Bronze Age

Bronze Age

Overview
The Bronze Age is a period
Periodization
Periodization is the attempt to categorize or divide time into named blocks. The result is a descriptive abstraction that provides a useful handle on periods of time with relatively stable characteristics...

 characterized by the use of copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

 and its alloy bronze
Bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

 as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age
Stone Age
The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric period, lasting about 2.5 million years , during which humans and their predecessor species in the genus Homo, as well as the earlier partly contemporary genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus, widely used exclusively stone as their hard material in the...

 and Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

. The term Stone Age implies the inability to smelt any ore
Ore
An ore is a type of rock that contains minerals with important elements including metals. The ores are extracted through mining; these are then refined to extract the valuable element....

, the term Bronze Age implies the inability to smelt iron
Iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

 ore and the term Iron Age implies the ability to manufacture artifacts in any of the three types of hard material.
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Encyclopedia
The Bronze Age is a period
Periodization
Periodization is the attempt to categorize or divide time into named blocks. The result is a descriptive abstraction that provides a useful handle on periods of time with relatively stable characteristics...

 characterized by the use of copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

 and its alloy bronze
Bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

 as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age
Stone Age
The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric period, lasting about 2.5 million years , during which humans and their predecessor species in the genus Homo, as well as the earlier partly contemporary genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus, widely used exclusively stone as their hard material in the...

 and Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

. The term Stone Age implies the inability to smelt any ore
Ore
An ore is a type of rock that contains minerals with important elements including metals. The ores are extracted through mining; these are then refined to extract the valuable element....

, the term Bronze Age implies the inability to smelt iron
Iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

 ore and the term Iron Age implies the ability to manufacture artifacts in any of the three types of hard material. Their arrangement in the archaeological
Archaeology
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

 chronology reflects the difficulty of manufacture in the history of technology.

During the past few centuries of detailed, scientific study of the Bronze Age, it became clear that on the whole the use of copper or bronze was only the most stable and therefore the most diagnostic part of a cluster of features marking the period. In addition to the creation of bronze from raw materials and the widespread use of bronze tools and weapons, the period continued development of pictogram
Pictogram
A pictograph, also called pictogram or pictogramme is an ideogram that conveys its meaning through its pictorial resemblance to a physical object. Pictographs are often used in writing and graphic systems in which the characters are to considerable extent pictorial in appearance.Pictography is a...

ic or ideogram
Ideogram
An ideogram or ideograph is a graphic symbol that represents an idea or concept. Some ideograms are comprehensible only by familiarity with prior convention; others convey their meaning through pictorial resemblance to a physical object, and thus may also be referred to as pictograms.Examples of...

ic symbols and proto-writing and other features of urban civilization
Civilization
Civilization is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human cultures that are complex in terms of technology, science, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally...

.

The Bronze Age is the 2nd principal period of the three-age system
Three-age system
The three-age system in archaeology and physical anthropology is the periodization of human prehistory into three consecutive time periods, named for their respective tool-making technologies:* The Stone Age* The Bronze Age* The Iron Age-Origin:...

 as proposed in modern times by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen
Christian Jürgensen Thomsen
Christian Jürgensen Thomsen was a Danish archaeologist.In 1816 he was appointed head of 'antiquarian' collections which later developed into the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. While organizing and classifying the antiquities for exhibition, he decided to present them chronologically...

 for classifying and studying ancient societies. A region could be in the Bronze Age either by smelting its own copper and alloying with tin
Tin
Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn and atomic number 50. It is a main group metal in group 14 of the periodic table. Tin shows chemical similarity to both neighboring group 14 elements, germanium and lead and has two possible oxidation states, +2 and the slightly more stable +4...

 or by trading for bronze from production areas elsewhere. Copper/tin ores are rare, as reflected in the fact that there were no tin bronzes in western Asia before the third millennium BCE. Worldwide, the Bronze Age generally followed the Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 period, but in some parts of the world, a Copper Age
Copper Age
The Chalcolithic |stone]]") period or Copper Age, also known as the Eneolithic/Æneolithic , is a phase of the Bronze Age in which the addition of tin to copper to form bronze during smelting remained yet unknown by the metallurgists of the times...

 served as a transition from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age. Although the Iron Age generally followed the Bronze Age, in some areas such as sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. A political definition of Sub-Saharan Africa, instead, covers all African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara...

, the Iron Age intruded directly on the Neolithic from outside the region.

A difference between some of the Bronze Age cultures was the development of the first writings
History of writing
The history of writing records the development of expressing language by letters or other marks. In the history of how systems of representation of language through graphic means have evolved in different human civilizations, more complete writing systems were preceded by proto-writing, systems of...

. Cultures in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 (hieroglyphs
Hieroglyphs
Hieroglyph or hieroglyphics may refer to:*Anatolian hieroglyphs*Chinese character*Cretan hieroglyphs*Cursive hieroglyphs*Dongba script*Egyptian hieroglyphs*Hieroglyphic Luwian*Mayan hieroglyphs...

), the Near East
Near East
The Near East is a geographical term that covers different countries for geographers, archeologists, and historians, on the one hand, and for political scientists, economists, and journalists, on the other...

 (cuneiform
Cuneiform
Cuneiform can refer to:*Cuneiform script, an ancient writing system originating in Mesopotamia in the 4th millennium BC*Cuneiform , three bones in the human foot*Cuneiform Records, a music record label...

), but also in the Mediterranean, with the Mycenaean culture (Linear B
Linear B
Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, an early form of Greek. It pre-dated the Greek alphabet by several centuries and seems to have died out with the fall of Mycenaean civilization...

), had viable systems of written communication. The archaeological findings are evidence of the first written sources.

History


The term "Bronze Age" is ultimately derived from the "Ages of Man
Ages of Man
The Ages of Man are the stages of human existence on the Earth according to Greek mythology. Two classical authors in particular offer accounts of the successive ages of mankind, which tend to progress from an original, long-gone age in which humans enjoyed a nearly divine existence to the current...

", the stages of human existence on the Earth according to Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

. Of these, the Golden Age
Golden Age
The term Golden Age comes from Greek mythology and legend and refers to the first in a sequence of four or five Ages of Man, in which the Golden Age is first, followed in sequence, by the Silver, Bronze, and Iron Ages, and then the present, a period of decline...

 and Silver Age
Silver age
A silver age is a name often given to a particular period within a history, typically as a lesser and later successor to a golden age, the metal silver generally being valuable, but less so than gold.-Greek myth:...

 are categorized by modern historians as mythical, but the Bronze Age as well as the Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

 are conceived as having a nucleus of historical validity. The overall period is characterized by the full adoption of bronze in many regions, though the place and time of the introduction and development of bronze technology is not universally synchronous. Man-made tin bronze technology requires set production techniques. Tin must be mined (mainly as the tin ore cassiterite
Cassiterite
Cassiterite is a tin oxide mineral, SnO2. It is generally opaque, but it is translucent in thin crystals. Its luster and multiple crystal faces produce a desirable gem...

) and smelted separately, then added to molten copper to make the bronze alloy. The Bronze Age was a time of heavy use of metals and of developing trade networks (See Tin sources and trade in ancient times
Tin sources and trade in ancient times
Tin is an essential metal in the creation of tin bronzes and its acquisition has been an important part of Bronze Age and later cultures throughout ancient history. Its use began in the Near East and the Balkans around 3000 BC...

).

Near East


Southeast Asia / Middle East
The Bronze Age in the ancient Near East
Ancient Near East
The ancient Near East was the home of early civilizations within a region roughly corresponding to the modern Middle East: Mesopotamia , ancient Egypt, ancient Iran The ancient Near East was the home of early civilizations within a region roughly corresponding to the modern Middle East: Mesopotamia...

 began with the rise of Sumer
Sumer
Sumer was a civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age....

 in the 4th millennium BC. The Ancient Near East is considered by some as the cradle of civilization
Cradle of Civilization
The cradle of civilization is a term referring to any of the possible locations for the emergence of civilization.It is usually applied to the Ancient Near Eastern Chalcolithic , especially in the Fertile Crescent , but also extended to sites in Armenia, and the Persian Plateau, besides other Asian...

 and practised intensive year-round agriculture, developed a writing system, invented the potter's wheel, created a centralized government, law codes, and empires, and introduced social stratification, slavery, and organized warfare. Societies in the region laid the foundations for astronomy and mathematics.

Age sub-divisions


The Ancient Near East Bronze Age can be divided as follows:


Near East Bronze Age Divisions

The archetypal Bronze Age divisions of the Near East has a well-established triadic clearness of expression. The period dates and phase ranges are solely applicable to the Near East, because it is not applicable universally.

Early Bronze Age (EBA)
3300 - 2100 BC
3300 - 3000 : EBA I
3000 - 2700 : EBA II
2700 - 2200 : EBA III
2200 - 2100 : EBA IV


Middle Bronze Age (MBA)
Also, Intermediate Bronze Age (IBA)

2100 - 1550 BC
2100 - 2000 : MBA I
2000 - 1750 : MBA II A
1750 - 1650 : MBA II B
1650 - 1550 : MBA II C


Late Bronze Age (LBA)
1550 - 1200 BC
1550 - 1400 : LBA I
1400 - 1300 : LBA II A
1300 - 1200 : LBA II B (Bronze Age collapse
Bronze Age collapse
The Bronze Age collapse is a transition in southwestern Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean from the Late Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age that some historians believe was violent, sudden and culturally disruptive...

)

Mesopotamia



In Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

, the Mesopotamia Bronze Age begins in about 2900 BC and ends with the Kassite
Kassites
The Kassites were an ancient Near Eastern people who gained control of Babylonia after the fall of the Old Babylonian Empire after ca. 1531 BC to ca. 1155 BC...

 period. The usual tripartite division into an Early, Middle and Late Bronze Age is not used. Instead, a division primarily based on art-historical and historical characteristics is more common. The cities of the Ancient Near East
Cities of the ancient Near East
The largest cities in the Bronze Age ancient Near East housed several tens of thousands. Memphis in the Early Bronze Age with some 30,000 inhabitants was the largest city of the time by far...

 housed several tens of thousands of people. Ur
Ur
Ur was an important city-state in ancient Sumer located at the site of modern Tell el-Muqayyar in Iraq's Dhi Qar Governorate...

 in the Middle Bronze Age and Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 in the Late Bronze Age similarly had large populations.

