2nd millennium BCE European Industrial Arts
BRONZE AGE Anonymous
(c. 2000 BCE - c. 500 BCE)
c. 2000 BCE-1000 BCE
2nd millennium BCE
Nevers. Prehistoric Museum.
The Neolithic world was changed by the development of a new technique: metalworking. Jacob Bronowski, the historian of science, noted that in about 5,000 BCE the peoples of Persia and Afghanistan began to systematically create copper by putting the green stone malachite in the fire and watching the red copper flow out. Copper objects were used in the Ancient Near East as well as in early North America primarily for decorative objects, for copper was not hard enough to be used for tools or weapons until other metals were added to it. The most important combination was an alloy of copper and tin which came to be known as bronze. Bronze is thought to have developed both in Anatolia and independently in what is now Vietnam sometime in the 3rd millennium BCE.
This new metal was so important to early people that an entire historical period was named after it: the BRONZE AGE. The Bronze Age did not appear everywhere at the same time. Egypt and the Near East were using bronze by 2500 BCE, and western European were using bronze by about 2000 BCE.
This reconstruction from the Prehistoric Museum in Nevers France shows a smithy that was used in the second millennium BCE. Animal skins were used to create the primitive bellows that were necessary to raise the fire to a hot enough temperature to melt the ores.
BRONZE AGE | Smithy. Reconstruction. | 2nd millennium BCE | European |
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