Tin was discovered prior to the beginning of recorded history, so its exact date of discovery is unknown. Its first known use was at the start of the Bronze Age in approximately 3000 B.C. During this time period, it was used exclusively as a component of bronze and pewter alloys.
The first known use of pure tin was in 600 B.C. While most ancient tin ore was panned from rivers, underground tin mines existed in the Middle East as early as 2870 B.C. Tin's low melting point made this ancient mining possible; tin ore was softened by fires, then removed with stone tools.