The earliest mention of Babylonia
Babylonia
Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia , with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as a major power when Hammurabi Babylonia was an ancient cultural region in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged as...

 can be found in a tablet from the reign of Sargon of Akkad
Sargon of Akkad
Sargon of Akkad, also known as Sargon the Great "the Great King" , was an Akkadian emperor famous for his conquest of the Sumerian city-states in the 23rd and 22nd centuries BC. The founder of the Dynasty of Akkad, Sargon reigned in the last quarter of the third millennium BC...

, dating back to the 23rd century BC. The Amorite dynasty
Amorite
Amorite refers to an ancient Semitic people who occupied large parts of Mesopotamia from the 21st Century BC...

 established the city-state of Babylon in the 19th century BC; over 100 years later it briefly took over the others and formed the first Babylonian empire, during what is also called the Old Babylonian Period
First Babylonian Dynasty
The chronology of the first dynasty of Babylonia is debated as there is a Babylonian King List A and a Babylonian King List B. In this chronology, the regnal years of List A are used due to their wide usage...

. Babylonia adopted the written Semitic Akkadian language for official use. The Sumerian language by that time was no longer a spoken language, but it was still in religious use. The Akkadian and Sumer
Sumer
Sumer was a civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age....

ian traditions played a major role in later Babylonian culture, and the region would remain an important cultural center, even under outside rule, throughout the Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age.

Persian Plateau

Persian Bronze Age


Elam
Elam
Elam was an ancient civilization located in what is now southwest Iran. Elam was centered in the far west and the southwest of modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of Khuzestan and Ilam Province, as well as a small part of southern Iraq...

 was an ancient civilization located to the east of Mesopotamia. In the Old Elamite period (Middle Bronze Age), Elam consisted of kingdoms on the Iranian plateau
Iranian plateau
The Iranian plateau, or Iranic plateau, is a geological formation in Southwest Asia. It is the part of the Eurasian Plate wedged between the Arabian and Indian plates, situated between the Zagros mountains to the west, the Caspian Sea and the Kopet Dag to the north, the Hormuz Strait and Persian...

, centered in Anshan
Anshan (Persia)
Anshan - History :Before 1973, when it was identified as Tall-i Malyan, Anshan had been assumed by scholars to be somewhere in the central Zagros mountain range....

, and from the mid-2nd millennium BC, it was centered in Susa
Susa
Susa was an ancient city of the Elamite, Persian and Parthian empires of Iran. It is located in the lower Zagros Mountains about east of the Tigris River, between the Karkheh and Dez Rivers....

 in the Khuzestan lowlands. Its culture played a crucial role in the Gutian Empire and especially during the Achaemenid dynasty that succeeded it.

The Oxus civilization was a Bronze Age Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

n culture dated to ca. 2300–1700 BC and centered on the upper Amu Darya
Amu Darya
The Amu Darya , also called Oxus and Amu River, is a major river in Central Asia. It is formed by the junction of the Vakhsh and Panj rivers...

 (Oxus). In the Early Bronze Age the culture of the Kopet Dag
Kopet Dag
The Kopet Dag, Kopet Dagh, or Koppeh Dagh , also known as the Turkmen-Khorasan Mountain Range is a mountain range on the frontier between Turkmenistan and Iran, extending about 650 km along the border, east of the Caspian Sea. The highest peak of the range in Turkmenistan is southwest of the...

 oases and Altyn-Depe
Altyn-Depe
' is a Bronze Age site in Turkmenistan, near Aşgabat, inhabited in the 3rd to 2nd millennia BC, abandoned around 1600 BC.Namazga V and Altyndepe were in contact with the Late Harappan culture , and Masson tends to identify the culture as Proto-Dravidian...

 developed a proto-urban society. This corresponds to level IV at Namazga-Depe. Altyn-Depe was a major centre even then. Pottery was wheel-turned. Grapes were grown. The height of this urban development was reached in the Middle Bronze Age c. 2300 BC, corresponding to level V at Namazga-Depe. It is this Bronze Age culture which has been given the BMAC name.

The Kulli culture
Kulli culture
The Kulli culture was a prehistoric culture in southern Balochistan in Pakistan ca. 2500 - 2000 BCE. The pottery and other artifacts are similar to those of the Indus Valley Civilization and it is not clear whether the Kulli culture is a local variation of the Indus Valley Civilization or an own...

, similar to those of the Indus Valley Civilization, was located in southern Balochistan
Balochistan
Balochistan or Baluchistan is a region which covers parts of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. It can also refer to one of several modern and historical territories within that region:...

 (Gedrosia) ca. 2500 - 2000 BC. Agriculture was the economical base of this people. At several places dams were found, providing evidence for a highly developed water management system.

Konar Sandal
Konar Sandal
Konar Sandal is a Bronze Age archaeological site, situated just south of Jiroft, Kermān Province, Iran.It consists of two mounds a few kilometers apart, called Konar Sandal A and B with a height of 13 and 21 meters, respectively...

 is associated with the hypothesized "Jiroft culture", a 3rd millennium BC culture postulated on the basis of a collection of artifacts confiscated in 2001.

Anatolia



The Hittite Empire was established in Hattusa
Hattusa
Hattusa was the capital of the Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age. It was located near modern Boğazkale, Turkey, within the great loop of the Kızıl River ....

 in northern Anatolia from the 18th century BC
18th century BC
The 18th century BCE was the century which lasted from 1800 BCE to 1701 BCE.-Events:*1800 BCE: Iron age in India*1800 BCE: Beginning of the Nordic Bronze Age in the period system devised by Oscar Montelius....

. In the 14th century BC
14th century BC
The 14th century BC is a century which lasted from the year 1400 BC until 1301 BC.-Events:* 1397 BC: Pandion I, legendary King of Athens, dies after a reign of 40 years and is succeeded by his son Erechtheus II of Athens....

, the Hittite Kingdom was at its height, encompassing central Anatolia, southwestern Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 as far as Ugarit
Ugarit
Ugarit was an ancient port city in the eastern Mediterranean at the Ras Shamra headland near Latakia, Syria. It is located near Minet el-Beida in northern Syria. It is some seven miles north of Laodicea ad Mare and approximately fifty miles east of Cyprus...

, and upper Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

. After 1180 BC, amid general turmoil in the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

 associated with the sudden arrival of the Sea Peoples
Sea Peoples
The Sea Peoples were a confederacy of seafaring raiders of the second millennium BC who sailed into the eastern Mediterranean, caused political unrest, and attempted to enter or control Egyptian territory during the late 19th dynasty and especially during year 8 of Ramesses III of the 20th Dynasty...

, the kingdom disintegrated into several independent "Neo-Hittite" city-states, some of which survived until as late as the 8th century BC
8th century BC
The 8th century BC started the first day of 800 BC and ended the last day of 701 BC.-Overview:The 8th century BC was a period of great changes in civilizations. In Egypt, the 23rd and 24th dynasties led to rule from Nubia in the 25th Dynasty...

.

Arzawa
Arzawa
Arzawa in the second half of the second millennium BC was the name of a region and a political entity in Western Anatolia, the core area of which was centered on the Hermos and Maeander river valleys, corresponding with the Late Bronze Age kingdoms of the...

 in Western Anatolia during the second half of the second millennium BC likely extended along southern Anatolia in a belt reaching from near the Turkish Lakes Region all the way to the Aegean
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

 coast. Arzawa
Arzawa
Arzawa in the second half of the second millennium BC was the name of a region and a political entity in Western Anatolia, the core area of which was centered on the Hermos and Maeander river valleys, corresponding with the Late Bronze Age kingdoms of the...

 was the western neighbor, sometimes a rival and sometimes a vassal of the Middle and New Hittite Kingdoms.

The Assuwa league was a confederation of states in western Anatolia, defeated by the Hittites under an earlier Tudhaliya I
Tudhaliya I
Tudhaliya I was a king of the Hittite empire ca. the early 14th century BC .- Identity :...

 around 1400 BC. Arzawa has been associated with the much more obscure Assuwa
Assuwa
The Assuwa league was a confederation of states in western Anatolia, defeated by the Hittites under an earlier Tudhaliya I around 1400 BC. The league formed to oppose the Hittite empire. The list of its members contains 22 names, including [...]uqqa, Warsiya, Taruisa, Wilusiya and Karkija .Some of...

 generally located to its north - it probably bordered it, and may even be an alternative term for it (at least during some periods).

Levant

Mediterranean Bronze Age


Ebla
Ebla
Ebla Idlib Governorate, Syria) was an ancient city about southwest of Aleppo. It was an important city-state in two periods, first in the late third millennium BC, then again between 1800 and 1650 BC....

 experienced an apogee lasting from ca. 1850 to 1600 BC. The first known ruler of Ebla in this period was Megum, an Ensi (governor) for Ur III during the reign of Amar-Sin
Amar-Sin
Amar-Sin was the third ruler of the Ur III Dynasty. He succeeded his father Shulgi .Year-names are known for all 9 years of his reign...

 of Ur. Ibbit-Lim
Ibbit-Lim
The king Ibbit-Lim of Ebla in Syria is represented in a fragmentary basalt bust found in 1968, located now at the Museum in Aleppo, where most of the findings from Ebla are kept. Some are in the local museum of the department of Idlib, where the archaeological site of Ebla lies beneath Tel Mardikh...

 was the first attested king. Ebla is mentioned in texts from Alalakh
Alalakh
Alalakh is the name of an ancient city-state near modern Antakya in the Amuq River valley of Turkey's Hatay Province.Now represented by an extensive mound, the name of the modern archaeological site is Tell Atchana.-History:...

 from ca. 1750 BC. The city was destroyed again in the turbulent period of 1650–1600 BC, by a Hittite king (Mursili I
Mursili I
Mursili I was a king of the Hittites ca. 1556–1526 BC , and was likely a grandson of his predecessor, Hattusili I. His sister was Harapšili.- Biography :...

 or Hattusili I
Hattusili I
Hattusili I was a king of the Hittite Old Kingdom. He reigned ca. 1586–1556 BC .He used the title of Labarna at the beginning of his reign...

