Information

Copper and Bronze Age Burials in Western Europe


Can anyone estimate the number of high-prestige burials that have been found in France, Spain or Portugal which date from, say, 3000 BC to 1000 BC?

For example, supposing that there were 2000 persons of highest prestige over that broad time and place, about how many of those 2000 high-prestige burials (or cremated-ash burials?) have been investigated by archaeologists? About when did burials give way to cremations?


I can only offer you a partial answer.

First, as to the total numbers, as noted on page 108 of European Societies in the Bronze Age, there are actually tens of thousands of barrows that are potentially of Bronze Age date in Western Europe. These would all be high-status burials. However, even in 2018, we do not have a complete Europe-wide list.

Sadly, there is - as yet - also no central database for Bronze Age burials across Europe. In fact, there aren't even central national databases for that data! Furthermore, many of the burials were excavated by early antiquaries who were basically interested in looting valuable from the burial, so we have only limited information about them.

There is no sudden change from inhumation burials to cremation burials. We can certainly say that cremation burial become more dominant over time, and cremation is considered "normal" for late Bronze Age (~14th-9th century BCE) sites.


One pan-European database that is currently being developed is the Cremation Bronze Age Burials (CBAB). It was launched in late 2016 and has gradually been coming online over the last year.

Another online database is the EU-funded TOMBA project. This is intended to include both Bronze Age and early-Iron Age burials, but so far coverage is patchy.


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The Bronze Age

KEY TOPICS
The Yamna culture is a Late Copper Age/Early Bronze Age culture of the Southern Bug/Dniester/Ural region (the Pontic steppe), dating to the 36th-23rd centuries BC. The name also appears in English as Pit-Grave Culture or Ochre-Grave Culture. [1] The Late Harappan culture, which dates from 1900-1400 BC, overlapped the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age thus it is difficult to date this transition accurately. [1] The name "Israel" first appears c. 1209 BC, at the end of the Late Bronze Age and the very beginning of the Iron Age, on the Merneptah Stele raised by the Egyptian pharaoh Merneptah. [1] The period is divided into three phases: Early Bronze Age (2000-1500 BC), Middle Bronze Age (1500-1200 BC), and Late Bronze Age (1200- c. 500 BC). [1] In Ancient Egypt the Bronze Age begins in the Protodynastic period, c. 3150 BC. The archaic early Bronze Age of Egypt, known as the Early Dynastic Period of Egypt, immediately follows the unification of Lower and Upper Egypt, c. 3100 BC. It is generally taken to include the First and Second Dynasties, lasting from the Protodynastic Period of Egypt until about 2686 BC, or the beginning of the Old Kingdom. [1] By convention, the "Early Bronze Age" in China is sometimes taken as equivalent to the " Shang dynasty " period of Chinese prehistory (16th to 11th centuries BC), and the "Later Bronze Age" as equivalent to the " Zhou dynasty " period (11th to 3rd centuries BC, from the 5th century also dubbed " Iron Age "), although there is an argument to be made that the "Bronze Age" proper never ended in China, as there is no recognizable transition to an "Iron Age". [1] The U.S. National Gallery of Art defines the Chinese Bronze Age as the "period between about 2000 BC and 771 BC," a period that begins with the Erlitou culture and ends abruptly with the disintegration of Western Zhou rule. [1] The Atlantic Bronze Age is a cultural complex of the period of approximately 1300-700 BC that includes different cultures in Portugal, Andalusia, Galicia and the British Isles. [1] The Bronze Age in Northern Europe spans the entire 2nd millennium BC ( Unetice culture, Urnfield culture, Tumulus culture, Terramare culture, Lusatian culture ) lasting until c. 600 BC. The Northern Bronze Age was both a period and a Bronze Age culture in Scandinavian pre-history, c. 1700 -500 BC, with sites that reached as far east as Estonia. [1] Bronze Age, third phase in the development of material culture among the ancient peoples of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, following the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods (Old Stone Age and New Stone Age, respectively). [2] The civilization developed in the Middle and Late Bronze Age, between the 17th and the 13th centuries BC. [1] The Srubna culture was a Late Bronze Age (18th-12th centuries BC) culture. [1] The late Bronze Age Urnfield culture (1300-700 BC) is characterized by cremation burials. [1] The Oxus civilization was a Bronze Age Central Asian culture dated to c. 2300 -1700 BC and centered on the upper Amu Darya (Oxus). [1] The Deverel-Rimbury culture began to emerge in the second half of the Middle Bronze Age ( c. 1400 -1100 BC) to exploit these conditions. [1] The Unetice culture is followed by the middle Bronze Age (1600-1200 BC) Tumulus culture, which is characterised by inhumation burials in tumuli (barrows). [1]

The Bronze Age in Ireland commenced around 2000 BC, when copper was alloyed with tin and used to manufacture Ballybeg type flat axes and associated metalwork. [1] This early copper phase is commonly thought of as part of the Bronze Age, though true bronze, an alloy of copper and tin, was used only rarely at first. [2] An ancient civilization is defined to be in the Bronze Age either by producing bronze by smelting its own copper and alloying with tin, arsenic, or other metals, or by trading for bronze from production areas elsewhere. [1] The Aegean Bronze Age began around 3200 BC, when civilizations first established a far-ranging trade network. [1] The Old Kingdom of the regional Bronze Age is the name given to the period in the 3rd millennium BC when Egypt attained its first continuous peak of civilization in complexity and achievement - the first of three "Kingdom" periods, which mark the high points of civilization in the lower Nile Valley (the others being Middle Kingdom and the New Kingdom ). [1] If the eruption occurred in the late 17th century BC (as most chronologists now think) then its immediate effects belong to the Middle to Late Bronze Age transition, and not to the end of the Late Bronze Age but it could have triggered the instability that led to the collapse first of Knossos and then of Bronze Age society overall. [1]

In Ban Chiang, Thailand, ( Southeast Asia ) bronze artifacts have been discovered dating to 2100 BC. However, according to the radiocarbon dating on the human and pig bones in Ban Chiang, some scholars propose that the initial Bronze Age in Ban Chiang was in late 2nd millennium. [1] The Central European Bronze Age is followed by the Iron Age Hallstatt culture (700-450 BC). [1] In Central Europe, the early Bronze Age Unetice culture (1800-1600 BC) includes numerous smaller groups like the Straubing, Adlerberg and Hatvan cultures. [1] The beginning of the Bronze Age on the peninsula is around 1000-800 BC. Although the Korean Bronze Age culture derives from the Liaoning and Manchuria, it exhibits unique typology and styles, especially in ritual objects. [1] The Bronze Age in Nubia, started as early as 2300 BC. Copper smelting was introduced by Egyptians to the Nubian city of Mero", in modern-day Sudan, around 2600 BC. A furnace for bronze casting has been found in Kerma that is dated to 2300-1900 BC. [1] In Great Britain, the Bronze Age is considered to have been the period from around 2100 to 750 BC. Migration brought new people to the islands from the continent. [1] In Mesopotamia, the Mesopotamian Bronze Age began about 3500 BC and ended with the Kassite period (c. 1500 BC - c. 1155 BC). [1] The height of this urban development was reached in the Middle Bronze Age c. 2300 BC, corresponding to level V at Namazga-Depe. [1] The Bronze Age on the Indian subcontinent began around 3300 BC with the beginning of the Indus Valley civilization. [1] A 2013 report suggests that the earliest tin-alloy bronze dates to the mid-5th millennium BC in a Vinča culture site in Pločnik ( Serbia ), although the civilization is not conventionally considered part of the Bronze Age. [1] Even though Northern European Bronze Age cultures were relatively late, and came into existence via trade, sites present rich and well-preserved objects made of wool, wood and imported Central European bronze and gold. [1] The Golasecca culture developed starting from the late Bronze Age in the Po plain. [1] These forests are known to have existed into later times, and experiments have shown that charcoal production on the scale necessary for the bronze production of the late Bronze Age would have exhausted them in less than fifty years. [1] The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the three-age Stone-Bronze-Iron system, as proposed in modern times by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen, for classifying and studying ancient societies. [1] Bronze itself is harder and more durable than other metals available at the time, allowing Bronze Age civilizations to gain a technological advantage. [1] …approximate dates as shown: the Bronze Age (2300-700 bce ) and the Iron Age (700-1 bce ), which followed a less distinctly defined Copper Age ( c. 3200-2300 bce ). [2] The Bronze Age includes the first historically verified dynasty, the Shang ( c. 1600-1046 bce ), and China’s first written records. [2] Bronze Age cultures differed in their development of the first writing. [1] In the eastern Hungarian Körös tributaries, the early Bronze Age first saw the introduction of the Mako culture, followed by the Otomani and Gyulavarsand cultures. [1] The Castellieri culture developed in Istria during the Middle Bronze Age. [1] The usual tripartite division into an Early, Middle and Late Bronze Age is not used. [1] Ur, Kish, Isin, Larsa and Nippur in the Middle Bronze Age and Babylon, Calah and Assur in the Late Bronze Age similarly had large populations. [1] The Arameans were a Northwest Semitic semi-nomadic and pastoralist people who originated in what is now modern Syria (Biblical Aram) during the Late Bronze Age and the early Iron Age. [1] "Smelting and Recycling Evidences from the Late Bronze Age habitat site of Baioes". [1] In the Old Elamite period (Middle Bronze Age), Elam consisted of kingdoms on the Iranian Plateau, centered in Anshan, and from the mid-2nd millennium BC, it was centered in Susa in the Khuzestan lowlands. [1] Worldwide, the Bronze Age generally followed the Neolithic period, with the Chalcolithic serving as a transition. [1] Trade and industry played a major role in the development of the ancient Bronze Age civilizations. [1] The Minoan civilization based in Knossos on the island of Crete appears to have coordinated and defended its Bronze Age trade. [1] As such, most African civilizations outside of Egypt did not experience a distinct Bronze Age. [1] Located in Sardinia and Corsica, the Nuragic civilization lasted from the early Bronze Age (18th century BC) to the 2nd century AD, when the islands were already Romanized. [1] From about 1000 bce the ability to heat and forge another metal, iron, brought the Bronze Age to an end, and the Iron Age began. [2] The date at which the age began varied with regions in Greece and China, for instance, the Bronze Age began before 3000 bce, whereas in Britain it did not start until about 1900 bce. [2] Bronze Age collapse theories have described aspects of the end of the Age in this region. [1] A few examples of named Bronze Age cultures in Europe in roughly relative order. [1] In the Early Bronze Age the culture of the Kopet Dag oases and Altyndepe developed a proto-urban society. [1] The Apennine culture (also called Italian Bronze Age) is a technology complex of central and southern Italy spanning the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age proper. [1] This Bronze Age culture is called the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex (BMAC). [1] Another example site is Must Farm, near Whittlesey, which has recently been host to the most complete Bronze Age wheel ever to be found. [1] The climate was deteriorating where once the weather was warm and dry it became much wetter as the Bronze Age continued, forcing the population away from easily defended sites in the hills and into the fertile valleys. [1] The Atlantic Bronze Age was defined by a number of distinct regional centres of metal production, unified by a regular maritime exchange of some of their products. [1] Whereas in the Neolithic a large chambered cairn or long barrow housed the dead, Early Bronze Age people buried their dead in individual barrows (also commonly known and marked on modern British Ordnance Survey maps as tumuli), or sometimes in cists covered with cairns. [1] During the Bronze Age the Germanic peoples spread over southern Scandinavia and penetrated more deeply into Germany between the Weser and Vistula rivers. [2] Although the Iron Age generally followed the Bronze Age, in some areas (such as Sub-Saharan Africa ), the Iron Age intruded directly on the Neolithic. [1] At the end of the Bronze Age in the Aegean region, the Mycenaean administration of the regional trade empire followed the decline of Minoan primacy. [1] Archaeology also suggests that Bronze Age metallurgy may not have been as significant a catalyst in social stratification and warfare in Southeast Asia as in other regions, social distribution shifting away from chiefdom-states to a heterarchical network. [1] Memphis in the Early Bronze Age was the largest city of the time. [1] After the Bronze Age collapse, their political influence was confined to a number of Syro-Hittite states, which were entirely absorbed into the Neo-Assyrian Empire by the 8th century BC. [1] The Bronze Age in Central Europe has been described in the chronological schema of German prehistorian Paul Reinecke. [1] The archetypal Bronze Age divisions of the Near East have a well-established triadic clearness of expression. [1] The great bronze age of China: an exhibition from the People's Republic of China. [1] One of the characteristic types of artifact of the Early Bronze Age in Ireland is the flat axe. [1] Ireland is also known for a relatively large number of Early Bronze Age burials. [1] Art of the Bronze Age: southeastern Iran, western Central Asia, and the Indus Valley. [1]

