2000–700 BC) Erlitou, Erligang arsenical bronze writing, literature sword, chariot ↓ Iron Age The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of bronze, proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the three-age Stone-Bronze-Iron system, as proposed in modern times by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen, for classifying and studying ancient societies. An ancient civilization is defined to be in the Bronze Age either by smelting its own copper and alloying with tin, arsenic, or other metals, or by trading for bronze from production areas elsewhere. Copper-tin ores are rare, as reflected in the fact that there were no tin bronzes in Western Asia before trading in bronze began in the third millennium BC. Worldwide, the Bronze Age generally followed the Neolithic period, with the Chalcolithic serving as a transition. Although the Iron Age generally followed the Bronze Age, in some areas (such as Sub-Saharan Africa), the Iron Age intruded directly on the Neolithic from outside the region.
 Bronze Age cultures differed in their development of the first writing. According to archaeological evidence, cultures in Mesopotamia ( cuneiform) and Egypt ( hieroglyphs) developed the earliest viable writing systems. Contents 1 History 1.1 Near East 1.1.1 Near East timeline 1.1.2 Age sub-divisions 1.1.3 Mesopotamia 1.1.4 Iranian Plateau 1.1.5 Anatolia 1.1.6 Levant 1.1.7 Ancient Egypt 18.104.22.168 Early Bronze dynasties 22.214.171.124 Middle Bronze dynasties 126.96.36.199 Late Bronze dynasties 1.2 Central Asia 1.2.1 Seima-Turbino Phenomenon 1.3 East Asia 1.3.1 East Asia timeline 1.3.2 China 1.3.3 Korea 1.4 South Asia 1.4.1 South Asia timeline 1.4.2 Indus Valley 1.5 Southeast Asia 1.6 Europe 1.6.1 European timeline 1.6.2 Aegean 188.8.131.52 Aegean Collapse 1.6.3 Central Europe 1.6.4 South Europe 1.6.5 West Europe 184.108.40.206 Atlantic Bronze Age 220.127.116.11 Great Britain 18.104.22.168 Ireland 1.6.6 North Europe 1.6.7 Caucasus 1.6.8 Pontic–Caspian steppe 1.7 Americas 2 Outside the Bronze Age 2.1 Japan 2.2 Africa 3 Trade in the Bronze Age 4 See also 4.1 Seafaring 5 Notes 6 References 7 Further reading 8 External links 8.1 Seafaring History [ edit ] The overall period is characterized by widespread use of bronze, though the place and time of the introduction and development of bronze technology were not universally synchronous.  Human-made tin bronze technology requires set production techniques. Tin must be mined (mainly as the tin ore cassiterite) and smelted separately, then added to molten copper to make bronze alloy.
The Bronze Age was a time of extensive use of metals and of developing trade networks (See Tin sources and trade in ancient times). A 2013 report suggests that the earliest tin-alloy bronze dates to the mid-5th millennium BC in a Vinča culture site in Pločnik ( Serbia), although the civilization is not conventionally considered part of the Bronze Age.  The dating of the foil has been disputed.    Near East [ edit ] Main article: Ancient Near East The Bronze Age in the ancient Near East began with the rise of Sumer in the 4th millennium BC. Cultures in the ancient Near East (often called, one of the cradles of civilization ) practiced intensive year-round agriculture, developed a writing system, invented the potter s wheel, created a centralized government, law codes, and empires, and introduced social stratification, slavery, and organized warfare. Societies in the region laid the foundations for astronomy and mathematics.
Near East timeline [ edit ] Dates are approximate, consult particular article for details Age sub-divisions [ edit ] The Ancient Near East Bronze Age can be divided as follows: Near East Bronze Age Divisions The archetypal Bronze Age divisions of the Near East have a well-established triadic clearness of expression. The period dates and phases below are solely applicable to the Near East and thus not applicable universally.    Early Bronze Age (EBA) 3300–2100 BC 3300–3000: EBA I 3000–2700: EBA II 2700–2200: EBA III 2200–2100: EBA IV Middle Bronze Age (MBA) Also, Intermediate Bronze Age (IBA) 2100–1550 BC 2100–2000: MBA I 2000–1750: MBA II A 1750–1650: MBA II B 1650–1550: MBA II C Late Bronze Age (LBA) 1550–1200 BC 1550–1400: LBA I 1400–1300: LBA II A 1300–1200: LBA II B ( Bronze Age collapse) Main article: Ancient Mesopotamia In Mesopotamia, the Mesopotamian Bronze Age began about 2900 BC and ended with the Kassite period (c.
1500 BC - c.1155 BC). The usual tripartite division into an Early, Middle and Late Bronze Age is not used. Instead, a division primarily based on art-historical and historical characteristics is more common. The cities of the Ancient Near East housed several tens of thousands of people. Ur in the Middle Bronze Age and Babylon in the Late Bronze Age similarly had large populations. The earliest mention of Babylonia appears on a tablet from the reign of Sargon of Akkad in the 23rd century BC.
The Amorite dynasty established the city-state of Babylon in the 19th century BC. Over 100 years later, it briefly took over the other city-states and formed the first Babylonian empire during what is also called the Old Babylonian Period. Babylonia adopted the written Semitic Akkadian language for official use. By that time, the Sumerian language was no longer spoken, but was still in religious use.