). This is attested to only by the fragmentary Hurro-Hittite Song of Release.

Amorite kingdoms, ca. 2000–1600 BC, arose in Mari
Mari, Syria
Mari was an ancient Sumerian and Amorite city, located 11 kilometers north-west of the modern town of Abu Kamal on the western bank of Euphrates river, some 120 km southeast of Deir ez-Zor, Syria...

, Yamkhad, Qatna
Qatna
Qatna is an archaeological site in the Wadi il-Aswad, a tributary of the Orontes, 18 km northeast of Homs, Syria. It consists in a tell occupying 1 km², which makes it one of the largest Bronze Age towns in western Syria...

, Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

, Isin
Isin
Isin was an ancient city-state of lower Mesopotamia about 20 miles south of Nippur at the site of modern Ishan al-Bahriyat in Iraq's Al-Qādisiyyah Governorate.-History:...

, Larsa
Larsa
Larsa was an important city of ancient Sumer, the center of the cult of the sun god Utu. It lies some 25 km southeast of Uruk in Iraq's Dhi Qar Governorate, near the east bank of the Shatt-en-Nil canal at the site of the modern settlement Tell as-Senkereh or Sankarah.-History:According to...

, and also Babylon. This era ended in northern Mesopotamia with the expulsion of the Amorite dominated Babylonians from Assyria by King Adasi
Adasi (Assyria)
Adasi was an Assyrian king, the last in a line of 7 usurpers of the Assyrian throne, who reigned from 1720 - 1701 BC after the ejection of the Amorite ruled Babylonians from Assyria. He is credited in the Assyrian King List with stabilising Assyria and freeing it from civil war and Amorite...

 c. 1720 BC, and in the south with the Hittite sack of Babylon (c. 1595 BC) which brought new ethnic groups — particularly Kassites
Kassites
The Kassites were an ancient Near Eastern people who gained control of Babylonia after the fall of the Old Babylonian Empire after ca. 1531 BC to ca. 1155 BC...

 — to the forefront in southern Mesopotamia. From the 15th century BC onward, the term Amurru
Amurru kingdom
Amurru was an Amorite kingdom located at the territory of modern Lebanon during the 14th–12th centuries BCThe first documented leader of Amurru was Abdi-Ashirta, under whose leadership Amurru was part of the Egyptian empire...

 is usually applied to the region extending north of Canaan as far as Kadesh
Kadesh
This article is about Kadesh in the lands of the Amurru, bordering on Damascus Syria up to Hammath; see also Kadesh or Kedesh Kadesh was an ancient city of the Levant, located on or near the headwaters or ford of the Orontes River...

 on the Orontes.

The Mitanni
Mitanni
Mitanni or Hanigalbat was a loosely organized Hurrian-speaking state in northern Syria and south-east Anatolia from ca. 1500 BC–1300 BC...

 was a loosely organized state in northern Syria and south-east Anatolia from ca. 1500 BC–1300 BC. Founded by an Indo-Aryan ruling class governing a predominately Hurrian population, Mitanni came to be a regional power after the Hittite destruction of Kassite Babylon created a power vacuum in Mesopotamia. At the beginning of its history, Mitanni's major rival was Egypt under the Thutmosids. However, with the ascent of the Hittite empire, Mitanni and Egypt made an alliance to protect their mutual interests from the threat of Hittite domination. At the height of its power, during the 14th century BC, it had outposts centered around its capital, Washukanni, whose location has been determined by archaeologists to be on the headwaters of the Khabur River. Eventually, Mitanni succumbed to Hittite and later Assyrian attacks, and was reduced to the status of a province of the Middle Assyrian Empire.

The earliest Ugarit
Ugarit
Ugarit was an ancient port city in the eastern Mediterranean at the Ras Shamra headland near Latakia, Syria. It is located near Minet el-Beida in northern Syria. It is some seven miles north of Laodicea ad Mare and approximately fifty miles east of Cyprus...

 contact with Egypt (and the first exact dating of Ugaritic civilization) comes from a carnelian bead identified with the Middle Kingdom pharaoh Senusret I, 1971 BC–1926 BC. A stela and a statuette from the Egyptian pharaohs Senusret III and Amenemhet III have also been found. However, it is unclear at what time these monuments got to Ugarit. Amarna letters from Ugarit ca. 1350 BC records one letter each from Ammittamru I, Niqmaddu II, and his queen. From the 16th to the 13th century BC Ugarit remained in constant touch with Egypt and Cyprus (named Alashiya).

The Aramaeans
Aramaeans
The Aramaeans, also Arameans , were a Northwest Semitic semi-nomadic and pastoralist people who originated in what is now modern Syria during the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age...

 are 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 Iron Age. Large groups migrated to Mesopotamia where they intermingled with the native Akkadian (Assyrian and Babylonian) population. The Aramaeans never had a unified empire; they were divided into independent kingdoms all across the Near East. 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.
Early Bronze dynasties

In Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

, 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
Early Dynastic Period of Egypt
The Archaic or 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...

, 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. With the First Dynasty, the capital moved from Abydos
Abydos, Egypt
Abydos is one of the most ancient cities of Upper Egypt, and also of the eight Upper Nome, of which it was the capital city. It is located about 11 kilometres west of the Nile at latitude 26° 10' N, near the modern Egyptian towns of el-'Araba el Madfuna and al-Balyana...

 to Memphis with a unified Egypt ruled by an Egyptian god-king. Abydos remained the major holy land in the south. The hallmarks of ancient Egyptian civilization, such as art, architecture and many aspects of religion, took shape during the Early Dynastic period. Memphis
Memphis, Egypt
Memphis was the ancient capital of Aneb-Hetch, the first nome of Lower Egypt. Its ruins are located near the town of Helwan, south of Cairo.According to legend related by Manetho, the city was founded by the pharaoh Menes around 3000 BC. Capital of Egypt during the Old Kingdom, it remained an...

 in the Early Bronze Age was the largest city of the time.

The Old Kingdom
Old Kingdom
Old Kingdom 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 so-called "Kingdom" periods, which mark the high points of civilization in the lower Nile Valley .The term itself was...

 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
Middle Kingdom of Egypt
The Middle Kingdom of Egypt is the period in the history of ancient Egypt stretching from the establishment of the Eleventh Dynasty to the end of the Fourteenth Dynasty, between 2055 BC and 1650 BC, although some writers include the Thirteenth and Fourteenth dynasties in the Second Intermediate...

 and the New Kingdom
New Kingdom
The New Kingdom of Egypt, also referred to as the Egyptian Empire is the period in ancient Egyptian history between the 16th century BC and the 11th century BC, covering the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Dynasties of Egypt....

).

The First Intermediate Period of Egypt
First Intermediate Period of Egypt
The First Intermediate Period, often described as a “dark period” in ancient Egyptian history, spanned approximately one hundred years after the end of the Old Kingdom from ca. 2181-2055 BC. It included the seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, and part of the eleventh dynasties. Very little monumental...

, often described as a "dark period" in ancient Egyptian history, spanned about 100 years after the end of the Old Kingdom from about 2181 to 2055 BC. Very little monumental evidence survives from this period, especially from the early part of it. The First Intermediate Period was a dynamic time when rule of Egypt was roughly divided between two competing power bases: Heracleopolis
Herakleopolis Magna
Heracleopolis or Herakleopolis Magna is the Greek name of the capital of the Twentieth nome of ancient Egypt. It was called Henen-nesut, Nen-nesu, or Hwt-nen-nesu in ancient Egyptian, meaning 'house of the royal child.' Later, it was called Hnas in Coptic, and Ahnas in medieval Arabic writings...

 in Lower Egypt and Thebes
Thebes, Egypt
Thebes is the Greek name for a city in Ancient Egypt located about 800 km south of the Mediterranean, on the east bank of the river Nile within the modern city of Luxor. The Theban Necropolis is situated nearby on the west bank of the Nile.-History:...

 in Upper Egypt. These two kingdoms would eventually come into conflict, with the Theban kings conquering the north, resulting in reunification of Egypt under a single ruler during the second part of the 11th Dynasty.
Middle Bronze dynasties

The Middle Kingdom of Egypt
Middle Kingdom of Egypt
The Middle Kingdom of Egypt is the period in the history of ancient Egypt stretching from the establishment of the Eleventh Dynasty to the end of the Fourteenth Dynasty, between 2055 BC and 1650 BC, although some writers include the Thirteenth and Fourteenth dynasties in the Second Intermediate...

 lasted from 2055 to 1650 BC. During this period, the Osiris funerary cult rose to dominate Egyptian popular religion. The period comprises two phases: the 11th Dynasty, which ruled from Thebes and the 12th and 13th Dynasties which were centered around el-Lisht
El-Lisht
Lisht or el-Lisht is an Egyptian village located south of Cairo. It is the site of Middle Kingdom royal and elite burials, including two pyramids built by Amenemhat I and Senusret I. The two main pyramids were surrounded by smaller pyramids of members of the royal family, and many mastaba tombs of...

. The unified kingdom was previously considered to comprise the 11th and 12th Dynasties, but historians now at least partially consider the 13th Dynasty to belong to the Middle Kingdom.

During the Second Intermediate Period, Ancient Egypt fell into disarray for a second time, between the end of the Middle Kingdom and the start of the New Kingdom. It is best known for the Hyksos
Hyksos
The Hyksos were an Asiatic people who took over the eastern Nile Delta during the twelfth dynasty, initiating the Second Intermediate Period of ancient Egypt....