The term "Bronze Age" has been transferred to the archaeology of China from that of Western Eurasia, and there is no consensus or universally used convention delimiting the "Bronze Age" in the context of Chinese prehistory. [1]

The Late Bronze Age Collapse, often alternately referred to as the Mycenaean Palatial Civilization Collapse, was a period of time roughly between the years of 1250-1000 BC (3250-3000 years ago) that was violent, and catastrophically disruptive with regard to cultures, social systems/practices, government institutions, languages, ethnic identities, trade routes, literacy, and technologies. [3] Once smelting of sulfide ores became economic from about 1600 BC, Cyprus became a vital link in the trade of Eastern Mediterranean Bronze Age cultures for 500 years, serving not just as a convenient island in the center of many trade routes, but producing large quantities of copper for export. [4]

I use 1177 BC as shorthand for the entire Late Bronze Age collapse, just as we commonly use 476 AD as shorthand for the fall of the Roman Empire we know that neither took place entirely in exactly that year, and yet we understand that those dates are representative. [5] An archaeologist and ancient historian by training, Dr. Cline's primary fields of study are biblical archaeology, the military history of the Mediterranean world from antiquity to present, and the international connections between Greece, Egypt, and the Near East during the Late Bronze Age (1700-1100 BC). [5] The Bronze Age Timeline Timeline Description: The Bronze Age was a period of time between the Stone Age and the Iron Age when bronze was used widely to make tools, weapons, and other implements. [6] The Bronze Age refers to a time when bronze was the primary metal used to create tools and weapons. [7]

At Fenan, which was mined for copper in Chalcolithic times (Chapter 3), Bronze Age workings began around 2000 BC. The Fenan miners now followed the ores far underground, in inclined shafts that were as much as 15 to 20 m underground and at least 55 m long. [4] Eratosthenes, writing of the Late Bronze Age, say 1200 BC, reports that Cyprus was so heavily forested at that time that even smelting copper and silver, and felling trees for shipbuilding, had made little inroads on the forest. [4] My main thesis is that there must have been a 'perfect storm' of calamitous events at that turning point in order to cause the Late Bronze Age civilizations to collapse shortly after 1200 BC. There is both direct and circumstantial evidence that there was climate change, drought and famine, earthquakes, invasions and internal rebellions, all at that approximate time. [5] Map of invasions, destructions, and possible population movements during the collapse of Late Bronze Age civilizations, c. 1200 BC. (Uploaded by Alexikoua on Wikipedia in 2013 and licensed CC BY-SA 3.0.) [5] I told him that what I really wanted to write was a book about what collapsed, because the Late Bronze Age and the cultures and civilizations that were thriving in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean between about 1700 and 1200 BC have always fascinated me. [5] Every Anatolian site that was important during the preceding Late Bronze Age shows a destruction layer, and it appears that here civilization did not recover to the level of the Indo-European Hittites for another thousand years. [3] The period around 1500 BC (the middle-late Bronze Age) saw a new set of religious beliefs come into play, says Pryor, with huge centralised structures like Stonehenge abandoned in favour of localised religious sites like Flag Fen. [8] Built in c2500 BC, Stonehenge was an important site of early pilgrimage until the early Bronze Age, when one of the greatest concentrations of round barrows in Britain was built in the surrounding area. [8] Water drips constantly onto the Bronze Age posts and timbers that date to c1200-1100 BC - it is the waterlogged peat that has preserved the site for so long. [8] Syrian sites previously showed evidence of trade links with Mesopotamia (Assyria and Babylonia), Egypt and the Aegean in the Late Bronze Age. [3] Rock carvings are found worldwide, with the highest concentrations in Africa, Scandinavia, Siberia, southwestern North America and Australia dating between the late Upper Paleolithic and the Neolithic periods, although some date to the Bronze Age. [9] The Atlantic Bronze Age is the period of approximately 1300 to 700 BCE that includes different cultures in Portugal, Andalusia, Galicia, and the British Isles. [9] The Bronze Age in Ireland commenced around 2,000 BCE, when copper was alloyed with tin and used primarily in the field of metallurgy. [9] The Bronze Age spanned from 3,300 to 1,200 BCE and is characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacturing of implements and weapons. [9]

Professor Cline, why were earlier generations of scholars so keen to find a single explanation for the decline of Bronze Age civilizations? In the past, many scholars blamed the Sea Peoples, whose identity remains shrouded in mystery, for the collapse of various Bronze Age cultures. [5] The Bronze Age saw the birth of civilization and the development of advanced cultures in Europe, the Near East, and East Asia. [9] All three civilizations of the Bronze Age had many characteristics in common, while at the same time were distinct in their culture and disposition. [10] The Bronze Age is the time in which bronze was the primary material used in many cultures. [7] Just preceding the Late Bronze Age Collapse (and during), Syria turned into a battleground between some of the largest empires of the time the Hittites, the Assyrians, the Mitanni, and the Egyptians. [3] Professor Eric H. Cline speaks to Ancient History Encyclopedia's James Blake Wiener about his new title and the circumstances that lead to the collapse of the cosmopolitan world of the Late Bronze Age in this interview. [5] This ties in nicely with your theories about the Collapse of the Late Bronze Age in the Near East. [3] T he decline of the Late Bronze Age civilizations of the Mediterranean and Near East has puzzled historians and archaeologists for centuries. [5] Discover the Bronze Age in Bible History Daily, from the Minoans in Crete to the Hittites in Turkey, and learn more about the cataclysmic international Late Bronze Age collapse. [11] Your article above on Late Bronze Age Collapse was a link in the course I did run by University of Southampton in February 2016 on Shipwrecks and Underwater Archaeology (shipwrecks of Uluburun and Gelidonia off southern Turkey in 1300 and 1200 BC). [3] Whatever the truth of earlier stories though, the evidence for, and of, the more recent Late Bronze Age Collapse is widespread, well-attested, and fascinating in many ways. [3] Before the Late Bronze Age collapse, Anatolia (Asia Minor) was mostly dominated by various Indo-European people's in particular, the Luwians, Hittites, Mitanni, and Mycenaean Greeks. [3]

Many thousands of tonnes of copper were produced during the thousand years of the Bronze Age in this part of Europe: some of the slag heaps have up to 500 tonnes of slag, and there are hundreds of them. [4] On a time scale longer than 10 years, however, a Bronze Age copper mining operation must have caused local deforestation on a large scale, and ever-increasing costs for hauling the wood to keep the industry going. [4] Archaeologists have estimated that the Bronze Age copper mines at Mitterberg, in the Austrian Tyrol near Salzburg, must have employed about 180 miners and smelters to produce about 20 tonnes of copper a year. [4] The discovery of bronze, produced by combining copper and tin, was a major advancement in metallurgy during the Bronze Age. [9] "We found items made of tin mined in central Europe: tin that was probably exchanged among the more powerful members of Bronze Age society for other items - perhaps on the marriage of a family member, for example. [8] During the Bronze Age in China, culture was similar to that in Medieval Europe. [7] Bronze Age cultures differed in development of the first writing. [9] The dyke where Pryor first discovered the site, in 1982 - quite literally stumbling upon it when he tripped over a piece of what he quickly recognised as Bronze Age timber - is still visible. [8] Early Bronze Age I Megiddo fell during a period of widespread crisis in the region, and the Great Temple was abandoned along with half of the other sites in the Jezreel Valley. [11] The two together make up one of the largest-known Early Bronze Age sites in the southern Levant (with larger sites like Bet Yerah and Yarmut developing later in the EBA II/III periods). [11] The Bronze Age is part of the three-age system of archaeology that divides human technological prehistory into three periods: the Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age. [9] The Bronze Age, a period that lasted roughly three thousand years, saw major advances in social, economic, and technological advances that made Greece the hub of activity in the Mediterranean. [10] As varying groups of people discovered metals and metallurgy, the science of forging metal, the Bronze Age occurred at different times. [7] "It’s time to re-educate people about what life in the Bronze Age was really like," says Pryor, "and dispel the age-old image of wool-clad people huddling around fires in mud and rain, like cavemen. [8] Though it developed slowly the Bronze Age was a tremendous time of technological advancement that helped early civilizations flourish and expand. [6] It's clear that the geography and climate of southern Mesopotamia would not provide the wood fuel to support a Bronze Age civilization that worked metal, built large cities, and constructed canals and ceremonial centers that used wood, plaster, and bricks. [4] Interestingly, when we have found Iron or Bronze Age burials, the bodies are always found on the north or east of the burial chamber - the side of sleep and darkness." [8] Many regions did not have a bronze age, but changed directly from Chalcolithic to iron use. [4] The Bronze Age is marked by widespread migrations and trade, especially across Europe and in the Mediterranean region. [9] You characterize this as a "pyrrhic victory," which symbolically ends the Bronze Age networks of trade, power, and culture. [5] The Únětice culture arose at the beginning of the Central European Bronze Age (2300-1600 BCE). [9] In Great Britain, the Bronze Age is dated from around 2,100 to 750 BCE. Migration brought new people to the islands from the continent. [9] This discovery represented the beginning of the Bronze Age, enabling people to create metal objects that were harder than previously possible. [9] The Atlantic Bronze Age was defined by a number of distinct regional centers of metal production, unified by a regular maritime exchange of products. [9] Fuel shortage may have been the single most serious constraint on copper production as early as the Bronze Age in some areas. [4] Bronze gave its name to the Bronze Age, a major innovative period in human history. [4] The Bronze Age is the earliest period for which we have direct written accounts, since the invention of writing coincides with its early beginnings. [9] "The End Bronze Age collapse marked the start of what has been called the Greek Dark Ages, which lasted for more than 400 years. [3] Owing to the fact that much of this story wasn't put to paper until "immediately before, or during the Babylonian exile and captivity, some centuries after the Bronze Age collapse memories and folklore of the collapse might have provided material which was then used in the story of the exodus without regards to timeline or geographical location". [3] The Bronze Age also saw the development of writing systems, pyramids, and ziggurats (large, raised structures used for religious purposes). [7] Scholars traditionally depict the EB I Levant as a village-level society, with cities first appearing in the early third millennium B.C.E. (Early Bronze Age II and III). [11] In the first centuries of the Bronze Age (Early Bronze Age I, ca. 3,500-3,000 B.C.E.), Mesopotamian Uruk flourished into a monumental city, sparking what Gordon Childe controversially termed an "urban revolution" in Mesopotamia. [11] The Early Bronze Age (EBA, 3,500-2,200 B.C.E.) produced the world’s first urban and literate societies, and by the end of the era, EBA society bore witness to the construction of the pyramids at Giza and the birth of the Akkadian Empire. [11] Jezreel Valley Regional Project investigations at Early Bronze Age I Megiddo reveal that the main mound and Tel Megiddo East (TME) formed a dual site. [11] Two recent articles in the American Journal of Archaeology and Near Eastern Archaeology explore not only the excavation of the Great Temple and its construction, but also the occupation of greater Early Bronze Age I Megiddo, a "dual site consisting of a cultic acropolis at Tel Megiddo and the settlement at Tel Megiddo East." [11] The article details investigations at Tel Megiddo East, the settlement responsible for the construction of the Great Temple, as well as the broader Jezreel Valley landscape in the Early Bronze Age I. [11] The Early Bronze Age I (3300-3000 B.C.E.) saw the creation of a large, unfortified settlement in an area to the east of the mound, which today rises 100 feet above the floor of the Jezreel Valley. [11] The Bronze Age came to an end with the popularization of iron. [7] Bronze Age smiths were often buried with the tools of their trade: hammers, an anvil, knives and molds. [4] Visitors can explore its huge caverns and prehistoric landscape, as well as view Bronze Age mining tools and artefacts. [8] Thought to be around 3,500 years old, the vessel once carried cargos of supplies, livestock and passengers across the Channel, and is tangible evidence of Bronze Age trading. [8] Bronze castings : Assorted bronze Celtic castings dating from the Bronze Age, found as part of a cache, probably intended for recycling. [9] Caring about one’s personal appearance is not something many people would attribute to Bronze Age society, but I would argue that it formed part of everyday life." [8] I believe it would have been the Bronze Age equivalent of a parish church, or even a cathedral, where people came to make offerings to the water." [8] "One thing we do know about Bronze Age people is that they held their ceremonies at liminal zones, those at the boundaries. [8] Rivers must have been the Bronze Age equivalent of motorways: they would have been packed with people. [8] It has long been clear that it took much more than a single cause to bring down the Bronze Age civilizations. [5] Aegean civilizations resided in Greece and its islands during the Bronze Age. [7] The Bronze Age starts at different areas of the world at different times. [6] The Bronze Age marks the time at which smiths became metallurgists, makers of magic, heroes, and gods. [4] The Timna workings are some of the best-studied industries of the Early Bronze Age, typical of the entire desert copper-mining and smelting operations, even though the quantities mined were small, even by the standards of the time. [4] By the time the Bronze Age was well under way, wood was being consumed around the Eastern Mediterranean on a scale that could not possibly be sustained on a long-term basis. [4] Houses weren’t built near one another until the Iron Age, says Pryor, and in the Bronze Age, houses tended to be carefully spread out among the fields. [8] Less than 10 per cent of the site has been dug, with an artificial lake created over the largest portion of the ceremonial platform, preserving the Bronze Age timbers, and the site’s history, for future generations. [8] Complex administrative societies existed in contemporaneous Mesopotamia and Egypt, but Early Bronze Age I society in the Levant was not "globalized" like the later Bronze Age, and the Megiddo phenomenon should be evaluated primarily as a local development. [11] Egypt experienced many changes and development during the Bronze Age. [7] The story of the " Fall of Troy " is in reference to destruction of a city in Anatolia during the Lage Bronze Age Collapse. [3] In just a 250m section, eight Bronze Age boats were found, presumably abandoned. [8] Socketed axe blades. : A hoard of axes from the Bronze Age found in modern Germany. [9] Recent excavations in and around Early Bronze Age I Megiddo have exposed a complex society, "settlement explosion" and monumental construction that are unparalleled elsewhere in the late-fourth millennium Levant. [11] In the second half of the third millennium B.C.E., the great Early Bronze Age states also succumbed to widespread destruction and decline. [11] One of the characteristic types of artifact of the Early Bronze Age in Ireland is the flat axe, notably the Ballybeg-type flat axe. [9] Ireland is also known for a large number of Early Bronze Age burials. [9] An excited group of primary school children clad in "Bronze Age’ woollen capes borrowed from the visitor centre reminds us that Bronze Age history is now part of the National Curriculum - something Pryor campaigned passionately for. [8] During the Bronze Age, the Hittites expanded their empire to cover a large area, reaching parts of Syria and Mesopotamia. [7] "And there is even evidence of Bronze Age trade, although not in the sense that we would understand it today," says Pryor. [8] Bronze Age production at Fenan has been studied only superficially. [4] In 1992, a Bronze Age boat was discovered during construction of the A20 between Folkestone and Dover. [8] The remains of the Bronze Age timber circle discovered on Holme beach on the north Norfolk coast in 1998 are on show in Lynn Museum, along with a life-size replica. [8] Before examining the Early Bronze Age Great Temple, let's take a look the site's broader history. [11] While cultic activity surely took place in the Early Bronze Age Great Temple, the monumental structure was cleaned and the sanctuary was uncovered devoid of cultic remains. [11]


