EXPLOREMY LIBRARY
Culture & Literature
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.

Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
Future Publishing Ltd
Frequency:
One-off
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R 132,20

in this issue

1 min.
welcome to bronze age

The Bronze Age is often seen as an age of mystery and magic, but it’s also the age in which civilisation as we know it began. The discovery of bronze created something much more complex than an alloy of copper and tin: it created the technologies and trade networks needed to acquire and process those raw materials. It tamed horses, built sailing ships and wheeled vehicles to transport goods, brought people together in larger communities, and built walls and social structures around them; it created systems of writing so that they could keep tallies of trade and write letters to each other across bigger distances than many people had ever travelled before. The story of the Bronze Age is the story of how our world began, and you can discover…

2 min.
the age of bronze

Bronze Age is a loaded term. Many are happy to use it as an insult to call something backwards. Yet the more we study it the more remarkable the Bronze Age seems as a moment of transition and of startling innovation. Bronze is definitely not a loser’s metal. There is no global consensus as to when the Bronze Age occurred. Bronze, an alloy of copper with arsenic or tin, was first produced in large quantities around 3300 BCE in Mesopotamia. In Britain, on the other hand, bronze only became a common material around 2100 BCE. When talking about the Bronze Age we must be aware that it happened in different place and at different times. Also, no one at the time realised they were living in the age of bronze; it…

3 min.
timeline

Trade Evidence exists of obsidian being traded in the Neolithic. Widespread exchange of natural and precious goods created complex trade webs that spurred innovation and brought scarce materials, such as tin, into new areas. Before 5th millennium BCE DEFINING MOMENT Bronze 5th millennium BCE The first attempts to create a more durable metal than copper involved alloying it with arsenic, making arsenic bronze. Copper often exists naturally with arsenic in ores and so its discovery may have been accidental. As trade developed with areas containing tin, it was used instead to create bronze. The difficulties of sourcing tin and finding the correct ratio of copper to tin show a great amount of sophistication. Bronze was used to first create high status items like axes, daggers, and decorative items. As the technology spread, it allowed stronger…

5 min.
inventing the bronze age

Archaeologists will tell you that in their world “Context is king.” Where an artefact is found and the items found alongside it are often just as important as the physical object itself. The relationships between finds can tell us a great deal about the past. One of the first to think about archaeology in this way was Christian Jürgensen Thomsen – father of the Bronze Age. CURATING THE PAST People have always been fascinated by the past. The Roman statesman Cicero went looking for the lost and forgotten tomb of the mathematician Archimedes in 75 BCE while in the 2nd century CE Pausanias wrote ten books describing Greece and the ancient sites that could be found there. His work was used as a guide for hundreds of years for those seeking out…

1 min.
the age of glass

Some found CJ Thomsen’s three-age system of prehistory to be too neat. They mockingly asked him why he did not include a Glass Age in his theory. Thomsen had a ready answer for his detractors – glass was found alongside artefacts from the Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages. When Thomsen grouped together his finds by where they were found, he discovered that glass beads were found with stone, bronze, and iron tools. Glass bowls, however, were only found alongside iron discoveries and offered further confirmation that the Iron Age occurred after the Bronze as bowls are much more difficult to manufacture. Glass was likely discovered in Mesopotamia around 3600 BCE, with small beads being the first objects made. These glass beads were transported into areas, such as northern Europe, which were still…

5 min.
imagining the bronze age

It is not only modern archaeologists who look back on the Bronze Age with wonder. The ancient Greeks who saw the towering walls and heavy blocks of Mycenaean monuments could not believe they were built by men at all. For them these were the remains of structures erected by the Cyclopes of legend. To reconstruct their past they relied on mythology to make sense of the fragmentary remains and artefacts they found. Still, sometimes they came remarkably close to the truth. THE DESCENT OF MAN One of the earliest extant works of Greek literature is Hesiod’s Works and Days. This poem, probably written around 700 BCE, gives a vivid view into what life was like in early Greece. Addressed to Hesiod’s layabout brother, the poem describes many aspects of farming. Perseus skips…