, whose reign comprised the 15th and 16th dynasties. The Hyksos first appeared in Egypt during the 11th Dynasty, began their climb to power in the 13th Dynasty, and emerged from the Second Intermediate Period in control of Avaris
Avaris
Avaris , capital of Egypt under the Hyksos , was located near modern Tell el-Dab'a in the northeastern region of the Nile Delta, at the juncture of the 8th, 14th, 19th and 20th Nomes...

 and the Delta
Nile Delta
The Nile Delta is the delta formed in Northern Egypt where the Nile River spreads out and drains into the Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the world's largest river deltas—from Alexandria in the west to Port Said in the east, it covers some 240 km of Mediterranean coastline—and is a rich...

. By the 15th Dynasty, they ruled lower Egypt, and they were expelled at the end of the 17th Dynasty.
Late Bronze dynasties

The New Kingdom
New Kingdom
The New Kingdom of Egypt, also referred to as the Egyptian Empire is the period in ancient Egyptian history between the 16th century BC and the 11th century BC, covering the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Dynasties of Egypt....

 of Egypt, also referred to as the Egyptian Empire, lasted from the 16th to the 11th century BC. The New Kingdom followed the Second Intermediate Period and was succeeded by the Third Intermediate Period. It was Egypt's most prosperous time and marked the peak of Egypt's power. The later New Kingdom, i.e. the 19th and 20th Dynasties (1292-1069 BC), is also known as the Ramesside period, after the eleven pharaohs that took the name of Ramesses.

Caucasus


Arsenical bronze
Arsenical bronze
Arsenical bronze is an alloy in which arsenic is added to copper as opposed to, or in addition to other constituent metals. The use of arsenic with copper, either as the secondary constituent or with another component such as tin, results in a stronger final product and better casting...

 artifacts of the Maykop culture
Maykop culture
The Maykop culture , ca. 3700 BC—2500 BC, was a major Bronze Age archaeological culture situated in Southern Russia running from the Taman Peninsula at the Kerch Strait nearly to the modern border of Dagestan, centered approximately on the modern Republic of Adygea in the Kuban River valley...

 in the North Caucasus
North Caucasus
The North Caucasus is the northern part of the Caucasus region between the Black and Caspian Seas and within European Russia. The term is also used as a synonym for the North Caucasus economic region of Russia....

 have been dated around the 4th millennium BC. This innovation resulted in the circulation of arsenical bronze technology over southern and eastern Europe.

Pontic-Caspian steppe


The Yamna culture
Yamna culture
The Yamna culture is a late copper age/early Bronze Age culture of the Southern Bug/Dniester/Ural region , dating to the 36th–23rd centuries BC...

 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. The Catacomb culture
Catacomb culture
The Catacomb culture, ca. 2800-2200 BC, refers to an early Bronze Age culture occupying essentially what is present-day Ukraine. It is seen more as a term covering several smaller related archaeological cultures....

, ca. 2800-2200 BC, refers to an early Bronze Age culture occupying essentially what is present-day Ukraine. It's seemed more of as an areal term to cover several smaller related archaeological cultures. The Srubna culture
Srubna culture
The Srubna culture , was a Late Bronze Age culture. It is a successor to the Yamna culture, the Pit Grave culture and the Poltavka culture....

 was a Late Bronze Age (18th-12th centuries BC) culture. It is a successor to the Yamna culture, the Pit Grave culture and the Poltavka culture.

Seima-Turbino Phenomenon


The Altai Mountains in what is now southern Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 and central Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

 have been identified as the point of origin of a cultural enigma termed the Seima-Turbino Phenomenon
Seima-Turbino Phenomenon
Seima-Turbino refers to burial sites dating around 1500 BC found across northern Eurasia, from Finland to Mongolia. The buried were nomadic warriors and metal-workers, travelling on horseback or two-wheeled chariots. These nomads originated from the Altai Mountains...

. It is conjectured that changes in climate in this region around 2000 BC and the ensuing ecological, economic and political changes triggered a rapid and massive migration westward into northeast Europe, eastward into China and southward into Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

 and Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

 across a frontier of some 4,000 miles. This migration took place in just five to six generations and led to peoples from Finland in the west to Thailand in the east employing the same metal working technology and, in some areas, horse breeding and riding. It is further conjectured that the same migrations spread the Uralic
Uralic languages
The Uralic languages constitute a language family of some three dozen languages spoken by approximately 25 million people. The healthiest Uralic languages in terms of the number of native speakers are Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian, Mari and Udmurt...

 group of languages across Europe and Asia: some 39 languages of this group are still extant, including Hungarian
Hungarian language
Hungarian is a Uralic language, part of the Ugric group. With some 14 million speakers, it is one of the most widely spoken non-Indo-European languages in Europe....

, Finnish
Finnish language
Finnish is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland Primarily for use by restaurant menus and by ethnic Finns outside Finland. It is one of the two official languages of Finland and an official minority language in Sweden. In Sweden, both standard Finnish and Meänkieli, a...

, Estonian
Estonian language
Estonian is the official language of Estonia, spoken by about 1.1 million people in Estonia and tens of thousands in various émigré communities...

 and Lappish.
However, recent genetic testings of sites in south Siberia and Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

 (Andronovo horizon) would rather support a spreading of the bronze technology via Indo-European
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 migrations eastwards, as this technology was well known for quite a while in western regions.

China

Chinese Bronze Age


Historians disagree about the dates of a "Bronze Age" in China. The difficulty lies in the term "Bronze Age", as it has been applied to signify a period in history when bronze tools replaced stone tools, and, later, were themselves replaced by iron ones. The medium of the new "Age" made that of the old obsolete. In China, however, any attempt to establish a definite set of dates for a Bronze Age is complicated by two factors:
  1. arrival of iron smelting technology, and
  2. persistence of bronze objects.

The earliest bronze artifacts have been found in the Majiayao culture
Majiayao culture
The Majiayao culture is a name given by archaeologists to a group of Neolithic communities who lived primarily in the upper Yellow River region in eastern Gansu, eastern Qinghai and northern Sichuan, China. The culture existed from 3100 BC to 2700 BC...

 site (between 3100 and 2700 BC), and from then on, the society gradually grew into the Bronze Age.

Bronze metallurgy in China originated in what is referred to as the Erlitou  period, which some historians argue places it within the range of dates controlled by the Shang
Shang Dynasty
The Shang Dynasty or Yin Dynasty was, according to traditional sources, the second Chinese dynasty, after the Xia. They ruled in the northeastern regions of the area known as "China proper" in the Yellow River valley...

 dynasty. Others believe the Erlitou sites belong to the preceding Xia
Xia Dynasty
The Xia Dynasty is the first dynasty in China to be described in ancient historical chronicles such as Bamboo Annals, Classic of History and Records of the Grand Historian. The Xia Dynasty was established by the legendary Yu the Great after Shun, the last of the Five Emperors gave his throne to him...

  dynasty. The U.S. National Gallery of Art
National Gallery of Art
The National Gallery of Art and its Sculpture Garden is a national art museum, located on the National Mall between 3rd and 9th Streets at Constitution Avenue NW, in Washington, DC...

 defines the Chinese Bronze Age as the "period between about 2000 BC and 771 BC," a period that begins with Erlitou culture and ends abruptly with the disintegration of Western Zhou rule. Though this provides a concise frame of reference, it overlooks the continued importance of bronze in Chinese metallurgy and culture. Since this is significantly later than the discovery of bronze in Mesopotamia, bronze technology could have been imported rather than discovered independently in China. However, there is reason to believe that bronzework developed inside China separately from outside influence.

The Shang Dynasty
Shang Dynasty
The Shang Dynasty or Yin Dynasty was, according to traditional sources, the second Chinese dynasty, after the Xia. They ruled in the northeastern regions of the area known as "China proper" in the Yellow River valley...

 of the Yellow River Valley rose to power after the Xia Dynasty
Xia Dynasty
The Xia Dynasty is the first dynasty in China to be described in ancient historical chronicles such as Bamboo Annals, Classic of History and Records of the Grand Historian. The Xia Dynasty was established by the legendary Yu the Great after Shun, the last of the Five Emperors gave his throne to him...

. While some direct information about the Shang Dynasty comes from Shang-era inscriptions on bronze artifacts, most comes from oracle bones — turtle shells, cattle scapulae, or other bones, which bear glyphs that form the first significant corpus of recorded Chinese characters.

Iron is found from the Zhou Dynasty
Zhou Dynasty
The Zhou Dynasty was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang Dynasty and preceded the Qin Dynasty. Although the Zhou Dynasty lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history, the actual political and military control of China by the Ji family lasted only until 771 BC, a period known as...

, but its use is minimal. Chinese literature dating to the 6th century BC attests a knowledge of iron smelting, yet bronze continues to occupy the seat of significance in the archaeological and historical record for some time after this. Historian W. C. White argues that iron did not supplant bronze "at any period before the end of the Zhou dynasty (256 BC)" and that bronze vessels make up the majority of metal vessels all the way through the Later Han period, or to 221.

The Chinese bronze artifacts generally are either utilitarian, like spear points or adze heads, or ritualistic, like the numerous large sacrificial tripods known as ding
Ding (vessel)
A ding is an ancient Chinese cauldron with legs, a lid and two handles opposite each other. They were made in two shapes with round vessels having three legs and rectangular ones four....

s in Chinese. However, even some of the most utilitarian objects bear the markings of more sacred items. The Chinese inscribed all kinds of bronze items with three main motif types: demons, symbolic animals, and abstract symbols. Some large bronzes also bear inscriptions that have helped historians and archaeologists piece together the history of China, especially during the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BC).