…the centuries of the Copper, Bronze, and Iron ages but these were gradual changes initiated and managed largely internally and at a rate dictated from within. [2] "Skeletal evidence for the emergence of infectious disease in bronze and iron age northern Vietnam". [1]

It was Hesiod who categorized the "ages of man", as he was aware of them, into the Ages of Gold, Silver and Bronze which were separated from the harsh and cruel "modern" world of the Age of Iron by the Age of Heroes (the time period that Homers poems are set in). [3] A "bronze age" can only occur where copper and tin are both available, where the mining and smelting technology are developed, and where trade networks can disseminate the new technology and the new artefacts. [4] "Bronze Age sheep like the ones we have here at Flag Fen wouldn’t have needed shearing - they shed their wool naturally. [8]


Copper-arsenic alloys were used throughout mainland Europe and the Middle East during the 'Copper Age', the slow transition from the late Neolithic to the Bronze Age between about 4000 and 2500 BC. These prehistoric 'arsenical coppers' span the period between the first smelting of copper and the development of bronze, which is an alloy of copper and tin. [12] In Europe, the " Bronze Age " lasted nearly 2,000 years, from approximately 3200 BCE to roughly 600 BCE. In this period, bronze tools were forged for the first time, revolutionizing how Europeans manipulated their world and competed for resources. [13]

Bronze was the metal of choice for tools, weapons, and jewellery during the Bronze Age - hence the era's name - which began around 3300 BCE. The alloy was durable and easily available, made by smelting copper and mixing it with tin and other metals. [14] The Bronze Age was the result of a short period known as the copper age this is because bronze is a form of copper mixed with tin. [15] Analysis of pollen grains taken from sediment beneath the Sea of Galilee have pinpointed the period of crisis that led to the Late Bronze Age collapse of civilization. [16] The mystery of the collapse of Late Bronze Age civilization bedevils archaeologists. [17] Experts have long pondered the cause of the crisis that led to the collapse of civilization in the Late Bronze Age, and now believe that by studying grains of fossilized pollen they have uncovered the cause. [16]

The results showed a sharp decrease in the Late Bronze Age of Mediterranean trees like oaks, pines and carobs, and in the local cultivation of olive trees, which the experts interpret as the consequence of repeated periods of drought. [16] The article then examines the Middle Bronze Age and the Tumulus culture, and notes that this period was marked by the emergence of new cultural trends from the south west and the north west. [18] The discussion then turns to the Early Bronze Age, which featured the Castelluccio culture and the Rod"-Tindari-Vallelunga and Moarda facies, and the Middle Bronze Age, which is characterised by the Thapsos-Milazzese facies. [19] The Late Bronze Age, on the other hand, was dominated by the Lausitz culture and led to a process of cultural transformation, specifically an increase in population density and the stabilisation of settlements. [18] They found that, in Northwestern Europe, populations began to decline more than a century before the late Bronze Age climate started to cool. [13] In addition to the unusual tools, excavations by the CRAG team of the Bronze Age site unearthed other objects that shed light on the lives of the people who lived there 4,500 years ago, including this arrowhead found this year. [20] A team of amateur archeologists excavating a Bronze Age site in the United Kingdom has unearthed a cache of unusual stone tools deposited in an ancient stream more than 4,000 years ago. [20] The CRAG team intends to continue their excavations at the Bronze Age site near Moel Arthur, and to fully document the unusual tools and other finds. [20] Archeologist Ian Brooks thinks they may have been used to chip away at rock faces and boulders to create marks and designs, such as ring shapes, a characteristic type of ornamentation found at many Bronze Age sites in Britain. [20] It discusses the culture and also talks about historical objects found there from the Bronze Age. [15] It first examines the Early Bronze Age and the Únětice culture, which slowly improved its metallurgy. [18] The Bronze Age, which ended in roughly in the first millennium B.C., saw the idea of iron smelting coming to light. [15] The Bronze Age, which was in full swing by the third millennium B.C., spread across Europe and Asia at roughly the same time to change everyday life. [15] Who started the Bronze Age is still a bit of a controversy, some feel it started in different parts of Europe, spread from Asia, or it began at roughly the same time across the known world. [15] It first observes that during the earliest stage of the Bronze Age, a system of coastal trade which extended over a major part of central Mediterranean could have existed in Sicily and in the Aeolian islands. [19] Who was it that started this Bronze Age, well that is the tricky part, many theories and ideas exist and no one knows for sure who did smelt bronze first. [15]

Historians like Brooke have long acknowledged that climate change is but one possible explanation among many for the late Bronze Age collapse. [13] He added that the uniqueness of the study also lay in the combination of precise science and archaeological and historical analysis, offering the fullest picture yet of the collapse of civilization in this area at the end of the Bronze Age. [16] This site talks about the two large civilizations that lead the Bronze Age: The Minoans and the Mycenean. [15] In many regions, small, scattered villages were all that remained of the great Bronze Age civilizations. [13] The authors argue that, all along, social and economic shifts were more than sufficient to explain the fall of regional Bronze Age civilizations. [13] The Bronze Age made life easier for people even though it soon became one of the metals that was used less extensively. [15] According to a new study, it's possible that all iron-based weapons and tools of the Bronze Age were forged using metal salvaged from meteorites. [14] Traces of this toxic element in the earliest Bronze Age tools have provided generations of archaeologists with vital clues about the spread of early metals technology. [12]

This is more than just a cool story from the Bronze Age though - it's evidence that this kind of analysis can help narrow down just when and where we developed the technological know-how to start producing our own iron goods. [14] "The present results complementing high quality analyses from the literature suggest that most or all irons from the Bronze Age are derived from meteoritic iron," writes Jambon in his published paper. [14] In a paper recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of scientists under lead author Ian Armit of the University of Bradford set out to reconstruct the late Bronze Age climate with unprecedented precision. [13] Tipping, Richard et al., "Response to late Bronze Age climate change of farming communities in north-east Scotland." [13] An Irish "crannog" - a defensive structure - from the late Bronze Age. [13] He noted that many small objects from the Bronze Age in Europe have been found in what once were wet locations, such as swamps or bogs, and that they may have been deposited as a form of ritual offering. [20] This article studies Bronze Age Poland, which served as the eastern section of the most culturally advanced region of Europe. [18] In Bronze Age Western Europe, Southern Germany and Denmark were the two dominant centres of power, very similar to kingdoms. [21] Pollen Study Points to Drought as Culprit in Bronze Age Mystery - The New York Times NYTimes.com no longer supports Internet Explorer 9 or earlier. [16] The Bronze Age site excavated by the CRAG team is thought to be much older: built around 2500 B.C., based on carbon dating of charcoal fragments. [20] Geophysical surveys also suggest there was at least one roundhouse, a typical type of group dwelling during the Bronze Age in Britain, at the site. [20] This site contains short and brief information about the Bronze Age, it does contain many images and maps dealing with the topic. [15] The first is the safety pin, although it was probably not called that during the Bronze Age. [15] While surveying 250,000 years of climate history, historian John Brooke of Ohio State University argues in an ambitious new book that the onset of a "cold, dry climate has to be a fundamental explanation of the demise of the Bronze Age of the greater Mediterranean." (Brooke, 2014) Harvests failed in a changing climate, and subsequent food shortages undermined palace economies while provoking mass migration. [13] It is no surprise, then, that scholars have sought to link the Bronze Age collapse to climate change. [13] The Bronze Age started in the third millennium B.C. and with it brought great advancements to the world. [15]

The ax was made using bronze as the head and wood as the handle, the two were still fashioned together the same way as in the Stone Age. [15] Trading networks and, in turn, stratified civilizations based around bronze production could not survive the advent of the Iron Age, when metals stronger than bronze were suddenly widely accessible. [13] The latter half of the article focuses on the Late Bronze, Final Bronze, and Early Iron Ages, where a new connection between Sicily, the Aeolian islands, and mainland Italy was formed that greatly changed the role of these islands in the Mediterranean. [19]


The era of the Shang and the Zhou dynasties is generally known as the Bronze Age of China, because bronze, an alloy of copper and tin, used to fashion weapons, parts of chariots, and ritual vessels, played an important role in the material culture of the time. [22] The Bronze Age was the time when men learned how to mine and smelt copper and tin to make bronze weapons and tools. [23]

BRONZE AGE, in Iranian archeology a term used informally for the period from the rise of trading towns in Iran, ca. 3400-3300 B.C., to the beginning of the Iron Age, ca. 1400-1300 B.C. It was originally adopted as part of a chronological system based on assumptions about successive changes in the use of raw materials for tool manufacture, but, along with Iron Age and other comparable terms, it has long since lost any precise meaning in relation to technology. [24] Beginning around 3300 BCE in the Near East and parts of South Asia, the Bronze Age was categorized by the widespread use of bronze in weapons, tools and decorations. [25]

