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The Bronze Age: A Move From Neolithic to Iron Age Essay

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Updated: Jul 12th, 2021

Introduction

The Bronze Age is a historical era in the early development of urban civilization. It is the mid-tier period in the classification of ancient societies following the evolution of tools from stone (Neolithic period) to bronze and then the Iron Age. The key defining element of the Bronze age was the presence of metal in most of the tools used by society. It is argued by historians whether the term Bronze age is applicable if it had not become the primary metal in practical tools, even if it was adapted for some manner of decorative purposes. The Bronze Age ultimately led to the widespread adoption of metal in other technologies, such as agricultural tools and more advanced weaponry. Along with it came breakthroughs in early literacy, irrigation, the wheel, ceramics: technologies that benefited either directly from bronzemaking or indirectly through more efficiency and free time (Earle, 2018).

Main body

The primary prerequisite of the transition of civilization from the Neolithic Era was the development of smelting technology. It was a complex jump in technological evolution, allowing to derive metal from ores and then smelted and cast into the desired elements and shapes. Copper was one of the first ores and metals to be smelted, serving as a revolutionary jump from the primitiveness and ruggedness of stone tools. However, copper is soft and impractical to use in many tools and weapons. Eventually, by blending it with tin, bronze was produced serving as the metal of choice and the primary ingredient in tools for the duration of the Bronze Age lasting approximately from 3000 BC to 1000 BC (Freeman, 2014).

Conclusion

The Bronze Age is effectively a transition period from the primitive Neolithic Age to the more complex Iron Age civilizations. This period came at a different time for most societies, but historians believe that Ancient Egypt, Indus valley, the Shang dynasty in China, and Mesopotamia achieved it roughly around the same time. The transitional nature differentiated the Bronze Age from the Neolithic Era by its rapid advances in technology and civilizational aspects such as government and trade (Earle, 2018). The main difference with the Iron Age was the metal of primary use which became iron. However, the transition to the Iron Age occurred not because iron is necessarily better than bronze in hardness and longevity. It happened because iron is more common than copper and tin, eliminating the need for additional smelting and allowing for the first elements of mass production to take place which were not possible during the Bronze Age, greatly revolutionizing aspects of civilization.

References

Cline, E. H. (2015). 1177 B.C.: The year civilization collapsed. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Earle, T. (2018). Bronze Age economics. New York, NY: Routledge.

Freeman, C. (2014). Egypt, Greece and Rome: Civilizations of the ancient Mediterranean (3nd ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Martin, T. R. (2000). Ancient Greece: From prehistoric to Hellenistic times. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

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"The Bronze Age: A Move From Neolithic to Iron Age." IvyPanda, 12 July 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/the-bronze-age-a-move-from-neolithic-to-iron-age/.

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IvyPanda. "The Bronze Age: A Move From Neolithic to Iron Age." July 12, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-bronze-age-a-move-from-neolithic-to-iron-age/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "The Bronze Age: A Move From Neolithic to Iron Age." July 12, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-bronze-age-a-move-from-neolithic-to-iron-age/.

References

IvyPanda. (2021) 'The Bronze Age: A Move From Neolithic to Iron Age'. 12 July.

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