The bronzes of the Western Zhou Dynasty document large portions of history not found in the extant texts that were often composed by persons of varying rank and possibly even social class. Further, the medium of cast bronze lends the record they preserve a permanence not enjoyed by manuscripts. These inscriptions can commonly be subdivided into four parts: a reference to the date and place, the naming of the event commemorated, the list of gifts given to the artisan in exchange for the bronze, and a dedication. The relative points of reference these vessels provide have enabled historians to place most of the vessels within a certain time frame of the Western Zhou period, allowing them to trace the evolution of the vessels and the events they record.

Korea



The beginning of the Bronze Age on the peninsula is around 900 BC - 800 BC. Although the Korean Bronze Age culture derives from the Liaoning
Liaoning bronze dagger culture
The Liaoning bronze dagger culture is an archeological complex of the late Bronze Age in Korea and China. Artifacts from the culture are found primarily in the Liaoning area of Manchuria and in the Korean peninsula. Various other bronze artifacts, including ornaments and weapons, are associated...

 and Manchuria, it exhibits unique typology and styles, especially in ritual objects.

The Mumun pottery period
Mumun pottery period
The Mumun pottery period is an archaeological era in Korean prehistory that dates to approximately 1500-300 BC This period is named after the Korean name for undecorated or plain cooking and storage vessels that form a large part of the pottery assemblage over the entire length of the period, but...

 is named after the Korean name for undecorated or plain cooking and storage vessels that form a large part of the pottery assemblage over the entire length of the period, but especially 850-550 BC. The Mumun period is known for the origins of intensive agriculture and complex societies in both the Korean Peninsula and the Japanese Archipelago.

The Middle Mumun pottery period culture of the southern Korean Peninsula
Korean Peninsula
The Korean Peninsula is a peninsula in East Asia. It extends southwards for about 684 miles from continental Asia into the Pacific Ocean and is surrounded by the Sea of Japan to the south, and the Yellow Sea to the west, the Korea Strait connecting the first two bodies of water.Until the end of...

 gradually adopted bronze production (c. 700–600? BC) after a period when Liaoning-style bronze daggers and other bronze artifacts were exchanged as far as the interior part of the Southern Peninsula (c. 900–700 BC). The bronze daggers lent prestige and authority to the personages who wielded and were buried with them in high-status megalithic burials at south-coastal centres such as the Igeum-dong site
Igeum-dong site
Igeum-dong is a complex archaeological site located in Igeum-dong, Samcheonpo in Sacheon-si, South Gyeongsang Province, South Korea. This prehistoric archaeological site is important in Korean prehistory because it represents solid evidence that simple chiefdoms formed in as early as the Middle...

. Bronze was an important element in ceremonies and as for mortuary offerings until 100.

Indus Valley



The Bronze Age on the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 began around 3300 BC with the beginning of the Indus Valley civilization
Indus Valley Civilization
The Indus Valley Civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that was located in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, consisting of what is now mainly modern-day Pakistan and northwest India...

. Inhabitants of the Indus Valley, the Harappa
Harappa
Harappa is an archaeological site in Punjab, northeast Pakistan, about west of Sahiwal. The site takes its name from a modern village located near the former course of the Ravi River. The current village of Harappa is from the ancient site. Although modern Harappa has a train station left from...

ns, developed new techniques in metallurgy and produced copper, bronze, lead and tin. The Indian Bronze Age was followed by the Iron Age Vedic Period
Vedic period
The Vedic period was a period in history during which the Vedas, the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, were composed. The time span of the period is uncertain. Philological and linguistic evidence indicates that the Rigveda, the oldest of the Vedas, was composed roughly between 1700–1100 BCE, also...

. The Harappan culture, which dates from 1700 BC to 1300 BC, overlapped the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age; thus it is difficult to date this transition accurately.

Southeast Asia


Dating back to the Neolithic Age, the first bronze drums, called the Dong Son drums
Dong Son drums
Đông Sơn drums are bronze drums fabricated by the Dong Son culture, in the Red River Delta of northern Vietnam...

, have been uncovered in and around the Red River Delta
Red River Delta
The Red River Delta is the flat plain formed by the Red River and its distributaries joining in the Thai Binh River in northern Vietnam. The delta measuring some 15,000 square km is well protected by a network of dikes. It is an agriculturally rich area and densely populated...

 regions of Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

 and Southern China. These relate to the prehistoric Dong Son Culture
Dong Son culture
The Đông Sơn culture was a prehistoric Bronze Age age in Vietnam centered at the Red River Valley of northern Vietnam. At this time the first Vietnamese kingdoms of Văn Lang and Âu Lạc appeared...

 of Vietnam. In Ban Chiang
Ban Chiang
Ban Chiang is an archeological site located in Nong Han district, Udon Thani Province, Thailand. It has been on the UNESCO world heritage list since 1992....

, Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

, (Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

) bronze artifacts
Artifact (archaeology)
An artifact or artefact is "something made or given shape by man, such as a tool or a work of art, esp an object of archaeological interest"...

 have been discovered dating to 2100 BC. In Nyaunggan, Burma bronze tools have been excavated along with ceramics and stone artifacts. Dating is still currently broad (3500–500 BC).

European Timeline

A few examples of named Bronze Age cultures in Europe in roughly relative order. The chosen cultures overlapped in time and the indicated periods do not correspond to their estimated extends.

Aegean

Aegean Bronze Age

The Aegean Bronze Age begins around 3200 BC, when civilizations first established a far-ranging trade
Trade
Trade is the transfer of ownership of goods and services from one person or entity to another. Trade is sometimes loosely called commerce or financial transaction or barter. A network that allows trade is called a market. The original form of trade was barter, the direct exchange of goods and...

 network. This network imported tin
Tin
Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn and atomic number 50. It is a main group metal in group 14 of the periodic table. Tin shows chemical similarity to both neighboring group 14 elements, germanium and lead and has two possible oxidation states, +2 and the slightly more stable +4...

 and charcoal to Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

, where copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

 was mined and alloyed with the tin to produce bronze. Bronze objects were then exported far and wide, and supported the trade. Isotopic
Isotope
Isotopes are variants of atoms of a particular chemical element, which have differing numbers of neutrons. Atoms of a particular element by definition must contain the same number of protons but may have a distinct number of neutrons which differs from atom to atom, without changing the designation...

 analysis of tin in some Mediterranean bronze artifacts point to the fact that they may have originated from Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

.

Knowledge of navigation
Navigation
Navigation is the process of monitoring and controlling the movement of a craft or vehicle from one place to another. It is also the term of art used for the specialized knowledge used by navigators to perform navigation tasks...

 was well developed at this time, and reached a peak of skill not exceeded (except perhaps by Polynesian sailors) until 1730 when the invention of the chronometer
Chronometer
Chronometer may refer to:* Chronometer watch, a watch tested and certified to meet certain precision standards* Hydrochronometer, a water clock* Marine chronometer, a timekeeper used for celestial navigation...

 enabled the precise determination of longitude
Longitude
Longitude is a geographic coordinate that specifies the east-west position of a point on the Earth's surface. It is an angular measurement, usually expressed in degrees, minutes and seconds, and denoted by the Greek letter lambda ....

.

The Minoan civilization
Minoan civilization
The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that arose on the island of Crete and flourished from approximately the 27th century BC to the 15th century BC. It was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century through the work of the British archaeologist Arthur Evans...

 based in Knossos
Knossos
Knossos , also known as Labyrinth, or Knossos Palace, is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and probably the ceremonial and political centre of the Minoan civilization and culture. The palace appears as a maze of workrooms, living spaces, and store rooms close to a central square...

 appears to have coordinated and defended its Bronze Age trade. Illyrians
Illyrians
The Illyrians were a group of tribes who inhabited part of the western Balkans in antiquity and the south-eastern coasts of the Italian peninsula...

 are also believed to have roots in the early Bronze Age. Ancient empires valued luxury good
Luxury good
Luxury goods are products and services that are not considered essential and associated with affluence.The concept of luxury has been present in various forms since the beginning of civilization. Its role was just as important in ancient western and eastern empires as it is in modern societies...

s in contrast to staple foods, leading to famine. This may have arisen because money was concentrated in the hands of a few people, rather than due to a lack of modern accounting methods.
Aegean Collapse


Bronze Age collapse theories have described aspects of the end of the Age in this region. At the end of the Bronze Age in the Aegean region, the Mycenaean
Mycenaean Greece
Mycenaean Greece was a cultural period of Bronze Age Greece taking its name from the archaeological site of Mycenae in northeastern Argolis, in the Peloponnese of southern Greece. Athens, Pylos, Thebes, and Tiryns are also important Mycenaean sites...

 administration of the regional trade empire followed the decline of Minoan primacy. Several Minoan client states lost much of their population to famine and/or pestilence. This would indicate that the trade network may have failed, preventing the trade that would previously have relieved such famines and prevented illness caused by malnutrition. It is also known that in this era the breadbasket
Breadbasket
The breadbasket or the granary of a country is a region which, because of richness of soil and/or advantageous climate, produces an agricultural surplus which is often considered vital for the country as a whole. Rice bowl is a similar term used in Southeast Asia...

 of the Minoan empire, the area north of the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

, also suddenly lost much of its population, and thus probably some cultivation.

The Aegean Collapse has been attributed to the exhaustion of the Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 forests causing the end of the bronze trade. These forests are known to have existed into later times, and experiments have shown that charcoal
Charcoal
Charcoal is the dark grey residue consisting of carbon, and any remaining ash, obtained by removing water and other volatile constituents from animal and vegetation substances. Charcoal is usually produced by slow pyrolysis, the heating of wood or other substances in the absence of oxygen...

 production on the scale necessary for the bronze production of the late Bronze Age would have exhausted them in less than fifty years.

Aegean Collapse has also been attributed to the fact that as iron
Iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

 tool
Tool
A tool is a device that can be used to produce an item or achieve a task, but that is not consumed in the process. Informally the word is also used to describe a procedure or process with a specific purpose. Tools that are used in particular fields or activities may have different designations such...

s became more common, the main justification for the tin trade ended, and that trade network ceased to function as it did formerly. The colonies of the Minoan empire then suffered drought, famine, war, or some combination of those three, and had no access to the distant resources of an empire by which they could easily recover.

