Most studies of the spread of copper and bronze metallurgy across the Near East rely upon the relatively few surviving metal artifacts, most of which originate in mortuary contexts and thus indicate little about daily life activities. In recent years, a new method that circumvents the biased metallurgical record has been developed using microscopic groove analysis of animal butchering on zooarchaeological remains. In this paper, we present and compare our data from the southern Levant and Egypt to assess the spreading of copper and bronze metallurgy in the two regions. Our analysis allows for an initial assessment of the relative importance of metal versus stone tools for quotidian activities during the third millennium BCE in different parts of the eastern Mediterranean. Furthermore, the results have demonstrated that access to copper and metal tools for even such quotidian activities as meat processing in the eastern Mediterranean was differentiated by social status.
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