WHEN WAS THE BRONZE AGE

 

3,800 BC
Bronze Age started in the Middle East
3,300 BC

Bronze Age started in Asia and the Indus Valley

3,150 BC
Bronze Age started in Mesopotamia and ended with the Kassite period
3,200 BC

Bronze Age started in the Aegean Bronze Age

  • Trade networks were used to transport tin and charcoal to Cyprus so that it could be alloyed with the copper mined there to produce bronze
  • Isotopic analysis of tin in some Mediterranean bronze artefacts suggests they may have originated from Britain
2,900 BC
Bronze Age started in Ancient Egypt
2,500 BC

Bronze Age started in Britain

  • Early Bronze Age (2500-1500 BC) - New pottery style arrived referred to as the Beaker culture; long barrows and passage graves are replaced with round barrows for burials
  • Middle Bronze Age (1500-1000 BC) - Growth of population and change in burial practice away from barrow burial, towards cremation in large open cemeteries where ashes were placed in specially-prepared pottery urns
  • Late Bronze Age (1000-700 BC) - Marked by the arrival of new styles of metalwork and pottery and start of the 'Celtic' way of life
2,000 BC
Bronze Age started in Ireland
700 BC

Bronze Age ended in Britain

  • During the late Bronze Age an economic collapse in the value of Bronze seen in the bronze hoards found across the UK
  • It is likely that metal smiths and traders were trying to keep quantities of Bronze out of the market (by burying it) to heighten the value of bronze objects
  • The sheer quantity of bronze in such hoards indicates that it was not only the wealthy who had access to bronze in the later Bronze Age

(There is no clear consensus on the dates for the Bronze Age - date ranges above are indicative only)

LIVING IN THE BRONZE AGE

During the Late Neolithic, a number of immigrants entered Britain at various places and times and brought with them their distinctive bell-shaped beakers (decorated in horizontal zones by finely toothed stamps) and their knowledge of of metalworking, first in copper and gold, then later in bronze. Possibly originally from Spain, their continual search for metals, accelerated the spread of bronze metallurgy across Europe. A warlike group, Becker people were primarily bowmen but were also armed with a flat dagger or spearhead of copper and a curved, rectangular wrist guard made of bone or slate.

Bronze Age people lived in farming communities, rather than the small family clans of the previous Stone Age. Dwellings were usually circular with a wattle-and-daub wall or dry stone wall and thatched or turfed roof over a cone of wooden beams. The house had a single entrance and a central hearth around which people slept. Clothing was mostly wool based, woven with a simple weave, so became more sophisticated than the animal hides mainly worn during the Stone Age. Jewellery was worn, hair managed as people started to care for their appearance. Hunted and "wild" gathered food was no longer a main part of the diet, as farming could sustain more people in one area. Crops were stored of use out-of-season or bartered for other goods.

As well as metal, other crafts continued on from the Stone Age including flintknapping, basketry, bone working, woodworking leather tanning and more. The use of stone tools was more common in the early Bronze Age as not everyone could afford metal objects, but this did not compromise the quality of the flint work from the Bronze Age.

BRONZE AGE PEOPLE
10 BRONZE AGE FACTS
  1. The arrival of bronze was preceded by copper tools of the Chalcolithic or Copper Age
  2. The climate was warmer than today (probably by around 2°C)
  3. It is generally thought that bronze was first brought over to Britain by the Beaker people
  4. Bronze Age people used Tin-Bronze (a composition of 90% copper and 10% tin)
  5. Cornwall was an important source of tin, and copper was often mined in northern Wales
  6. Bronze is much harder than just pure copper and could be poured into moulds to make tools like: axes, spears and daggers
  7. At first only wealthy people could afford bronze and so stone tools were still commonly used throughout the Bronze Age
  8. People started to specialise in crafts, such as metalworking, basketry, bone working, woodworking, boat building or leather tanning
  9. Bronze Age Britons were skilled at making jewellery from gold
  10. Bronze Age burial remains show that migrants travelled to Britain from central Europe
BRONZE AGE INNOVATIONS
  • The Bronze Age saw the widespread adoption of agriculture and use of irrigation
  • The first field systems came to Britain, indicating growing pressure on the land as the numbers of people and animals increased
  • The wheel was introduced during the Bronze Age and people use animal drawn carts
  • The wood lathe was invented and used to turn wood, bone and amber into a variety of objects
  • Knowledge of astronomy and mathematics developed during this period
  • The first forms of writing were developed
  • Organised societies, centralised government and basic laws were created
VISIT BRONZE AGE SITES IN THE UK

 

England

Scotland

Wales

Northern Ireland

 

BRONZE AGE WEBLINKS

 

 

MORE ON THE BRONZE AGE

 


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