The Thera eruption
Thera eruption
The Minoan eruption of Thera, also referred to as the Thera eruption or Santorini eruption, was a major catastrophic volcanic eruption with a Volcanic Explosivity Index of 6 or 7 and a Dense-rock equivalent of , which is estimated to have occurred in the mid second millennium BCE. The eruption...

 occurred around the Aegean Collapse, 110 km (68.4 mi) north of Crete. Speculation include a tsunami
Tsunami
A tsunami is a series of water waves caused by the displacement of a large volume of a body of water, typically an ocean or a large lake...

 from Thera (more commonly known today as Santorini) destroyed Cretan cities. A tsunami may have destroyed the Cretan navy
Navy
A navy is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake- or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions...

 in its home harbour, which then lost crucial naval battles; so that in the LMIB/LMII
Minoan chronology
Sir Arthur Evans developed a relative dating scheme of Minoan chronology based on the excavations initiated and managed by him at the site of the ancient city of Knossos. He called the civilization that he discovered there Minoan...

 event (c. 1450 BC) the cities of Crete
Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

 burned and the Mycenaean civilization took over Knossos
Knossos
Knossos , also known as Labyrinth, or Knossos Palace, is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and probably the ceremonial and political centre of the Minoan civilization and culture. The palace appears as a maze of workrooms, living spaces, and store rooms close to a central square...

. 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. One such theory looks to the role of Cretan expertise in administering the empire, post-Thera. If this expertise was concentrated in Crete, then the Mycenaeans may have made political and commercial mistakes in administering the Cretan empire.

Archaeological findings, including some on the island of Thera, suggest that the centre of Minoan Civilization at the time of the eruption was actually on Thera rather than on Crete. According to this theory, the catastrophic loss of the political, administrative and economic centre by the eruption as well as the damage wrought by the tsunami to the coastal towns and villages of Crete precipitated the decline of the Minoans. A weakened political entity with a reduced economic and military capability and fabled riches would have then been more vulnerable to human predators. Indeed, the Santorini Eruption is usually dated to c. 1630 BC, while the Mycenaean Greeks first enter the historical record a few decades later, c. 1600 BC. Thus, the later Mycenaean assaults on Crete (c.1450 BC) and Troy (c.1250 BC) are revealed as mere continuations of the steady encroachments of the Greeks upon the weakened Minoan world.

Central Europe

Central European Bronze Age


In Central Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

, the early Bronze Age Unetice culture
Unetice culture
Unetice; or more properly Únětice culture ; is the name given to an early Bronze Age culture, preceded by the Beaker culture and followed by the Tumulus culture. It was named after finds at site in Únětice, northwest of Prague. It is focused around the Czech Republic, southern and central Germany,...

 (1800–1600 BC) includes numerous smaller groups like the Straubing, Adlerberg and Hatvan cultures
Hatvan
Hatvan is a town in Heves county, Hungary. Hatvan is the Hungarian word for "sixty". Hatvan is located at around ....

. Some very rich burials, such as the one located at Leubingen
Leubingen
A burial chamber on the site, near the hills of Kyffhäuser in the Leubingen district in the eastern German state of Thuringia, was first unearthed in 1877 by art professor, archaeologist Friedrich Klopfleisch . it was recognized to be part of a temple or residence...

 with grave gifts crafted from gold, point to an increase of social stratification already present in the Unetice culture. All in all, cemeteries of this period are rare and of small size. The Unetice culture is followed by the middle Bronze Age (1600–1200 BC) Tumulus culture
Tumulus culture
The Tumulus culture dominated Central Europe during the Middle Bronze Age .It was the descendant of the Unetice culture. Its heartland the area previously occupied by the Unetice culture besides Bavaria and Württemberg...

, which is characterised by inhumation burials in tumuli (barrows). In the eastern Hungarian
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 Körös
Körös River
Körös is the name of a 195 km long river in eastern Hungary. It is formed at the confluence of the rivers Fehér-Körös and Fekete-Körös near Gyula. The Sebes-Körös flows into the Körös near Gyomaendrőd...

 tributaries, the early Bronze Age first saw the introduction of the Mako culture, followed by the Ottomany
Ottomány culture
The Ottomány culture located in Crișana , eastern Hungary, and Slovakia is a local middle Bronze Age culture near the village of Otomani/Ottomány located in Bihor County, Romania. It existed in the Körös tributaries between Makó culture and the Gyulavarsánd cultures. This culture was contemporary...

 and Gyulavarsand cultures.

The late Bronze Age Urnfield culture, (1300–700 BC) is characterized by cremation burials. It includes the Lusatian culture
Lusatian culture
The Lusatian culture existed in the later Bronze Age and early Iron Age in most of today's Poland, parts of Czech Republic and Slovakia, parts of eastern Germany and parts of Ukraine...

 in eastern Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 (1300–500 BC) that continues into the Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

. The Central European Bronze Age is followed by the Iron Age Hallstatt culture
Hallstatt culture
The Hallstatt culture was the predominant Central European culture from the 8th to 6th centuries BC , developing out of the Urnfield culture of the 12th century BC and followed in much of Central Europe by the La Tène culture.By the 6th century BC, the Hallstatt culture extended for some...

 (700–450 BC).

Important sites include:
  • Biskupin
    Biskupin
    The archaeological open air museum Biskupin is an archaeological site and a life-size model of an Iron Age fortified settlement in north-central Poland . When first discovered it was thought to be early evidence of Slavic settlement but archaeologists later confirmed it belonged to the Biskupin...

     (Poland
    Poland
    Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

    )
  • Nebra
    Nebra
    Nebra is a town in the district of Burgenlandkreis of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is situated on the river Unstrut....

     (Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

    )
  • Vráble
    Vráble
    Vráble is a small town in the Nitra District, Nitra Region, western Slovakia.-Geography:It is located in the Danubian Hills on the Žitava river, about 20 km south-east-east from Nitra. The cadastral area of the town has an altitude from 140 to 240 m ASL...

     (Slovakia
    Slovakia
    The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

    )
  • Zug-Sumpf, Zug
    Canton of Zug
    The Canton of Zug is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland. It is located in central Switzerland and its capital is Zug. With 239 km² the canton is one of the smallest of the cantons in terms of area. It is not subdivided into districts.- History :The earlier history of the canton is...

    , Switzerland
    Switzerland
    Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....



The Bronze Age in Central Europe has been described in the chronological schema of German prehistorian Paul Reinecke. He described Bronze A1 (Bz A1) period (2300–2000 BC : triangular daggers, flat axes, stone wrist-guards, flint arrowheads) and Bronze A2 (Bz A2) period (1950–1700 BC : daggers with metal hilt, flanged axes, halberds, pins with perforated spherical heads, solid bracelets) and phases Hallstatt A and B (Ha A and B).

South Europe


The Apennine culture
Apennine culture
The Apennine culture or Italian Bronze Age is a technology complex of central and southern Italy spanning the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age proper. It is preceded by the Neolithic and succeeded by the Iron Age Villanovan culture. Apennine culture pottery is a black, burnished ware incised and...

 (also called Italian Bronze Age) is a technology complex of central and southern Italy spanning the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age proper. The Camuni were an ancient people of uncertain origin (according to Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

, they were Euganei
Euganei
The Euganei is a semi-mythical proto-Italic ethnic group that dwelt an area among Adriatic Sea and Rhaetian Alps...

; according to Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

, they were Rhaetians) who lived in Val Camonica
Val Camonica
Val Camonica is one of the largest valleys of the central Alps, in eastern Lombardy, about 90 km long. It starts from the Tonale Pass, at 1883 metres above sea level and ends at Corna Trentapassi, in the comune of Pisogne, near Lake Iseo...

 - in what is now northern Lombardy
Lombardy
Lombardy is one of the 20 regions of Italy. The capital is Milan. One-sixth of Italy's population lives in Lombardy and about one fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in this region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest in the whole of Europe...

 - during the Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

, although human groups of hunters, shepherds and farmers are known to have lived in the area since the Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

.

Located in Sardinia
Sardinia
Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea . It is an autonomous region of Italy, and the nearest land masses are the French island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Tunisia and the Spanish Balearic Islands.The name Sardinia is from the pre-Roman noun *sard[],...

 and Corsica
Corsica
Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is located west of Italy, southeast of the French mainland, and north of the island of Sardinia....

, the Nuragic civilization
Nuragic civilization
The Nuragic civilization was a civilization of Sardinia, lasting from the Bronze Age to the 2nd century AD. The name derives from its most characteristic monuments, the nuraghe. They consist of tower-fortresses, built starting from about 1800 BC...

 lasted from the early Bronze Age (18th century BC) to the 2nd century AD, when the islands were already Romanized. They take their name from the characteristic nuragic towers, which evolved from the pre-existing megalithic culture, which built dolmen
Dolmen
A dolmen—also known as a portal tomb, portal grave, dolmain , cromlech , anta , Hünengrab/Hünenbett , Adamra , Ispun , Hunebed , dös , goindol or quoit—is a type of single-chamber megalithic tomb, usually consisting of...

s and menhir
Menhir
A menhir is a large upright standing stone. Menhirs may be found singly as monoliths, or as part of a group of similar stones. Their size can vary considerably; but their shape is generally uneven and squared, often tapering towards the top...

s. The nuraghe towers are unanimously considered the best preserved and largest megalithic remains in Europe. Their effective use is still debated: some scholars considered them as monumental tombs, others as Houses of the Giants
Giants' grave
thumb|300px|sa Ena 'e Thomes Giants' grave in [[Dorgali]].thumb|300px|Interior of the sa Ena 'e Thomes tomb.Giants' grave is the name given by local people and archaeologists to a type of Sardinian megalithic gallery grave built during the Bronze Age by the Nuragic civilization...

, other as fortresses, ovens for metal fusion, prisons or, finally, temples for a solar cult.