At about the same time that Stonehenge was rising in England and Abraham was framing the principles of Judaism in the Middle East, a Bronze Age culture was developing in China that in many respects was seldom equaled and never surpassed. [23] In sites in Palestine, excavations show a slow but steady egyptianization of the culture as more egyptian or egyptianized artifacts appear in the latter half of the Late Bronze Age, and as egyptian practices (e.g. burial practices) become more the fashion. [26] French scientist Albert Jambon has been working on a new study that's carried out geochemical analysis on numerous iron artifacts from Bronze Age cultures across the ancient world. [27] How did Bronze Age civilizations manage to forge iron weapons before they had learned how to smelt iron ore? It turns out, they had a little bit of help from the cosmos, as many of the iron artifacts from this era appear to have an extraterrestrial origin. [27] The long period of the Bronze Age in China, which began around 2000 B.C., saw the growth and maturity of a civilization that would be sustained in its essential aspects for another 2,000 years. [22] Sherds of Andronovo pottery, derived from southern Siberia and traditionally linked by scholars with Iranian tribes, appear for the first time in central Asia at the end of the Bronze Age (i.e., the end of the Namazga/Namāzgāh VI period), half a millennium after the onset of urban decline (Biscione, 1977 L'Asie centrale, 1988). [24] There is a definite decrease in occupied settlements in the Late Bronze Age from the previous Middle Bronze period. [26] In addition to royal scarabs, many other scarabs of the Late Bronze have expression of luck and goodwill for the bearer, thus suggesting that scarabs were becoming more amuletic in this period than in the previous Middle Bronze Age. [26] FIGURINES: Although clay figurines appear first in Middle Bronze II, they main generally rare until towards the end of the Late Bronze Age. [26] Primary burials lying in a supine fully extended position becomes the more common burial fashion rather than secondary burial characteristic of Middle Bronze II. (Compare Middle Bronze II Gibeon Tomb 15 with Late Bronze Age cemetery at Tell es-Sa'idiyeh.) [26]

The divers are part of a scientific team excavating on land and underwater to investigate why a string of Late Bronze Age civilizations toppled--the Mycenaean kingdom in Greece, the Hittite Empire in Anatolia, and the New Kingdom of Egypt. [28] It is important to note that there are scant archaeological remains in the first part of the Late Bronze Age. [26] Two major types of arrowheads ( ANEP, 805 - inscribed javelin heads) occur in this period: long, slender arrowheads (most of the Late Bronze Age) and small blunt ones (generally thirteenth century). [26] A second important point about the Late Bronze Age concerns the egyptianization of this indigenous culture. [26] Egyptian and egyptianize stone vessels become common in the Late Bronze Age particularly as the local industry develops at sites like Beth Shan. [26] In the Late Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age, a number of well-built square-shaped houses can be cited: Tell Sera', Tell Masos, Beth Shan, Tell Hesi, Gerar, Tell Aphek and Tell el-Farah (S). [26]

RANKED SELECTED SOURCES(38 source documents arranged by frequency of occurrence in the above report)


This article discusses Bronze Age metalworking and the use of bronze and copper. It first studies the different approaches to prehistoric metalworking, including the sub-discipline of archaeometallurgy. The article then reviews the early evidence for copper mining, smelting, metalworking, and the progression of different types of copper and copper alloys, emphasising the situation of Bronze Age metalworking in central and south-eastern Europe. It then focuses on Bronze Age metallurgy, which is thought to have quickly developed in scale and complexity, and challenges evolutionist assumptions in several notions of technological ‘progress’. The article also aims to deconstruct some commonly held perceptions of the social context of early metallurgy.

Tobias L. Kienlin, Institut für Archäologische Wissenschaften, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany

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Copper: A World Trade in 3000 BC?

Europe’s economy between 2000 and 1000 BC stood and fell with copper, used for the creation of bronze. At the same time, large quantities of copper were mined in America, though no-one seems to know who was using it. A question of a world economy, and supply and demand?
by Philip Coppens

The Bronze Age is a period in Western European history typified by the usage of… bronze. The Bronze Age may be a term used daily in schools across the world, but there is one major issue that is seldom debated: where did the required components, tin and copper, originate from?

Indeed, though it is undoubtedly the case that Europe had a “Bronze Age”, archaeologists have accepted that much more copper was used than what they have been able to attribute to European mines. So where did an extremely large part of the copper come from? The answer, as bizarre as it may sound, could be America. It is known that during the European Bronze Age, large quantities of copper were mined in North America. However, no-one is able to answer as to what became of the copper that was mined there.

If we were to add the two problems together, do we have the solution? Of course, the answer for the accepted scientific dogma is “no”, as it argues that there were no transoceanic contacts in the Bronze Age, and hence copper could not have been traded from the New to the Old World. But perhaps there is sufficient scientific evidence available that will alter the assumptions of the scientists. The chief ingredient for bronze is copper. The era around 3000 BC saw more than 500,000 tons of copper being mined in the so-called Upper Peninsula, in the American state of Michigan. The largest mine was on Isle Royale, an island in Lake Superior, near the Canadian border. Here, there are thousands of prehistoric copper pits, dug thousands of years ago by ancient peoples unknown. The Minong Belt on Isle Royale has a distance of one and three quarter miles in length and is nearly four hundred feet wide. The copper pits range ten tot thirty feet deep with connecting tunnels one archaeologist estimated that their digging would take the equivalent of 10,000 men working for 1000 years.

After two centuries of speculation, no-one has ever satisfactorily explained where the world’s purist copper might have gone. Extraction from Isle Royal began in 5300 BC, with some even claiming that it began as early as 6000 BC. Evidence for smelting is known to exist from “only” 4000 BC onwards.

The exact size of the mined ore is perhaps never going to be exactly determined, but what is known, is that ca. 1200 BC, all mining activity was halted. But around 1000 AD, mining was restarted and lasted until 1320 AD. During this period, a moderate 2000 tons were removed. In North America, not even 1% has been recovered. Some individual pieces weigh 34,000 pounds, which equals the weight of all bronze or copper artefacts found in the United States. Other stones, such as the Ontonagon Boulder, weigh 3700 pounds. One 5720 pound mass found near McCargo’s Cove was raised part way to the surface on cribbing in the same way others were found in other mines. The ancients were raising it, yet somehow, some of these huge stones were abandoned mid-task.

Octave DuTemple, one of the first archaeologists to investigate the site, stated that the miners left their tools behind, as if they had thought that the following morning, they would return to their quarry and continue their work.

These miners were experienced labourers. The mines were efficiently run, producing large quantities of ore that could be quickly transported to the surface. Between 1000 and 12,000 ton of material was removed from one mine, resulting in approximately fifty tons of copper. Their technique was basic, but efficient: they created large fires on the veins of the copper ore, heating the stone, then to poor water on top of it. This cracked the rock and with the aide of stone tools, the copper was removed from the rock. About 5000 mines have been discovered, in an area that is roughly 200 kilometres long and five to ten kilometres wide. The area mined on Isle Royale measures sixty to eight kilometres. If all mines were placed in one consecutive row, it would measure eight kilometres, eight metres wide and ten metres deep.

Every mine that was opened in the past 200 years, showed some previous, prehistoric mining activity. This included mines where the copper ore did not protrude to the surface – showing evidence of the advanced knowledge which allowed the prehistoric miners to identify subterranean ores. It also worked the other way around, for sites that showed evidence of ancient mining, were in modern times considered to be good omens, as they were often the best sites to find copper – lots of copper.

How the miners knew which stones contained copper is a mystery. They obviously did, but where they learned, is not known. As it is not known who was responsible for the activity. Furthermore, if there were no transoceanic contacts, is it not highly remarkable that both continents, completely independent from each other, at the same moment in time, began to mine and use copper and tin, used it to create bronze, yet in America, did nothing “sensible” with it – apart from some artefacts that have been recovered? The Menomonie Indians of north Wisconsin possess a legend that speaks about the ancient mines. They described the mines as being worked by “light skinned men”, who were able to identify the mines by throwing magical stones on the ground, which made the ores that contained copper ring like a bell.

This practice closely resembles a similar practice that was used in Europe during the Bronze Age. Bronze with a high concentration of tin indeed resonates when a stone is thrown against it. The legend might have confused the start of the process with the result of the process. Even so, S.A. Barnett, the first archaeologist who studied Aztalan, a site near the mines, believed that the miners originated from Europe. His conclusion was largely based on the type of tools that had been used, tools which were not used by the local people. It is clear that with a vast workforce – possibly as many as 10,000 people – some must have died. It is also likely that at least some labourers came with families. In short, there must have been a number of dead people, but where are the burials? The answer: nowhere. Where the dead were taken is another good question, as there is no evidence of cremation or burial near any of the sites or the Upper Peninsula in general. The only thing that was left behind, were their tools – millions of tools. And this suggests that the workforce, though not necessarily from Europe, was most likely not local either.

But that it could very well be Europe, was given a boost when in 1922, William A. Ferguson discovered a harbour on the north coast of Isle Royale. Ships could load and unload, aided by a pier that measured 500 metres in length. This suggests that the type of ships that anchored here, were large ships – and that there were many. The most likely explanation as to the purpose of this harbour was that they formed the point where the copper was loaded… to be transported to other regions. The presence of the harbour further shows that the people working the mines were not local, as the local Indians only used small canoes. It is likely that the mines were only worked in the summer, with the workforce moving further south during the winter months – or returning home across the ocean. This could explain the absence of buildings: people living here in the winter, need buildings in order to survive, but that is not necessarily so during the summer months. As there are no such buildings, it suggests no-one lived here. Equally important is the fact that there are no signs of copper melting factories, required for their future use. This means that the copper was used elsewhere, as copper required further handling for it to be useful.

Could we find out where they went in the winter months? Though Europe is a possibility, it is also unlikely. Their most likely habitat was probably Aztalan and Rock Lake, where some years ago, buildings and a temple were discovered just below the water surface. These sites are a mere fifty kilometres south of the “snowline”, which makes them ideal places to settle down for the winter. Their winter residence and summer work site were actually connected with each other via rivers.

It is also around Rock Lake that many graves have been discovered. No less than 70 funerary hills containing the cremated remains of thousands of individuals have been discovered there. One of the better preserved graves contains the body of a man with a hammer a similar hammer was discovered at Isle Royale. Copper nugget at Minong mine So, is the problem of the copper trade fully answered with the discovery of their remains around Rock Lake? Or does it still leave room for a European component to this story?

The problem is that though Rock Lake seemed to house the workforce, nowhere is there any evidence that they, or other people nearby, used the copper. So the problem of where the copper went remains. Furthermore, the copper was definitely worthy of a transoceanic voyage. The copper around Lake Superior was the best and most important copper found in the world. In the period of 1000 to 1400 BC, the copper was exported to the Mexican Toltecs – and perhaps even other civilisations further south. But who were the “buyers” several millennia earlier? Copper mining started in 3000 BC, with already a high standard of extraction. Thousands of workmen were organised to work efficiently with tools that could move three tons of ore at one time. They also were able to dig up to a depth of twenty metres, without any problems.

Where did this knowledge originate from? North America has no clear source for this culture. When we look to the problem on a global scale, there are only a handful of possible cultures that possessed such advanced knowledge at that time, cultures such as the Indus and the Egyptian civilisation.

The most likely candidate, however, remains Bronze Age Europe. What is remarkable, is that Bronze Age Europe ended in 1200 BC, which coincides with the end of the mining activities in America. Coincidence? The mining technique in America is also identical to those used on the British Isles, where the other component, tin, originated from. Together with Spain, the British Isles were the main sources of tin.

Still, it is intriguing to note that recently, a tin mine was discovered at Isle Royale – mines which the native Indians did not even know existed. This shows that Isle Royale thus provided the miners both with copper and tin. The only piece of “hard evidence” so far uncovered is statue discovered in ca. 1660 by a missionary, Allouez, who travelled through the region and stumbled upon a 30 cm copper statue, depicting a man with a beard – the native Indians do not have beards. Aztalan To this needs to be added one important observation. Western Europe in the Bronze Age was largely driven by the sea – the areas that were most populated and the furthest developed were all coastal, with many, such as the Orkneys, strangely off the beaten track – yet perfectly situated if there was transoceanic contact at that time.

In the traditional understanding, the Orkneys form an output, which somehow makes it difficult to explain their advanced culture and economy that allowed them to build their monuments. But in the “new understanding”, the Orkneys formed a vital post for transoceanic travel, bringing in travellers who were no doubt willing to “spend” in the Orkneys, making the Orkneys a cornerstone of the world economy.

