... Jerusalem ... 22 Just as the new earth and the new heavens will endure by my power, so your descendants and your name will endure ... Isaiah 66 (GNT), 18 ... Jerusalem will be rebuilt, and its PALACE restored. Jeremiah 30:18 (GNT)


Israel's boarders through ages:kingdoms and empires, maps part 1 of 7 - Mettalurgy

Bronze and Iron Age

The Middle East had been of extremely importance for the development of metallurgy in ancient history, both as a source for certain raw materials needed to make metal alloys and as a provider of the necessary routes for trade between the peoples at that time.

The Bronze Age
The beginning of recorded history, written history c. 4th millennium BCE, marked the start of the Bronze Age. This period was preceded by the Stone Age, which ended between 6000-2000 BCE, and followed by the Iron Age, c. 1200 BC-700 CE. These are the three-age Stone-Bronze-Iron system proposed by the Danish antiquarian Christian Jürgensen Thomsen in modern times for classification and study of ancient societies. The Copper Age is considered part of the Bronze Age and not of the Stone Age because of the use of metals instead of stone.

Metallurgic diffusion, source: Wikipedia

The Bronze Age started in the Middle East, from 3600 to 1200 BCE, until the beginning of the Iron Age, 2000-1000 BCE. In Southern Europe the Bronze Age started around 3200 BCE, in Northern Europe centuries later about 2500 BCE and lasted until the beginning of the Iron Age in Northern Europe 600 BCE. This period was characterized by the use of copper, its alloy bronze and the emerging of proto-writing - early writing system in the 3rd millennium BCE - in Eurasia, the continental landmass of Europe and Asia. Its also the period of other features of urban civilization.

Bronze is an alloy of primarily copper and usually with tin as additive. It made it possible for people to make objects that were harder and more durable, such as armour and various building materials, then those made in the previous ages of stone and copper. Brass - copper with zinc additive - is a copper alloy that is believed to be known by the Greeks and came more in use by the Romans.  

Initially arsenic bronze was made out of copper and arsenic - toxic material - a raw material in the Middle East, or directly from naturally or artificially mixed ores of those. Its only later about 4000 years after the discovery of copper smelting that tin bronze, which was stronger and easier cast than arsenic bronze, was made by adding tin - not toxic material - to copper during a more easily to control alloying process.

Metal production in ancient Middle East, source: Wikipedia
Ores of copper and tin are rarely found together, so producing bronze always involved trade. Sources and trade of these materials had a major influence on developing cultures in ancient times in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East and Europe.

An example of the usage of bronze was the gates of the Temple of Jerusalem for which Corinthian bronze made by depletion gilding - surface enrichment - was used. Depletion gilding was most used in Egypt, Alexandria, where alchemy is thought to have begun. Other practical uses for bronze were in holistic medical science in ancient India, for surgical instruments and other medical equipment. The Egyptians also used it for medical applications and to sterilize water.

The Iron Age
The Iron Age (c. 1200 BCE-700 CE) marked by iron as the substance mainly used in society for many different purposes. The Iron Age distinguished itself from the preceding ages by the introduction of alphabetical characters and the consequent development of written languages.
The Bronze Age gave way to the Iron Age because Iron was easier to find and to process into poor grade metal and with more effort into higher grades. Although Bronze was still used during the Iron Age. As iron working improved, iron became cheaper and gradually people learned how to make steel, which was stronger than bronze and could maintain a sharper edge longer.

Author: © Mrs A. vd Laan-LeitoPosted in: History