The Terramare was a Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-Europeans
The Proto-Indo-Europeans were the speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language , a reconstructed prehistoric language of Eurasia.Knowledge of them comes chiefly from the linguistic reconstruction, along with material evidence from archaeology and archaeogenetics...

 civilization which lived in the area of what is now Pianura Padana (northern Italy) before the arrival of the Celts, as well as in other parts of Europe. They lived in villages constituted of wooden stilt houses: they had a square shape, built on the mainland but generally near a stream, with roads that crossed each other at right angles. The whole complex denoted the nature of a fortified settlement. The Terramare were widespread in the Pianura Padana (specially along the Panaro river, between Modena
Modena
Modena is a city and comune on the south side of the Po Valley, in the Province of Modena in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy....

 and Bologna
Bologna
Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, with spectacular history,...

) and in the rest of Europe. The civilization developed in the Middle and Recent Bronze Age, between the 17th and the 13th centuries BC.

The Castellieri culture
Castellieri culture
The Castellieri culture developed in Istria during the Mid-Bronze Age, and later expanded into the modern Venezia Giulia, Dalmatia and the neighbouring areas. It lasted for more than a millennium, from the 15th century BC until the Roman conquest in the 3rd century BC...

 developed in Istria
Istria
Istria , formerly Histria , is the largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea. The peninsula is located at the head of the Adriatic between the Gulf of Trieste and the Bay of Kvarner...

 during the Mid-Bronze Age. It lasted for more than a millennium, from the 15th century BC until the Roman conquest in the 3rd century BC. It takes its name from the fortified boroughs (Castellieri, Friulian
Friulian language
Friulan , is a Romance language belonging to the Rhaeto-Romance family, spoken in the Friuli region of northeastern Italy. Friulan has around 800,000 speakers, the vast majority of whom also speak Italian...

 cjastelir) which characterized the culture.

The Canegrate culture
Canegrate culture
The Canegrate culture was a civilization of Prehistoric Italy whom developed from the recent Bronze Age until the Iron Age, in the Pianura Padana of what are now western Lombardy, eastern Piedmont and Canton Ticino....

 developed from the mid-Bronze Age (13th century BC) till the Iron Age in the Pianura Padana, in what is are now western Lombardy
Lombardy
Lombardy is one of the 20 regions of Italy. The capital is Milan. One-sixth of Italy's population lives in Lombardy and about one fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in this region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest in the whole of Europe...

, eastern Piedmont
Piedmont
Piedmont is one of the 20 regions of Italy. It has an area of 25,402 square kilometres and a population of about 4.4 million. The capital of Piedmont is Turin. The main local language is Piedmontese. Occitan is also spoken by a minority in the Occitan Valleys situated in the Provinces of...

 and Ticino. It takes its name from the township of Canegrate
Canegrate
Canegrate is a comune in the Province of Milan in the Italian region Lombardy, located about 20 km northwest of Milan....

 where, in the 20th century, some fifty tombs with ceramics and metal objects were found.rior population who had descended to Pianura Padana from the Swiss Alps passes and the Ticino.

The Golasecca culture
Golasecca culture
The Golasecca culture was a Celtic culture in northern Italy , whose type-site has been excavated at Golasecca in the province of Varese, Lombardy.-Archeological sources:...

 developed starting from the late Bronze Age in the Po plain. It takes its name from Golasecca, a locality next to the Ticino
Ticino
Canton Ticino or Ticino is the southernmost canton of Switzerland. Named after the Ticino river, it is the only canton in which Italian is the sole official language...

 where, in the early 19th century, abbot Giovanni Battista Giani excavated its first findings (some fifty tombs with ceramics and metal objects). Remains of the Golasecca culture span an area of c. 20,000 square kilometers south to the Alps, between the Po, Sesia
Sesia
Sesia may refer to:* Sesia River, in northwest Italy* Sesia , a district during the First French Empire, named after the river* Sesia, a genus of moths* The Valsesia, the river’s valley...

 and Serio rivers, dating from the 9th to the 4th century BC.
Atlantic Bronze Age


Atlantic Bronze Age


The Atlantic Bronze Age
Atlantic Bronze Age
The Atlantic Bronze Age is a cultural complex of the Bronze Age period of approximately 1300–700 BC that includes different cultures in Portugal, Andalusia, Galicia, Armorica and the British Isles.-Trade:...

 is a cultural complex of the period of approximately 1300–700 BC that includes different cultures in Portugal, Andalusia, Galicia and the British Isles. It is marked by economic and cultural exchange. Commercial contacts extend to Denmark and the Mediterranean. 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.
Great Britain


In Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

, the Bronze Age is considered to have been the period from around 2100 to 750 BC. Migration
Human migration
Human migration is physical movement by humans from one area to another, sometimes over long distances or in large groups. Historically this movement was nomadic, often causing significant conflict with the indigenous population and their displacement or cultural assimilation. Only a few nomadic...

 brought new people to the islands from the continent. Recent tooth enamel isotope research on bodies found in early Bronze Age graves around Stonehenge
Stonehenge
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in the English county of Wiltshire, about west of Amesbury and north of Salisbury. One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is composed of a circular setting of large standing stones set within earthworks...

 indicate that at least some of the migrants came from the area of modern Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

. The Beaker culture
Beaker culture
The Bell-Beaker culture , ca. 2400 – 1800 BC, is the term for a widely scattered cultural phenomenon of prehistoric western Europe starting in the late Neolithic or Chalcolithic running into the early Bronze Age...

 displayed different behaviours from the earlier Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 people, and cultural change was significant. Integration is thought to have been peaceful, as many of the early henge
Henge
There are three related types of Neolithic earthwork which are all sometimes loosely called henges. The essential characteristic of all three types is that they feature a ring bank and ditch but with the ditch inside the bank rather than outside...

 sites were seemingly adopted by the newcomers. The rich Wessex culture
Wessex culture
The Wessex culture is the predominant prehistoric culture of central and southern Britain during the early Bronze Age, originally defined by the British archaeologist Stuart Piggott in 1938...

 developed in southern Britain at this time. Additionally, 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 valley
Valley
In geology, a valley or dale is a depression with predominant extent in one direction. A very deep river valley may be called a canyon or gorge.The terms U-shaped and V-shaped are descriptive terms of geography to characterize the form of valleys...

s. Large livestock farms developed in the lowlands and appear to have contributed to economic growth and inspired increasing forest clearances. The Deverel-Rimbury culture
Deverel-Rimbury culture
The Deverel-Rimbury culture was a name given to an archaeological culture of the British Middle Bronze Age. It is named after two barrow sites in Dorset and dates to between 1600 and 1100 BC....

 began to emerge in the second half of the Middle Bronze Age (c. 1400–1100 BC) to exploit these conditions. Devon
Devon
Devon is a large county in southwestern England. The county is sometimes referred to as Devonshire, although the term is rarely used inside the county itself as the county has never been officially "shired", it often indicates a traditional or historical context.The county shares borders with...

 and Cornwall
Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

 were major sources of tin
Tin
Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn and atomic number 50. It is a main group metal in group 14 of the periodic table. Tin shows chemical similarity to both neighboring group 14 elements, germanium and lead and has two possible oxidation states, +2 and the slightly more stable +4...

 for much of western Europe and copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

 was extracted from sites such as the Great Orme
Great Orme
The Great Orme is a prominent limestone headland on the north coast of Wales situated in Llandudno. It is referred to as Cyngreawdr Fynydd in a poem by the 12th century poet Gwalchmai ap Meilyr...

 mine in northern Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

. Social groups appear to have been tribal but with growing complexity and hierarchies becoming apparent.

The burial of dead (which until this period had usually been communal) became more individual. For example, whereas in the Neolithic a large chambered cairn
Chambered cairn
A chambered cairn is a burial monument, usually constructed during the Neolithic, consisting of a cairn of stones inside which a sizeable chamber was constructed. Some chambered cairns are also passage-graves....

 or long barrow
Long barrow
A long barrow is a prehistoric monument dating to the early Neolithic period. They are rectangular or trapezoidal tumuli or earth mounds traditionally interpreted as collective tombs...

 was used to house the dead, the Early Bronze Age saw people buried in individual barrows
Tumulus
A tumulus is a mound of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves. Tumuli are also known as barrows, burial mounds, Hügelgrab or kurgans, and can be found throughout much of the world. A tumulus composed largely or entirely of stones is usually referred to as a cairn...

 (also commonly known and marked on modern British Ordnance Survey
Ordnance Survey
Ordnance Survey , an executive agency and non-ministerial government department of the Government of the United Kingdom, is the national mapping agency for Great Britain, producing maps of Great Britain , and one of the world's largest producers of maps.The name reflects its creation together with...

 maps as tumuli), or sometimes in cist
Cist
A cist from ) is a small stone-built coffin-like box or ossuary used to hold the bodies of the dead. Examples can be found across Europe and in the Middle East....

s covered with cairn
Cairn
Cairn is a term used mainly in the English-speaking world for a man-made pile of stones. It comes from the or . Cairns are found all over the world in uplands, on moorland, on mountaintops, near waterways and on sea cliffs, and also in barren desert and tundra areas...

s.

The greatest quantities of bronze objects found in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 were discovered in East Cambridgeshire
East Cambridgeshire
East Cambridgeshire is a local government district in Cambridgeshire, England. Its council is based in Ely....

, where the most important finds were recovered in Isleham
Isleham
Isleham is a small village and civil parish in the English county of Cambridgeshire. It is part of the Fens.-Geography:Isleham is located in the Fens of south-east Cambridgeshire. The western parish boundary is formed by the Crooked Ditch, the eastern boundary largely by the Lea Brook and the north...

 (more than 6500 pieces
Isleham Hoard
The Isleham Hoard is a hoard of more than 6,500 pieces of worked and unworked bronze found in 1959 at Isleham near Ely in the English county of Cambridgeshire and dating from the Bronze Age....