More and more scientists are agreeing that Bronze Age Europe was indeed a maritime system. Is it that impossible to suggest that travellers who sailed from Spain to Scotland would not have been able to cross to America? Some might argue that the waters of the ocean were far rougher than those coastal waters, but anymore merely has to travel around Cornwall – where the ships had to pass to take tin – will know the seas there are extremely rough.

Would it be impossible to assume that a world economy of copper and tin existed in 3000 BC? For those who believe that the answer is that this is impossible – note how dangerous it might be to expel such a possibility out of hand… This article originally appeared in Frontier Magazine 5.5 (September-October 1999) and has been updated once since.


Scientists Believe they Have Found the Origins of the Unique Basque Culture

The Basque people have been an enigma to anthropologists for years. With a unique language, traditions, and customs, Basque origins have long been a mystery. Researchers now believe they have finally pinpointed the beginnings of this special group of people - from the results of a study of eight ancient skeletons found in a cave in northern Spain.

According to the BBC, by studying the genomes of human skeletons from El Portalón, Atapuerca, Mattias Jakobsson (a population geneticist) and his team from Uppsala University in Sweden believe that prehistoric Iberian farmers are the closest match to the modern Basques. This new information contradicts the previously held belief that the Basque ancestors we earlier groups of pre-agricultural hunter gatherers.

The cave of El Portalon is well-known to archaeologists, as Dr. Cristina Valdiosera, one of the lead authors in the current study said:

“The El Portalon cave is a fantastic site with amazing preservation of artifact material. Every year we find human and animal bones and artifacts, including stone tools, ceramics, bone artifacts and metal objects, it is like a detailed book of the last 10,000 years, providing a wonderful understanding of this period. The preservation of organic remains is great and this has enabled us to study the genetic material complementing the archaeology.”

Illustration of life at El Portalon Cave during the Neolithic and Copper Age ( Maria de la Fuente )

The eight skeletons from the new study are evenly divided between males and females. There is one male child included in the burials. By using radiocarbon dating, it has been shown that the remains are from between 5,500 – 3,500 years ago (Chalcolithic period/Copper Age and Bronze Age). The later age of most of the individuals and the artifacts found with them (such as pottery) suggest that they were farmers, not hunter gatherers.

Jakobsson and the team extracted DNA from the ancient ancestors and sequenced their genomes. They then took this information and compared their genetic profiles to various prehistoric and modern Europeans. The results showed that the ancient farmers had a mix of genes coming from earlier hunter-gatherers and other farming groups. However, the most shocking information is that the prehistoric farmers from the study are most closely related to modern Basques .

This information is surprising, and even the researchers admit that they did not expect this outcome. How can they explain the genetic and cultural uniqueness of the Basques, so linked to the eight El Portalon skeletons, yet so distinct from other European groups? The rationalization they have provided is that the ancient ancestors to the Basques arrived in the region, mixed with some other framers and hunter gatherers…and then were isolated.

One of the skeletons from the current El Portalon cave study ( MyNewsDesk)

They are still uncertain exactly why the group became separated from others. Jakobsson told the BBC: “It's hard to speculate, but we've been working with Basque historians and it's clear from the historical record that this area was very difficult to conquer.”

"One of the great things about working with ancient DNA is that the data obtained is like opening a time capsule. Seeing the similarities between modern Basques and these early farmers directly tells us that Basques remained relatively isolated for the last 5,000 years but not much longer," Dr. Torsten Günther told Phys.org.

5,000 years is still a relatively long time for a culture. That time has provided sufficient differences between the modern Basques and non-Basques living in the Iberian region. The unique non Indo-European language used by Basques is just one of the features still unexplained.

Title page of a Medieval Basque Language Book ( Wikimedia Commons )

Spoken language is not identified by artifacts or genes, thus modern researchers can only make assumptions on what could be the origins of Euskara (the Basque language.) Researchers in the current study have suggested that the early farmers from this study passed on a language that was present before the Indo-European languages swept across the continent. Nonetheless, they agree that it may be instead that the Basque language predates the farmers and descended from earlier hunter gatherers who maintained their language despite the incoming farmers. Ez dakigu…


DEATH BY COMBAT AT THE DAWN OF THE BRONZE AGE? PROFILING THE DAGGER-ACCOMPANIED BURIAL FROM RACTON, WEST SUSSEX

A previously unresearched Early Bronze Age dagger-grave found in 1989 at Racton, West Sussex, is profiled here through a range of studies. The dagger, the only grave accompaniment, is of the ‘transitional’ Ferry Fryston type, this example being of bronze rather than copper. Bayesian analysis of relevant radiocarbon dates is used to refine the chronology of the earliest bronze in Britain. While the Ferry Fryston type was current in the earlier half of the twenty-second century bc , the first butt-riveted bronze daggers did not emerge until the second half. The Racton dagger is also distinguished by its elaborate rivet-studded hilt, an insular innovation with few parallels.

The excavated skeleton was that of a senior male, buried according to the appropriate rites of the time. Isotopic profiling shows an animal-protein rich diet that is typical for the period, but also the likelihood that he was brought up in a region of older silicate sedimentary rocks well to the west or north west of Racton. He had suffered injury at or close to the time of death a slice through the distal end of his left humerus would have been caused by a fine-edged blade, probably a dagger. Death as a result of combat-contested leadership is explored in the light of other injuries documented among Early Bronze Age burials. Codified elite-level combat could help to explain the apparent incongruity between the limited efficacy of early dagger forms and their evident weapon-status.


Bronze Age Interactions: The Tin Trade

The Bronze age began 3300 BCE in the eastern Mediterranean and lasted until 1200 BCE when efficient iron smelting brought forth the dawn of the Iron Age. During this period copper and tin were smelted together to create bronze, an alloy stronger than its components and easier to create than refining iron. However, there is an unresolved question. Tin is not native in large quantities to eastern Mediterranean. Therefore, where was the tin mined?

An ancient tin ingot to be used in the creation of bronze.

With the advent of trace-element analysis, in which artifacts are sampled for specific rare elements, archaeologists are able to cross-reference the trace elements found in artifacts with naturally occurring concentrations across the world. For example, at shipwreck near Haifa, present-day Israel, numerous tin ingots, with Minoan symbols indicating ingots are from the bronze age, had trace elements of cobalt. Archaeologists must now find a source of tin with similar traces of Cobalt to determine the origin. Yet, they have failed to find an exact match, the closest being Cornwall, present-day England, which has concentrations of cobalt and germanium.

In addition to trace-element analysis, written sources can help narrow the tin’s possible origin. The famed Greek historian Herodotus speaks of tin originating in “the tin isles” which is thought to be the English Isles. This tin would be exported to Minoan Crete for processing into bronze. Although his claim does strengthen the possibility of a source of tin in northern Europe, Herodotus wrote his theory of the origin of tin almost a five hundred years since its primary use and admitted that he lacked an eyewitness account. Only until the Roman empire conquered the Isles did both written sources and trace-element analysis provide concrete evidence that northern tin was used in bronze production.

Ultimately, a spatial distribution of assemblages containing tin would provide the most concrete answer. Both tin and amber are commonly found in north-western Europe, but very rare in Mediterranean. Excavations in Minoan Crete and Cyprus

A map showing major tin deposits in Europe.

found jewelry made of tin and amber beads revealing a trade network between the two locations. A fall-off analysis, an analysis which shows how the quantities of traded goods decline as distance to the source increases, indicates that a down-the-line exchange system carried the tin south through present day France before Minoan merchants brought the tin across the Mediterranean to Crete. Therefore, it is probable that a route did from northern Europe did supply at least the Minoans with a source of tin.

Maddin, Robert, Stech Wheeler, Tamara, Muhly, James. “Tin in the Ancient Near East Old Questions and New Finds.” Penn Museum, Vol. 15, no. 2, 1977. 35-47. http://www.penn.museum/sites/expedition/?p=3921 . Web. 29 September, 2017.

Harms, William. “Bronze Age Source of Tin Discovered.” The University of Chicago Chronicle, vol. 13, no. 9, 1994. http://chronicle.uchicago.edu/940106/tin.shtml . Web. 29 September, 2017.

Muhly, James. “Tin Trade Routes of the Bronze Age.” Sigma Xi , vol. 61, no. 4, 1973, 404-413. http://www.jstor.org/stable/27843879 . Web. 29 September, 2017.

Renfrew, Colin, and Paul Bahn. Archaeology Essentials: Theories, Methods, Practice . 3rd ed., Thames & Hudson, 2015.

Monna, Fabrice & Jebrane, Ahmed & Gabillot, M & Laffont, Rémi & Specht, Marie & Bohard, Benjamin & Camizuli, Estelle & Petit, Christophe & Chateau, Carmela & Paul, Alibert. (2013). Morphometry of Middle Bronze Age palstaves. Part II – spatial distribution of shapes in two typological groups, implications for production and exportation. Journal of Archaeological Science. 40. 507-516. 10.1016/j.jas.2012.06.029.

Bernard Knapp. “Thalassocracies in Bronze Age Eastern Mediterranean Trade: Making and Breaking a Myth.” World Archaeology , vol. 24, no. 3, 1993, pp. 332–347. JSTOR , JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/124712.

M. Otte (2007) Vers la Préhistoire, de Boeck, Bruxelles. M. Benvenuti et al. (2003), “The “Etruscan tin”: a preliminary contribution from researches at Monte Valerio and Baratti-Populonia (Southern Tuscany, Italy)”, in A. Giumlia-Mair et al, The Problem of Early Tin, Oxford: Archaeopress. R.G. Valera & P.G. Valera, P.G. (2003), “Tin in the Mediterranean area: history and geology”, in A. Giumlia-Mair & F. Lo Schiavo, The Problem of Early Tin, Oxford: Archaeopress.

Gikeson, Mark. “Copper and Mudd.” Summer 2015, Harvey Mudd College Magazine, 9 Nov. 2015, magazine.hmc.edu/summer-2015/copper-and-mudd/.


The Beginnings of Bronze

The earliest definite date usually assigned to true bronze casting is about 2500 B.C., i.e. 700 years or more after copper is known to have been in use nevertheless numerous analyses show that copper artifacts of around 3000 B.C. sometimes contain small and variable percentages of tin. These may be regarded as "accidental bronzes."

One of the first things that the early coppersmith must have learned was that when he hammered copper he hardened it and, conversely, by heating the object he could soften or anneal it again. Thus the unalloyed metal could be fabricated and cut in a number of different ways. But when some unknown inventor conceived the idea of deliberately adding fixed proportions of tin ore to the melt, he produced true bronze and thereby started the Bronze Age. As bronze was harder, almost equally durable and decidedly easier to cast than copper, although much more liable to fracture if not properly made, its use spread rapidly. In the Mediterranean countries bronze was not supplanted for over 2,000 years and it lasted a good many centuries longer in north-western Europe, where methods of extracting and working iron were slower to follow those of Hallstadt and Rome. Meanwhile, both bronze and copper ran side by side. Museum labels on exhibits are not to be trusted unless analyses have been made and it is only in recent years that this has been systematically undertaken.

The ancient tin was nearly always stream tin, nuggets of the ore being found in the stream gravels, perhaps in the search for gold. Tin ore occurs in Armenia, but everywhere in the world it is much rarer than copper. The main European deposits are in Saxony and Cornwall. British tin was widely famed, perhaps as far back as 1000 B.C. Knowledge of it probably reached the Continent indirectly for as is well known there was a roundabout immigration from Spain through Ireland several hundred years at least before one can pick up the threads in England. No doubt Gaul and Kent must also have been in touch, but between Kent and Cornwall lay a vast, unbroken forest. The mining of British tin became quite an organized industry at a very early date. The metal was cast locally into ingots, and one of the probable smelters was on St. Michael's Mount, where abundant furnace scoriae from the slag have been found, and where also was situated the port of Ictis, whence traders passed into Gaul and so down to the Mediterranean. (1)

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Main keywords of the article below: became, archaeologists, organised, needed, tools, skills, think, metal, difficult, people, bronze, utensils, age.

