancient and modern mines to the smallest, most uneconomical ore sites. While Bronze Age peoples would not have known of the deep sites discovered by modern geophysical techniques or would have wasted their time on the tiniest mineralizations of the ore, they must have been aware of many of the most abundant and accessible sources of Cassiterite from the alluvial deposits in river sediments, etc.

It's immediately apparent from even the most cursory examination of the map that the entire Eastern Mediterranean is almost completely devoid of Tin. For all practical purposes the region is a Tin desert. One can only assume that extracted and processed Cassiterite must have been imported on a large scale, either primarily by sea from the west and northwest or primarily by land from the east, over very great distances in order to feed the many Bronze furnaces of the Eastern Mediterranean. The removal of any doubt about this one simple but very important consideration should help Bronze Age scholars to focus their efforts more precisely in the future.

To the best of my knowledge nothing like this has ever been completed before. We felt this was an important prerequisite for a much clearer understanding of the relationship between Bronze Age peoples and the most critical ingredient of their economies. Work is now underway to create a subset of this map that archaeologically identifies those deposits actually exploited during the Bronze Age which is what we would all eventually like to see. Please contact me if you may be able to assist in this effort.


The Distribution of Tin (Cassiterite)
in the Entirety of
Europe, the Middle East, and Northern Africa


The Distribution of Tin (Cassiterite)
in Europe


The Distribution of Tin (Cassiterite)
in the Western Mediterranean


The Distribution of Tin (Cassiterite)
in Iberia

This Google Earth 3D mapping is intended to be a comprehensive geographical reference freely available to everyone. All of the countries surveyed for Cassiterite deposits from the currently available mineralogical data sources are included in the mapping whether they had any tin ores or not. Many did not. As always I would appreciate any additions, corrections, comments, or suggestions that anyone may have.

Instructions

If you already have Google Earth setup on your computer all you need to do is download the GIS mapping below but if not you will need to download the free version here:

Download Google Earth

With Google Earth downloaded, installed, and working properly on your computer you are now ready to download the GIS mapping file:

*NOTE: Please refresh (reload) this webpage to download the latest version.

Current Version: September 3, 2017

Download Tin Distribution Bronze Age GIS Mapping

Once downloaded simply open it and Google Earth will automatically start up and display the mapping from a great elevation. You can grab the map and move it anywhere you wish by holding down the left mouse button. There are three controls on the upper right of the screen. The top one is for tilting and rotating. The middle one is for panning and the bottom slider is for zooming in and out. Just position an area of interest in the center of the screen and zoom in to see the map's detail. The latitude, longitude, and elevation of your mouse position is displayed on the bottom of the screen.


The Distribution of Tin (Cassiterite) - Mediterranean Bronze Age

List of Countries Surveyed

Europe

Albania
Austria
Belarus
Belgium
Bosnia Herzegovina
Bulgaria
Croatia
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Iceland
Ireland
Italy
Kosovo
Latvia
Lithuania
Macedonia
Moldova
Montenegro
Netherlands
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Rumania
Russia
Serbia
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
Ukraine
United Kingdom

Middle East

Afghanistan
Armenia
Azerbaijan
Cyprus
Georgia
Iran
Iraq
Israel
Jordan
Kazakhstan
Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan
Lebanon
Oman
Pakistan
Qatar
Saudi Arabia
Syria
Tajikistan
Turkey
Turkmenistan
United Arab Emirates
Uzbekistan
Yemen

North Africa

Algeria
Chad
Djibouti
Egypt
Eritrea
Ethiopia
Libya
Mali
Mauritania
Morocco
Niger
Somalia
Sudan
Tunisia
Western Sahara



W. Sheppard Baird

November 19, 2013