).
Alloying of copper with zinc or tin to make brass
Brass
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc; the proportions of zinc and copper can be varied to create a range of brasses with varying properties.In comparison, bronze is principally an alloy of copper and tin...

 or bronze
Bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

 was practised soon after the discovery of copper itself. One copper mine at Great Orme
Great Orme
The Great Orme is a prominent limestone headland on the north coast of Wales situated in Llandudno. It is referred to as Cyngreawdr Fynydd in a poem by the 12th century poet Gwalchmai ap Meilyr...

 in North Wales, extended to a depth of 70 meters. At Alderley Edge
Alderley Edge
Alderley Edge is a village and civil parish within the unitary authority of Cheshire East and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. According to the 2001 census the parish had a population of 4,409....

 in Cheshire
Cheshire
Cheshire is a ceremonial county in North West England. Cheshire's county town is the city of Chester, although its largest town is Warrington. Other major towns include Widnes, Congleton, Crewe, Ellesmere Port, Runcorn, Macclesfield, Winsford, Northwich, and Wilmslow...

, carbon dates have established mining at around 2280 to 1890 BC (at 95% probability). The earliest identified metalworking site (Sigwells, Somerset) is much later, dated by Globular Urn style pottery to approximately the 12th century BC. The identifiable sherds from over 500 mould fragments included a perfect fit of the hilt of a sword in the Wilburton style held in Somerset County Museum.
Ireland


The Bronze Age in Ireland commenced around 2000 BC, when copper was alloyed with tin and used to manufacture Ballybeg
Ballybeg
Ballybeg is a generic name given to small Irish towns. The name comes from the Gaelic words Baile Beag which literally means Little Town...

 type flat axes and associated metalwork. The preceding period is known as the Copper Age
Copper Age
The Chalcolithic |stone]]") period or Copper Age, also known as the Eneolithic/Æneolithic , is a phase of the Bronze Age in which the addition of tin to copper to form bronze during smelting remained yet unknown by the metallurgists of the times...

 and is characterised by the production of flat axes, daggers, halberds and awls
Stitching awl
A stitching awl is a simple tool with which holes can be punctured in a variety of materials, or existing holes can be enlarged. It is also used for sewing heavy materials, such as leather or canvas. It is a thin, tapered metal shaft, coming to a sharp point, either straight or slightly bent....

 in copper. 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). Ireland is also known for a relatively large number of Early Bronze Age burials.

One of the characteristic types of artifact of the Early Bronze Age in Ireland is the flat axe. There are five main types of flat axes: Lough Ravel (c. 2200 BC), Ballybeg (c. 2000 BC), Killaha (c. 2000 BC), Ballyvalley (c. 2000–1600 BC), Derryniggin (c. 1600 BC), and a number of metal ingots in the shape of axes.

North Europe


Bronze artifacts


The Bronze Age in Northern Europe spans the entire 2nd millennium BC
2nd millennium BC
The 2nd millennium BC marks the transition from the Middle to the Late Bronze Age.Its first half is dominated by the Middle Kingdom of Egypt and Babylonia. The alphabet develops. Indo-Iranian migration onto the Iranian plateau and onto the Indian subcontinent propagates the use of the chariot...

 (Unetice culture
Unetice culture
Unetice; or more properly Únětice culture ; is the name given to an early Bronze Age culture, preceded by the Beaker culture and followed by the Tumulus culture. It was named after finds at site in Únětice, northwest of Prague. It is focused around the Czech Republic, southern and central Germany,...

, Urnfield culture
Urnfield culture
The Urnfield culture was a late Bronze Age culture of central Europe. The name comes from the custom of cremating the dead and placing their ashes in urns which were then buried in fields...

, Tumulus culture
Tumulus culture
The Tumulus culture dominated Central Europe during the Middle Bronze Age .It was the descendant of the Unetice culture. Its heartland the area previously occupied by the Unetice culture besides Bavaria and Württemberg...

, Terramare culture
Terramare culture
Terramare, Terramara or Terremare is a technology complex mainly of the central Po valley, in Emilia, northern Italy, dating to the Middle and Late Bronze Age ca. 1700-1150 BC. It takes its name from the "black earth" residue of settlement mounds. Terramare is from terra marna, "marl-earth", where...

, Lusatian culture
Lusatian culture
The Lusatian culture existed in the later Bronze Age and early Iron Age in most of today's Poland, parts of Czech Republic and Slovakia, parts of eastern Germany and parts of Ukraine...

) in Northern Europe
Nordic Bronze Age
The Nordic Bronze Age is the name given by Oscar Montelius to a period and a Bronze Age culture in Scandinavian pre-history, c. 1700-500 BC, with sites that reached as far east as Estonia. Succeeding the Late Neolithic culture, its ethnic and linguistic affinities are unknown in the absence of...

 lasting until ca. 600 BC. The Northern Bronze Age
Nordic Bronze Age
The Nordic Bronze Age is the name given by Oscar Montelius to a period and a Bronze Age culture in Scandinavian pre-history, c. 1700-500 BC, with sites that reached as far east as Estonia. Succeeding the Late Neolithic culture, its ethnic and linguistic affinities are unknown in the absence of...

 was a period and a Bronze Age culture in Scandinavian pre-history, c. 1700-500 BC, with sites that reached as far east as Estonia. Succeeding the Late Neolithic culture, its ethnic and linguistic affinities are unknown in the absence of written sources. It is followed by the Pre-Roman Iron Age
Pre-Roman Iron Age
The Pre-Roman Iron Age of Northern Europe designates the earliest part of the Iron Age in Scandinavia, northern Germany, and the Netherlands north of the Rhine River. These regions feature many extensive archaeological excavation sites, which have yielded a wealth of artifacts...

.

Even though Northern European Bronze Age cultures were fairly late and came in existence via trade, sites present rich and well-preserved objects made of wool, wood and imported Central European bronze and gold. Many rock carvings depict ships, and the large stone burial monuments known as stone ships suggest that shipping played an important role. Thousands of rock carvings depict ships, most probably representing sewn plank built canoes for warfare, fishing and trade. These may have a history as far back as the neolithic period and continue in to the Pre-Roman Iron Age, as shown by the Hjortspring boat
Hjortspring boat
The Hjortspring boat is a vessel designed as a large canoe, from the Scandinavian Pre-Roman Iron Age, that was excavated in 1921–1922 in Hjortspring Mose at Als in Sønderjylland...

. There are many mounds and rock carving sites from the period. Numerous artifacts of bronze and gold are found. No written language existed in the Nordic countries during the Bronze Age. The rock carvings have been dated through comparison with depicted artifacts.

Americas



The Moche
Moche
'The Moche civilization flourished in northern Peru from about 100 AD to 800 AD, during the Regional Development Epoch. While this issue is the subject of some debate, many scholars contend that the Moche were not politically organized as a monolithic empire or state...

 civilization of South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

 independently discovered and developed bronze smelting. Bronze technology was developed further by the Incas and used widely both for utilitarian objects and sculpture. Later appearance of limited bronze smelting in West Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 (see Metallurgy in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica
Metallurgy in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica
The emergence of metallurgy in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica occurred relatively late in the region's history, with distinctive works of metal apparent in West Mexico by roughly AD 800, and perhaps as early as AD 600...

) suggests either contact of that region with Andean cultures or separate discovery of the technology.

Japan



The Jōmon period
Jomon period
The is the time in Japanese prehistory from about 14,000 BC to 300 BC.The term jōmon means "cord-patterned" in Japanese. This refers to the pottery style characteristic of the Jōmon culture, and which has markings made using sticks with cords wrapped around them...

 lasted until 500 BC and, after the end of the period, the Japanese experienced the introduction of bronze and iron simultaneously. Chinese technologies were adopted in the Korean peninsula and spread to the Japanese. Iron was mainly used for agricultural and other tools; whereas, ritual and ceremonial artifacts were mainly made of bronze.

Africa



Although North Africa was influenced to certain extent by European Bronze Age cultures (for examples, traces of the Bell beaker tradition are found in Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

), Africa did not develop its own metallurgy until the Phoenician colonization (ca. 1100 BC) of North Africa and remained attached to the Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 way of life. The civilization of the Ancient Egypt, whose influence did not cover the rest of Africa, was rather an exception from this rule as regarding the whole range of ancient cultures of Africa.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, inhabitants at Termit, in eastern Niger became the first iron smelting people in West Africa and among the first in the world around 1500 BC. Iron and copper working then continued to spread southward through the continent, reaching the Cape around AD 200. The widespread use of iron revolutionized the Bantu-speaking farming communities who adopted it, driving out and absorbing the rock tool using hunter-gatherer societies they encountered as they expanded to farm wider areas of savannah. The technologically superior Bantu-speakers spread across southern Africa and became wealthy and powerful, producing iron for tools and weapons in large, industrial quantities.
In the region of the Aïr Mountains in Niger we have the development of independent copper smelting between 3000–2500 BC. The process was not in a developed state, indication smelting was not foreign. It became mature about the 1500 BC.

See also

  • Oxhide ingot
  • Synoptic table of the principal old world prehistoric cultures
    Synoptic table of the principal old world prehistoric cultures
    The synoptic table of the principal old world prehistoric cultures gives a rough picture of the relationships between the various principal cultures of prehistory outside the Americas, Antarctica, Australia and Oceania...

  • Middle Bronze Age migrations (Ancient Near East)
  • Namazga V and Altyndepe

Seafaring

  • Dover bronze age boat
    Dover Bronze Age Boat
    Dover Bronze Age boat is one of the few Bronze Age boats to be found in Britain. It dates to 1575-1520BC. The boat was made using oak planks sewn together with yew lashings. This technique has a long tradition of use in British prehistory; the oldest known examples are from Ferriby in east Yorkshire...

     — the earliest known seagoing plank-built vessel
  • Ferriby Boats
    Ferriby Boats
    The Ferriby Boats are three Bronze Age sewn plank-built boats, parts of which were discovered at North Ferriby in the East Riding of the English county of Yorkshire...

  • Langdon Bay hoard — see also Dover Museum

External links




Seafaring