KEY TOPICS
Archaeologists think that people became more organised in the Bronze Age, because the making of metal tools was difficult and needed certain skills. [1] The Bronze Age was not at the same time everywhere, because different groups of people began to use bronze at different times. [1] Later, when iron tools spread, the Bronze Age ended and the Iron Age started. [1] By the Bronze Age, wild food was no longer a main part of the diet. [1] In Western Europe, the Bronze Age lasted from about 2000 BC until 800 BC. In the Middle East, it started about a thousand years earlier. [1]

With the start of the Bronze Age, around 3600 BCE, wealthier households in the Middle East and Mediterranean regions ditched their stone and wood implements in favor of utensils made of--you guessed it--bronze. (And also copper.) [2] The Bronze Age developed in different cultures in different millennia: in Greece, Turkey and Crete around 3000 BC in China, Egypt, the Middle East, and Europe about a thousand years later, around 1900 BC. There was no Bronze Age in the Americas and Oceania -- Stone Age tools and weapons were replaced there when invaders introduced iron. [3] The first cultures to enter a Bronze Age were those of West Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean coast, from roughly 3300-1200 BCE. Southern Europe followed around 3200 BCE, spreading the new technologies and ideas across the continent until roughly 600 BCE. In East Asia, China entered the Bronze Age first, starting around 2,000 BCE. In all of these places, some of the most important new tools to emerge were those used for cooking and eating. [4]

The terms stone age, bronze age, and iron age are three classic divisions of history based on the chief material used for tools and weapons at different stages in the history of man. [5] The Bronze Age was the time when men learned how to mine and smelt copper and tin to make bronze weapons and tools. [6] If Bronze Age people were creating new types of cookware, then what were they using it for? What did Bronze Age people eat? By the time people learned to combine copper and tin to make bronze, these same societies had already domesticated several kinds of plants and animals. [4] In Neolithic times (before the Bronze Age), people had made tools out of stone and hunted and gathered their food. [6] In the Bronze Age, the appearance of new metal tools helped change the ways that people cooked, stored, and ate their food. [4] As the archaeological record tells us, the Bronze Age was followed by the Iron Age, and more sophisticated forms of metallurgy produced more useful tools for food preparation. [2]

Some civilizations skipped a period - Sub-Saharan Africa went straight from stone to iron skipping Bronze Age altogether. [5] China's Bronze Age started around 1700 BC, during the Shang dynasty, and the earliest use of the metal was for great ritual cauldrons and ornately decorated vessels for ceremonies and ancestor worship. [3] Basically, the use of copper was a good supplement to stone tools and also acted in some civilizations as a transition to the Bronze Age. [5] Amateur archaeologists excavating a Bronze Age site in the United Kingdom have discovered a cache of unusual stone tools unlike any that have been found before. [7] Brooks thinks the tools and the activity at the burnt mound were probably associated with a variety of activities going on at the site for a time during the Bronze Age. [7] By the time of the Bronze Age this culture was characterized by a strong centralized government, urban communities with stratified social classes, palatial architecture, a distinctive system of writing, elaborate religious rituals, sophisticated art forms, and bronze metallurgy. [6] At about the same time that Stonehenge was rising in England and Abraham was framing the principles of Judaism in the Middle East, a Bronze Age culture was developing in China that in many respects was seldom equaled and never surpassed. [6] The Bronze Age, the era in which bronze became available to a society, occurred at different times around the globe. [4] By the end of the Bronze Age, the vessels became worldly status symbols, more important in celebrations of the living than in rituals for the dead. [6] Late Bronze Age hoards in Britain, Scotland and Ireland, containing the burial artifacts of a single warrior, all hold at least one but often two or more fine bronze swords. [3] In the Bronze Age people learned how to farm and produce enough extra food to feed other workers such as miners, bronze-smiths, weavers, potters and builders who lived in towns and to feed the ruling class who organized and led society. [6] Food in Bronze Age China wasn't too dissimilar from food in the Bronze Age Mediterranean rice and tea hadn't made their way into the heart of China yet, so bread and beer were staples of their diet. [4] A lot changed in the Bronze Age, including the tools of daily life. [4] Most historians think that the Bronze Age gave way to the Iron Age chiefly due to trade problems and the inability to obtain whichever component one was lacking. [5] Contrary to common notions about the Chinese, the Bronze Age Chinese did not drink tea or eat rice. [6] The Bronze Age Chinese held extraordinarily different ideas about kingship and religion from Medieval Europe. [6] The Chinese Bronze Age had begun by 1700 B.C. in the kingdom of the Shang dynasty along the banks of the Yellow River in northern China. [6] In the early Bronze Age, the climate in North Wales was warmer by around 3.6 to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit (2 to 3 degrees Celsius), and there was evidence that grain crops were grown at that time on the broad tops of hills in the area. [7] Bronze Age people lived largely on a diet of cereals and other agricultural products, with meat also being something of a luxury item. [4] Geophysical surveys, funded by CRAG in 2011 and 2012, indicated that the plateau near the burnt mound and the ancient stream may have included a small settlement of roundhouses, a typical style of dwelling in Bronze Age Britain. [7] In many ways society in Bronze Age China resembles society in Medieval Europe. [6] "One of the things that you do get in the Bronze Age is the decoration of natural boulders and rock faces, producing things like cut marks and rings and suchlike," Brooks said. [7] The bases of the Bronze Age diet were cereals like wheat, millet, and barley. [4] The knowledge of how to produce bronze allowed kings to overcome their enemies, and caused such a revolution that it marked the end of the Stone Age and the beginning of the Bronze Age. [5]

The repertoire of shapes in ceramics is relatively varied both in the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, possibly because utensils served a wide range of uses. [8] A delaying factor in shaping a local chronological sequence of ceramic categories is the absence of vertical stratigraphy in the sites of Central Epirus, combined with the inability to recognize changes in the morphological features of ceramic utensils from Bronze Age and Early Iron Age Epirus. [8] It could be argued that pottery in Central Epirus during the Bronze Age was used exclusively for daily needs. Available data does not suggest the existence of special social practices and utensils that could be linked to such pottery. [8]

Due to these properties, the men of those times found bronze suitable for the production of different important things like utensils, weapons and farming tools etc. which help them to flourished in that age. [9]

Bronze tools and weapons were used during this "age" (alongside still-useful stone and copper). [5] Between the Stone Age and the Iron Age, the discovery of how to make bronze -- from copper and tin -- revolutionized tool- and weapon-making. [3]

The Romans popularized a variety of kitchen utensils, including meat hooks, meat mincers, spatulas, colanders/strainers and ladles, frequently made of iron, as well as pots and kettles made of bronze and terracotta. [2]


Regardless of where it originated, bronze metallurgy soon overtook copper in many parts of the globe, thus ushering in the Bronze Age. (In parts of the world that lacked deposits of tin, copper was used alone or alloyed with other metals until iron was introduced.) [10]

While the development of iron smelting put an end to the Bronze Age, the use of copper and bronze did not stop. In fact, under the Roman's expanded the use for, and extraction of, copper. [11] It continues to be the more common type of earring in Iron I. A fruit-shaped (pomegrante?) earring is much rarer and restricted, it appears, the the Late Bronze Age: Deir el-Balah Tombs 116,118, Tell el-Farah S Tomb 934, and Beth Shemesh St. IV. [12] Primary burials lying in a supine fully extended position becomes the more common burial fashion rather than secondary burial characteristic of Middle Bronze II. (Compare Middle Bronze II Gibeon Tomb 15 with Late Bronze Age cemetery at Tell es-Sa'idiyeh.) [12] FIGURINES: Although clay figurines appear first in Middle Bronze II, they main generally rare until towards the end of the Late Bronze Age. [12]

Egyptian and egyptianize stone vessels become common in the Late Bronze Age particularly as the local industry develops at sites like Beth Shan. [12] In the Late Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age, a number of well-built square-shaped houses can be cited: Tell Sera', Tell Masos, Beth Shan, Tell Hesi, Gerar, Tell Aphek and Tell el-Farah (S). [12] "The Imitation of Cypriote Wares in Late Bronze Age Palestine," Palestine in the Bronze and Iron Ages. ed. by Jonathan Tubb. (London, 1985), pp. 154-165. [12] Middle Bronze forms continue into the Late Bronze Age, but do change in shape slowly. [12] There is a definite decrease in occupied settlements in the Late Bronze Age from the previous Middle Bronze period. [12] In addition to royal scarabs, many other scarabs of the Late Bronze have expression of luck and goodwill for the bearer, thus suggesting that scarabs were becoming more amuletic in this period than in the previous Middle Bronze Age. [12] Based on correlations of stratigraphy and typological similarities, this variation dates either from the Late Bronze Age, or the transition from the Middle to the Late Bronze Age. [8] Based on carbon dating from Palampouti (1730-1529 B.C.), the above group could chronologically begin during the Middle Bronze Age, continuing to the Late Bronze Age. [8] Middle Bronze fortifications systems were reused in the Late Bronze Age (Hazor, Shechem and Megiddo) without significant changes. [12] There is strong cultural continuity between the Middle and Late Bronze Age. [12] The island of Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean was a major destination for European and Middle Eastern Bronze Age people looking to buy or loot copper. [10] The substitution of copper for bronze occurred between 3500 to 2500 BC in West Asia and Europe, ushering in the Bronze Age. [11] As copper smelting became widespread at the beginning of the Bronze Age, enough copper was released into the air to contaminate ice thousands of miles away. [10] A term like "the Bronze Age" became a very useful label that worked with Stone Age and Iron Age and others, to clearly mark out a stretch of time where humans were at some particular level of social, material, political, and cultural complexity that was reasonably constant over time, until the next "Age" transformed everything again, and a new "plateau" on our "progress" was reached. [9] William Foxwell Albright and others have shown how a simplified syllabary of the Middle Bronze Age eventually was exported to the Greek and Roman worlds by the Phoenicians, northern coastal mariners of the Iron Age ( ANEP, 271 - MB dagger (Lachish), 286 - alphabet, 287 - pseudohieroglyphic script (Byblos)). [12] Other shapes from the end of the Bronze Age include bowls, imitation of imported Aegean forms, lentoid flask (LB tomb at Beth Shemesh, Fosse Temple III Lachish) or amphoriskos, and small ceramic forms including goblets (Deir el-Balah Tombs 114, 118) or juglets. [12] At the end of the Bronze Age, long bone spindles and wands associated with bone whorls are found at a few sites: Lachish Fosse Temple III, Megiddo Tombs. [12] In sites in Palestine, excavations show a slow but steady egyptianization of the culture as more egyptian or egyptianized artifacts appear in the latter half of the Late Bronze Age, and as egyptian practices (e.g. burial practices) become more the fashion. [12] A second important point about the Late Bronze Age concerns the egyptianization of this indigenous culture. [12] It is important to note that there are scant archaeological remains in the first part of the Late Bronze Age. [12] Two major types of arrowheads ( ANEP, 805 - inscribed javelin heads) occur in this period: long, slender arrowheads (most of the Late Bronze Age) and small blunt ones (generally thirteenth century). [12] The Bronze Age is a time period characterized by the use of bronze, proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. [9] Except in the northeast, there was no Bronze Age in Africa, where iron directly displaced the use of stone tools. [13] None of those problems are such that it makes NO sense to use the label "the Bronze Age" it can still be useful and is still used commonly. [9] In regards to raw materials, potters throughout the entire Bronze Age, used the same clay for the making of vessels. [8] Unlike the Bronze Age, light tones of colour (orange red, light brown, ochre brown) dominate the surfaces of vessels, a fact most possibly connected to the firing conditions and the use of different sources of raw materials. [8] In addition to locally made vessels and Aegean imports, one finds Egyptian forms especially at the very end of the Bronze Age. [12] More common in Middle Bronze Age tombs, though, are joints from goats, sheep and cattle. [12] GATES: Gate systems follow the same general plan as those from the Middle Bronze Age. [12] The bronze age brought with it stronger metals but they did not taste any better, so eating with the hands continued in most parts of the world except in east Asia. [14] There was no single "Bronze Age" - but the "Greek Bronze Age" or the "East Asian Iron Age" (random, not accurately labelled, examples). [9] Map of central Epirus with the Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age sites (source: author’s archive). [8] The Bronze Age in any given place is considered to have come to an end when the generalization of iron brought on the beginning of the Iron Age, an equally problematic term. [13] Why did the bronze age come before the iron age? Bronze is a complicated alloy. [9] As Albright and others may have rightly noted, Palestine proper remained generally loyal to Egypt throughout the Late Bronze Age, while Upper Retenu, modern Syria, did not. [12] Imports from Syria and the Aegean world are together a definable trait of the Late Bronze Age ceramics. [12] A major innovation in the Late Bronze Age is that the entire blade and handle are cast together. [12] A handmade long stemmed cup (kylix) featuring very strong standardization, makes its appearance at the end of the Late Bronze Age. [8] Other unusual knives can be cited exclusively from the Late Bronze Age. [12] Jewelry styles increase prodigiously in the Late Bronze Age. [12] Technically it belonged to a type of ceramics that local potters could produce simultaneously with other categories of the Late Bronze Age. [8] They coexisted with those having plastic decoration, in all domestic assemblages of the Late Bronze Age in Central Epirus, the one type complementing the other ( note 7 ). [8] Andreou (1994, 235) mentions the discovery of remains of a Late Bronze Age ceramic kiln, in the region of Glava in Kato Meropi, Pogoni. [8] The two ceramic categories from the Bronze Age continued to be produced and used. [8] The Canaanites, or Bronze Age inhabitants, made a number of lasting contributions to ancient and modern society, such as specialized storage jars for the transportation of oil and wine, and musical instruments like the castenet. [12] Towards the end of the Bronze Age, designs on cylinder seals become more and more influenced by the nature of other signet items like the scarab. [12] BANGLES: Towards the end of the Bronze Age, bronze anklets are found on some adult female skeletons. [12] A different type of incense burner, a lamp with pedestal, is found in Bronze Age level and may be depicted in the hands of an Asiatic on the walls of the Temple of Medinet Habu ( ANEP, 346). [12] The Bronze Age is characterized by the use of bronze in many different regions. [9] The collection is useful far beyond documenting just the use of ivory in the Bronze Age. [12] In a way if you observe deeply life at that time hinged around bronze and hence it is referred as Bronze age. [9] The fact that no Bronze Age architectural remains came to light in the eastern part of the Dodoni Sanctuary, further strengthens the view that perhaps some outdoor sanctuary functioned in the area. [8] Lachish IV: The Bronze Age. (London, 1958), pp. 131-132 (non-sensical hieroglyphic inscription on coffin), 248-249, Pls 45-46. [12] Lachish IV: The Bronze Age. (London, 1958), Pl. 25:15 (mulberry earring), 25:44 (tab earring). [12] Lachish IV: The Bronze Age. (London, 1958), p.82, Pl.25:13 (with looped band). [12] Lachish IV: Bronze Age. (London, 1958), p.90, Pl. 28:24-26. [12]

