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Bronze Age

Bronze Age

Bronze Age

Discover the era that changed human civilisation forever: the Bronze Age. From ancient Mesopotamia to northern Europe, explore how a new metal ushered in a new age of innovation.

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United Kingdom
Future Publishing Ltd
6,93 €(TVA Incluse)

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8 min
the indus valley civilisation

In 1826, a British East India Company explorer encountered an ancient city, hitherto known only to the locals, and assumed to be around 1,500 years old. However, within 50 years, the ruins had been stripped of their fired bricks, which rail engineers had quarried for ballast. In the ensuing decades, archaeologists began to piece together the puzzle, unearthing a lost civilisation, far larger and older in scope than previously imagined. The city robbed of its bricks was Harappa, the power capital of the Old World’s largest civilisation, the Indus Valley. The vast civilisation began with the humblest of roots in around 3300 BCE, when villages sprouted along the flood plains of the parallel Indus and Ghaggar-Hakra Rivers. Drawing upon the region’s spectacularly rich hunting and fishing grounds, the Indus soon began…

1 min
the battleground of empires

Conflict in Iraq is, unfortunately, nothing new. The brief flourishing of the Akkadian Empire in Mesopotamia was followed by a Dark Age under the Gutians, with few written documents to shine a light on the era. However, the peoples of the former Akkadian Empire eventually coalesced into two long-lived nations: Assyria in the north and Babylonia in the south. Babylon fell in 539 BCE, when it was conquered by the Achaemenid Empire – the first of the Persian incursions from the east. The next set of invaders came from the west in the form of Alexander the Great in 332 BCE, after whose death Mesopotamia became part of the Greek Seleucid Empire. By 150 BCE, the pendulum had swung back to the east as Mesopotamia came under the control of the Parthian…

3 min
the trundholm sun chariot

In the autumn of 1902, a Danish farmer ploughed his fields for the first time; what he found astounded archaeologists for decades to come. The Trundholm Sun Chariot, a sculpture from the Nordic Bronze Age, was unlike anything seen before. Strangely, the sun chariot did not appear with any other items to give clues to its use or meaning, but little by little archaeologists began to piece together its mystical function, and the symbolism that came with it. While some experts still can’t agree on an exact date since the discovery was made before pollen dating existed, the Nationalmuseet places its origin at around 1400 BCE, the Nordic Bronze Age. The piece is made up of a number of parts: a horse figure that sits on a rod attaching it to…

3 min
the horned viksø helmets

The Viksø helmets, hailing from the Bronze Age, remained hidden in the peat bogs of Brøns Mose, in Viksø, Zealand, from the early first millennium BCE. Almost 3000 years later, a team of diggers went out to the fields in the September of 1942 to collect fuel, when one heard something hard smash underneath his tools. The workmen thought little of their finds: a broken clay vessel and a few bronze fragments, destroyed by their day’s work. Yet, little did they know they had uncovered one of Denmark’s treasures. Archaeologists returned to the site later that year, unearthing more pieces of bronze from the black soil. Little by little, they pieced together the bronze fragments. What emerged astounded them. The pieces formed two bronze helmets unlike anything seen before. “Decorations on the…

1 min
the first pharaoh

The Old Kingdom was the first true age of prosperity and progress for Egypt, but it would have been nothing without the two dynasties that came before it and the man who founded the pharaonic line to begin with. That man was Narmer and, much like many of the leaders and radicals who changed history in the post-Neolithic world, he is a man steeped in myth, legend and mystery. Nevertheless, his actions and decisions at the beginning of the First Dynasty set the precedent for the 29 others that would follow. Narmer ruled sometime during the 31st century BCE and became the first man to unite the states of Upper and Lower Egypt. Of course, for an event that happened so far back in prehistory, most of the information we have…

14 min
how bronze began

The Copper Age saw the first smelting and casting of metal tools. The bright gleam of copper and its ability to be shaped at need would have made it one of the wonders of the age. Yet for all its brilliance there is a flaw in copper – it flashes prettily but bends and deforms easily. You would have a hard time hammering a copper nail into wood. Something harder was needed if metal was to become truly useful. With smelting already invented, all that was needed was for people to learn to mix different kinds of metals together to make alloys. The Bronze Age was to be the age of the alloy. INVENTING BRONZE It can seem counter-intuitive, but alloying two metals together that are both soft can create a material…