After a long while, bronze (an alloy of copper and tin) was found to be far superior to stone as weapons of war particularly, but also for hunting, etc. So we entered the "Bronze Age" and society grew concomitantly more complex. [9] Peaks in copper concentrations in ice layers correspond to the era of the Roman Empire, the height of the Sung dynasty in China (c. 900-1100 AD), and the Industrial Revolution, with decreased concentrations found in ice deposited immediately after the fall of the Roman Empire and during the later Middle Ages of Europe, when copper and bronze use was lower. [10] In most parts of the world, the use of iron largely displaced the prior use of bronze, and hence the "Iron Age" succeeded the "Bronze Age." [13] I do not know this for fact, but I suspect there were several instances of a "Bronze Age" overlapping an "Iron Age" among the same same people at the same time. [9] The terminology naturally implies that you should be able to draw a start and end line on a timeline and label it "Bronze Age" and it just applies to all people everywhere. [9] The "Bronze Age" was literally the period in which tools made of bronze were the height of technology. [9] The term "Bronze Age" refers to those periods around the world in which bronze was in general use. [13] It is differentiated from the "Stone Age" because bronze is more durable and repairable than stone, and can be worked into more detailed and task-specific forms. [9] Most probably, a form of outdoor worship ( note 8 ) was practiced in the eastern part of the Dodoni sanctuary during the Late Bronze Age-Early Iron Age. [8] The date of the full Iron Age, in which this metal for the most part replaced bronze in implements and weapons, varied geographically, beginning in the Middle East and southeastern Europe about 1200 bce but in China not until about 600 bce. [15] This meeting of humans and metals would be the first step out of the Stone Age and into the ages of metals: the Bronze and Iron Ages. [10] The chalice, found in the Temple of VII, is dated to just the Late Bronze and early Iron Age. [12] …of the Copper, Bronze, and Iron ages but these were gradual changes initiated and managed largely internally and at a rate dictated from within. [15] Other evidence supporting these identification include iconography from cylinder seals ( ANEP, 468), Middle Bronze statuary from Ras Shamra (ancient Ugarit) in northern Syria, and later Iron Age votive stela from Syria ( ANEP, 825 - bronze figurine, Shechem Field VII, 831 - seated bronze figurine, Hazor, Area A, Loc 230d, A 5456, 832 - figurine of bull with dowels, Hazor, H58, Loc 2113, St IA, 836 - seated bronze figurine, Hazor H127, Loc 2113, St. IA). [12] This practice of jar burials especially for infants and small children can be cited from the Middle Bronze and Iron Age as well. [12] Iron Age, final technological and cultural stage in the Stone - Bronze -Iron-Age sequence. [15] Animal models prove rarer in the Bronze than in the Iron Age. [12]

Utensils and other practical stuff: With bronze, our ancestors could make cups and other utensils that lasted long. [9] T he stone age equivalent of Jamie Oliver and Mary Berry were handicapped by the lack of cooking utensils, and also ate with their hands. [14]

Remains in big pots were not found in Oakaie region utensils such as earthen pots, plates and bowls were buried along with seven human fossil bones like other Bronze Age and Iron Age. [16] "The Harappans are referred to as a Bronze Age culture," writes Vasant Shinde, "and they used copper and bronze to manufacture axes, adzes, knives, fish hooks, chisels, pots and pans and jewelry in form of bangles, beads, or diadem strips. [17] A complete Bronze Age sword (top) with hilt and leaf-shaped blade (c.1100BC), and a large bronze spearhead (bottom) from 700BC. These Bronze Age socketed axes were used as both domestic tools and close-quarter combat weapons. [18] Towards the end of the Neolithic era, copper metallurgy is introduced, which marks a transition period to the Bronze Age. [19] Distinctive flint swords have been found from this date in Denmark and northern Europe, including riveted bronze swords with triangular blades from the early Bronze Age. [18] Further specialization of knives occurred throughout the Middle East and spread among the Celts of central and northern Europe in the Bronze Age. [20] Another important military innovation of the Bronze Age Mesopotamian armies in the Middle East, and one that would have an enormous impact on future battlefield warfare, was the introduction of the socketed axe. [18] "Mad Men" meets the Bronze Age with this tool kit to help set up your home bar, so you can shake yourself a martini with all the panache of Don Draper and the brute force of a Galician warrior. [21] The Chinese Bronze Age lasted from the 16th Century B.C. to approximately the beginning of the modern era. [22]

In time, bronze became the primary material for tools and weapons, and a good part of the stone technology became obsolete, signalling the end of the Neolithic and thus, of the Stone Age. [19] Bronze is much stronger than copper, so it was used primarily for making weapons, tools for agriculture and domestic utensils. [23]


The Bronze Age, when the great mass of implements were manufactured of a compound metal, consisting of about nine parts of copper and one part of tin. [24] The fact that there war. in Europe, Asia, or Africa no copper or tin age prior to the Bronze Age, is conclusive testimony that the manufacture of bronze was an importation into those continents from some foreign country. [24] As we find but a small development of the Bronze Age in America, it is reasonable to suppose that there must have been some intermediate station between America and Europe, where, during a long period of time, the Bronze Age was developed out of the Copper Age, and immense quantities of bronze implements were manufactured and carried to Europe. [24] The fact that in America alone of all the world is found the Copper Age, which must necessarily have preceded the Bronze Age, teaches us to look to the westward of Europe and beyond the sea for that foreign country. [24]

In contrast to the farm implements found at Israelite sites, an important collection of 11th century iron objects, including three daggers and five knives, has been found at Tel Zeror, a site with strong Cypriot connections in the Late Bronze Age. [25] Again, this occurs at Cypriot sites, such as Kition, that maintained strong elements of continuity with the culture of the Late Bronze Age, and at sites in the southwestern part of the island that witnessed the first arrival of the Greek colonists. [25] Surely them ost surprising and possibly the most significant result achieved from two seasons of digging at Tell es-Sa'idiyeh was the discovery that there had been a sophisticated and cosmopolitan culture at the site during the Late Bronze Age. [26]

We even have examples of an iron bezel in a gold ring from Late Bronze Age Greece. [25] These "chariots of iron" must be regarded as a poetical and psychological description of the latest in military hardware, combining chariots, the most formidable aspect of all Late Bronze Age armies, with iron, the latest addition to the military arsenal and a metal that was just starting to make its impact upon the military world of the Early Iron Age. [25] For the past five years Professors Robert Maddin and Tamara Stech and I (all colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania) have been working together on a detailed program involving the scientific study of early metal artifacts throughout the eastern Mediterranean, concentrating on objects that could be dated within the limits of the crucial transition period from 1200 to 900 B.C. (from the end of the Bronze Age to the full Iron Age). [25] Bronze Age of Europe were the people described by Plato, who were workers in metal, who were highly civilized, who preceded in time all the nations which wecall ancient. [24] Arrival of Bronze Age (3000-700 BC) finally enabled the metalworkers to forge crude versions of metal knives from copper and bronze. [27] The Bronze Age, beginning in about 3200 B.C., witnessed the introduction of an alloy known as bronze, consisting of about 90 percent copper and 10 percent tin. [25] After the Copper (Chalcolithic) Age came the Bronze Age, followed later by the Iron Age. [28] We find many similarities in forms of implements between the Bronze Age of Europe and the Copper Age of America. [24] Professor Foster calls attention to the striking resemblance in the designs of these two widely separated works of art, one belonging to the Bronze Age of Europe, the other to the Copper Age of America. [24] Compare this picture of a copper axe from a mound near Laporte, Indiana, with this representation of a copper axe of the Bronze Age, found near Waterford, Ireland. [24] He wrote about the bronze weapons found on the ground not from excavations, so the period of the Myanmar Bronze Age and the culture in that period cannot be described firmly. [16]

The combination suggests a certain continuity between bronze and iron cultures and supports the contention that iron technology developed in areas where Bronze Age culture, including a bronze metalworking industry, survived. [25] Three more excavations revealed a lot of anthropoid fossils including cadavers, bronze tools and weapons, partially depicting a Myanmar Bronze Age culture. [16] B. Pritchard,.James"A Cosmopolitan Culture of the Late Bronze Age" Expedition Magazine 7.4 (1965): n. pag. [26] The Late Bronze Age, until the very end, had been a time of prosperity and extensive international trade. [25] Therefore excavations on the Bronze Age and the Iron Age should continue so that prehistoric times in Myanmar could be vividly described. [16] The Bronze Age and Iron Age in the Oakaie village The culture of the Bronze Age is culturally by that of the iron Age. [16] Whenever excavations on a place where the Bronze Age and iron Age flourished were carried out, mussels were usually found. [16] During the Bronze Age, according to the most recent scholarship, the tin used in Middle Eastern bronze came all the way from Afghanistan. [25] The Bronze Age I extends from about 3200 B.C. to 1200 B.C.a Thereafter it is the Iron Age.b This is some indication of the enormous importance (as well as the date generally) of the discovery of iron technology in the eastern Mediterranean. [25] The village blacksmith standing at his forge before an anvil, holding a lump or bar of red-hot iron in a pair of tongs, was a metalworking scene unknown to the inhabitants of the Bronze Age world. [25] The development of iron metallurgy occurred in areas where a surviving tradition of Bronze Age metalworking was combined with an ability to respond to the new pressures of a difficult, even hostile environment. [25] From the viewpoint of Bronze Age technology, these vast iron deposits were relatively worthless. [25] Usually at a Later Bronze Age period site you get pits, post-holes and maybe one or two really exciting metal finds. [29] For the 2,000 years of the Bronze Age (3200-1200 B.C.) bronze was the predominant metal in the ancient world. [25] I give some illustrations on pages 239 and 242 of ornaments and implements of the Bronze Age, which may serve to throw light upon the habits of the ancient people. [24] One has learned to expect something more than provincial artifacts at ancient cities along the seacoast within easy reach of Bronze Age ships and on the major caravan routes of Palestine but it is a surprise to find a truly cosmopolitan culture deep in the Jordan Valley, separated from the obvious trade routes by the barriers of a high mountain range and a river. [26] An essentially Bronze Age culture continued to survive in the Aegean at a number of sites--the Ionian islands, the southeastern part of the Greek mainland (eastern Attica and Euboea), and in some of the larger islands such as Crete, Rhodes and Naxos. [25] These excavations revealed a lot of evidences about the Myanmar Bronze Age in Nyaungkan Villagetwo earthen smoking pipes, four bronze axes, five perforated beads, 23 slender-shaped beads, five bronze bayonets, six bronze arrows, five broken urns with designs and many others these Bronze Age exhibits were donated on 22 March, 1998 to the Ministry of Culture to be displayed at the National Museum. [16] Then the landowner U Chit Hlaing donated the land plot to the State, with demarcation of Cultural Zone for Nyaungkan Bronze Age by the Ministry of Culture. [16] Therefore the Oakaie village was assumed as the place where the culture of the Bronze Age once flourished as in the Nyaungkan village. [16] There were, of course, areas where Bronze Age culture, including metalworking, survived, but this was the exception, not the rule. [25] It has been customary to assume that the Bronze Age was due to the Phnicians, but of late the highest authorities have taken issue with this opinion. [24] With the evidence for the high level of sophistication of the Late Bronze Age city there was a reminder of an unhappier side of community life. [26] At the end of the Late Bronze Age, there was a worldwide upheaval of destructions, invasions and migrations. [25] These destructions marked the end of the great empires of the Late Bronze Age and of the palace economies that developed around the urban centers associated with these empires. [25] Late Bronze Age levels of excavations, wherever they are located, characteristically uncover substantial quantities of "imported" pottery, frequently painted and decorated. [25] All this came to an end in the waning years of the Late Bronze Age. [25] The archaeological evidence also indicates some degree of continuity, perhaps even the survival of metalworking traditions, from the more sophisticated world of the Late Bronze Age. [25] In other Bronze Age and iron Age, the remains of the babies were put in big pots before burial the lids of these pots were in touch with an opposite position. [16] Cultural evidences of Oakaie region Neolithic Age and the Bronze Age could be compared to those of the other Bronze Age and the Iron Age. [16] Modern historians divide the roughly 3,000 year-period beginning approximately 3200 B.C. into two major segments--the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. [25] Many bronze casting molds have been found throughout the Bronze Age world, often matching the surviving objects cast from them. [25] The cut below it represents the only implement of the Bronze Age yet found containing an inscription. [24] Myanmar Archaeology Department started recent excavations in 1904 and no evidences of the Bronze Age were found up until 1998. [16] Pieces of the Bronze Age artifacts were found on the farmland of U Phyu who lived in the north side of Oakaie village, about two miles away from Nyaungkan village. [16] We find a great resemblance between the pottery of the Bronze Age in Europe and the pottery of the ancient inhabitants of America. [24] A favorite design of the men of the Bronze Age in Europe is the spiral or double-spiral form. [24] In the next place, the form of burial is different in the Bronze Age from that of the Phnicians. [24] Luckily, unlike most burial caves throughout the country, the Holyland caves were not broken into or raided prior to the scholars' arrival, allowing them to find many whole items that shed light on life and death in Jerusalem during the Bronze Age. [30] The indications are that the Bronze Age represents the coming in of a new people--a civilized people. [24] The fact that the implements of the Bronze Age came from some common centre, and did not originate independently in different countries, is proved by the striking similarity which exists between the bronze implements of regions as widely separated as Switzerland, Ireland, Denmark, and Africa. [24] It is possible that in this ancient relic of the Bronze Age we have a representation of themagnetic cup. [24] Sir John Lubbock ( Ibid., p. 73) gives the following reasons why the Phnicians could not have been the authors of the Bronze Age: First, the ornamentation is different. [24]

An age when iron superseded bronze for weapons and cutting tools, although bronze still remained in use for ornaments. [24] It will be the province of the historian to inquire whether, exclusive of Phnicians and Carthaginians, there may not have been some maritime and commercial people who carried on a traffic through the ports of Liguria with the populations of the age of bronze of the lakes of Italy before the discovery of iron. [24] It was this people who passed through an age of copper before they reached the age of bronze, and whose colonies in America represented this older form of metallurgy as it existed for many generations. [24] In America, from Bolivia to Lake Superior, we find everywhere the traces of a long-enduring Copper Age bronze existed, it is true, in Mexico, but it held the same relation to the copper as the copper held to the bronze in Europe--it was the exception as against the rule. [24] Once these ancient smiths learned that iron subjected to the elaborate heat-treatment of carburization, quenching and tempering was far superior to bronze, a new age was ushered in. [25] It is not to be supposed that any overland communication existed in that early age between these countries and the coincidence of design which we find to exist can only be accounted for by the fact that the articles of bronze were obtained from some sea-going people, who carried on a commerce at the same time with all these regions. [24] Bronze of course continued to be used in the Iron Age, especially for purposes for which iron was unsatisfactory. [25]

Larger objects were sometimes cast in the sand, rather than in molds, as we know from the Bible passage describing Hiram’s manufacture of the bronze utensils to be used in Solomon’s Temple. [25] Initially, bronze was easier to make using native copper and tin and was ideal for the manufacture of utensils. [28]

With the arrival of Middle Ages in Europe, wooden and metal spoons became commonplace and since then they became the integral part of modern eating utensils. [27]

Copper tools and ornaments were used in the Americas without the people ever discovering how to produce bronze. [5] Metal objects made of bronze were used as domestic tools and for war. [3] Bronze tools and weapons, often interchangeable, included axes, swords, knives, daggers, spearheads, razors, gouges, helmets, cauldrons, buckets, horns and many other useful objects. [3] For many people of the time, the true significance of bronze came in the form of new tools that transformed their daily lives. [4] It would be millennia, though, until bronze could be used by common soldiers and townsfolk, and for a long time they were luxury items used by nobility. [5] Rulers used bronze cauldrons, cups, drinking vessels, and other containers to present offerings of food and wine to royal ancestors and deities. [6] The four Shang bronzes on the postcards weigh as follows: the rectangular food cauldron, 181 lbs. the square wine vessel with rams, 75 lbs. the elephant, 6 lbs. and the covered wine vessel, about 23 lbs. [6] Bronze cookware generally took the form of deep vessels, including the intriguing tripod shape found across the world. [4] A lot of ancient bronze artifacts are cooking vessels, generally in the shape of a pot. [4] Although the spiral patterns, the taotie masks, and dragon designs resemble Shang bronzes, later Zhou bronzes display patterns that are more open and flowing, the animals are less abstract, and the vessels are made in new shapes. [6]

Iron, unlike bronze, did not have to be alloyed (combined) with another metal. [5] Besides the bronzes, there are jade pieces and one iron object a belt buckle. (Iron did not appear in China until the 5th century B.C.) [6] Until it was discovered that iron could be alloyed with carbon to make steel, iron remained only equivalent to bronze, if not inferior. [5]

New bronze, being largely copper, is shiny like a copper penny, only slightly more yellow. [6] The legend of the founding of China's first dynasty demonstrates the importance of bronze to the ancient Chinese: After King Yu of the Xia brought the primordial floods under control, in about 2200 B.C., he divided his land into nine provinces, and had nine ding (food cauldrons) cast to represent them. [6] The decorations of early Chinese bronzes was executed directly into the model or modeled and cast into the bronze, not worked into the cold metal afterward. [6] Metal permitted longer, more resilient blades, so the bronze sword evolved from the stone dagger. [3] As a metal, bronze conducts heat very well and makes for more efficient cooking. [4]

A noble wearing bronze armor was basically impervious to the stone tools of the times, and his bronze sword kept its edge and shattered the older stone-based weapons. [5] A bronze loop for lashing the ax to the shaft improved not only weapon use but the utility of the ax as a spade, a crowbar and a pickaxe. [3] The use of bronze represented a significant change to a culture. [3] The tin that was needed to make the bronze became hard to find and often unavailable to some cultures. [5]

We owe the preservation of these ancient bronzes to their burial, either in storage pits, where they were hastily hidden by fleeing members of a defeated elite house, or, more commonly, in tombs. [6] In the tombs of kings and nobles they found magnificent bronzes, fine grey pottery, marble figures of animals and jade carvings. [6] From inscriptions on the nearly 200 bronzes packed in the tomb archaeologists identified the occupant as Fu Hao. [6]

A close inspection of the 5th century B.C. bronze wine vessel nearby (#91 in the exhibition) reveals lively inlaid figures dancing, playing musical instruments and battling on land and water. [6] Once the bronze had cooled, the mold was removed and the surface of the vessel burnished smooth. [6]

Axes, or celts, made of bronze were used for such practical pursuits as chopping down trees and trimming logs into lumber. [3] In Greece, bronze tripod-cauldrons were actually awarded as prizes in athletic competitions, so they were status items as well as tools. [4] When bronze has been buried a long time, it reacts to the minerals in the ground. [6] When humans invented bronze, it led to the development of new weapons and strategies of war. [4] During the Shang dynasty, members of the royalty were accompanied in the afterlife by their bronzes, ceramics, weapons, amulets, and ornaments, and even the human and animal entourage that surrounded them in life: servants, bodyguards, horses, chariots, and charioteers. [6] Weapons included tens of thousands of bronze arrowheads, axes, spears, crossbows with bronze triggers, lances and swords. [3] China's bronze ritual bowls and weapons show advanced degrees of artistry. [3]

Use a magnifying glass to study the four bronzes on the postcards. [6] The production of bronze therefore depended on the ability to trade for the part you were lacking. [5] The first long gallery of the exhibition contains Shang ritual bronze containers, two bronze axes, an enormous bell and a bronze drum. [6] At the far end of the first gallery is an alcove where seven jade carvings and six bronzes belonging to Fu Hao are displayed. [6]

The lure of military might was irresistible and, at the death of Emperor Qin Shi Huang in 210 BC, the more than 7,000 life-size terracotta warriors buried with him in Xi'an, were each outfitted with full bronze battle gear. [3] Love this set of flatware for the bronze color and simple shape. [31] In Ireland, caches of bronze objects have been unearthed in "hoards," the funerary stockpiling of grave goods that accompanied a great warrior, ruler or prominent person into final repose. [3] There were also more than 200 bronze weapons and tools, 600 small sculptures and ritual objects of jade and stone, ivory cups inlaid with turquoise, several bronze mirrors, 500 carved bone objects and about 7,000 cowrie shells, which were used for money. [6]

These ages were first used as classifications for dating artifacts found in Europe. [5] The Middle Ages, despite having a reputation for darkness, was a pretty bright time in terms of kitchenalia. [2]

During the later years of the Stone Age (sometimes called the Neolithic Period), copper was smelted ("melted" out of ore by heating it in a fire) Copper, along with silver and gold, was used mostly for ornamental purposes (it is a softer metal compared to stone tools and not as suitable for tools/weapons). [5] Sometimes a separate Copper Age (or Chalcolithic Age) is referred to as separate from the Stone Age. [5]

Fiona Gale, the county archaeologist for Denbighshire, said that the limestone tools and other evidence from the CRAG excavations show that there were people living in the area much earlier than the Iron Age, when the hill forts were built. [7] Brooks explained that all of the mysterious stone tools were found at the bottom of what would have been a stream around 4,500 years ago, on a plateau northeast of the Moel Arthur hill fort -- one of six hill forts in the Clwydian Range thought to have been built around 800 B.C., during the Iron Age in Britain. [7]

Ancient societies developed a wide range of bronze vessels for cooking and storing food, but there are a few common forms that can be found around the world. [4] From the first simple wine cup one of the earliest Chinese bronze vessels yet known to the extraordinary life-sized terracotta figures buried with the First Emperor of Qin, this exhibition features discoveries that have fundamentally changed our knowledge of ancient Chinese history and art. [6] At the entrance to the exhibition is a wine cup made in the 17th century B.C. which is one of the earliest known Chinese bronze vessels. [6]

During the Shang dynasty bronze vessels were the symbol of royalty, just as the gold crown became the symbol of royalty in Europe. [6] Possession of bronze vessels thus became a symbol for the holding of power and prestige. [6]

Bronze's composition of 90 percent copper and 10 percent tin was really strong and could be polished into a golden sheen that resembled an artifact of real gold. [3]

RANKED SELECTED SOURCES(33 source documents arranged by frequency of occurrence in the above report)