The Akkadian and Sumerian traditions played a major role in later Babylonian culture, and the region, even under outside rule, remained an important cultural center throughout the Bronze and Early Iron Age. [ clarification needed] Iranian Plateau [ edit ] Persian Bronze Age Further information: Persian plateau Elam was an ancient civilization located to the east of Mesopotamia. In the Old Elamite period (Middle Bronze Age), Elam consisted of kingdoms on the Iranian plateau, centered in Anshan, and from the mid-2nd millennium BC, it was centered in Susa in the Khuzestan lowlands. Its culture played a crucial role in the Gutian Empire and especially during the Achaemenid dynasty that succeeded it. The Oxus civilization  was a Bronze Age Central Asian culture dated to ca.
2300–1700 BC and centered on the upper Amu Darya (Oxus). In the Early Bronze Age the culture of the Kopet Dag oases and Altyn-Depe developed a proto-urban society. This corresponds to level IV at Namazga-Depe. Altyn-Depe was a major centre even then. Pottery was wheel-turned.
Grapes were grown. The height of this urban development was reached in the Middle Bronze Age c. 2300 BC, corresponding to level V at Namazga-Depe.
 This Bronze Age culture is called the Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex (BMAC). The Kulli culture,   similar to those of the Indus Valley Civilization, was located in southern Balochistan (Gedrosia) ca. 2500–2000 BC. Agriculture was the economical base of this people. At several places dams were found, providing evidence for a highly developed water management system. Konar Sandal is associated with the hypothesized Jiroft culture , a 3rd-millennium-BC culture postulated on the basis of a collection of artifacts confiscated in 2001.
Anatolia [ edit ] Main article: Bronze Age Anatolia The Hittite Empire was established in Hattusa in northern Anatolia from the 18th century BC. In the 14th century BC, the Hittite Kingdom was at its height, encompassing central Anatolia, southwestern Syria as far as Ugarit, and upper Mesopotamia. After 1180 BC, amid general turmoil in the Levant conjectured to have been associated with the sudden arrival of the Sea Peoples,   the kingdom disintegrated into several independent Neo-Hittite city-states, some of which survived until as late as the 8th century BC. Arzawa in Western Anatolia during the second half of the second millennium BC likely extended along southern Anatolia in a belt that reaches from near the Turkish Lakes Region to the Aegean coast. Arzawa was the western neighbor sometimes a rival and sometimes a vassal of the Middle and New Hittite Kingdoms. The Assuwa league was a confederation of states in western Anatolia that was defeated by the Hittites under an earlier Tudhaliya I, around 1400 BC.
Arzawa has been associated with the much more obscure Assuwa generally located to its north. It probably bordered it, and may even be an alternative term for it (at least during some periods). Levant [ edit ] Mediterranean Bronze Age Further information: Canaan, Prehistory of the Levant, and List of archaeological periods (Levant) In modern scholarship the chronology of the Bronze Age Levant is divided into Early/Proto Syrian; corresponding to the Early Bronze. Old Syrian; corresponding to the Middle Bronze. Middle Syrian; corresponding to the Late Bronze.
The term Neo-Syria is used to designate the early Iron Age.  The old Syrian period was dominated by the Eblaite first kingdom, Nagar and the Mariote second kingdom. The Akkadian conquered large areas of the Levant and were followed by the Amorite kingdoms, ca. 2000–1600 BC, which arose in Mari, Yamhad, Qatna, Assyria,  From the 15th century BCE onward, the term Amurru is usually applied to the region extending north of Canaan as far as Kadesh on the Orontes River.
The earliest known Ugarit contact with Egypt (and the first exact dating of Ugaritic civilization) comes from a carnelian bead identified with the Middle Kingdom pharaoh Senusret I, 1971 BC–1926 BC. A stela and a statuette from the Egyptian pharaohs Senusret III and Amenemhet III have also been found. However, it is unclear at what time these monuments got to Ugarit. In the Amarna letters, messages from Ugarit ca. 1350 BC written by Ammittamru I, Niqmaddu II, and his queen, were discovered.
From the 16th to the 13th century BC Ugarit remained in constant touch with Egypt and Cyprus (named Alashiya). The Mitanni was a loosely organized state in northern Syria and south-east Anatolia from ca. 1500 BC–1300 BC. Founded by an Indo-Aryan ruling class that governed a predominately Hurrian population, Mitanni came to be a regional power after the Hittite destruction of Kassite Babylon created a power vacuum in Mesopotamia. At its beginning, Mitanni s major rival was Egypt under the Thutmosids.
However, with the ascent of the Hittite empire, Mitanni and Egypt made an alliance to protect their mutual interests from the threat of Hittite domination. At the height of its power, during the 14th century BC, it had outposts centered on its capital, Washukanni, which archaeologists have located on the headwaters of the Khabur River. Eventually, Mitanni succumbed to Hittite, and later Assyrian attacks, and was reduced to a province of the Middle Assyrian Empire. The Israelites were an ancient Semitic-speaking people of the Ancient Near East who inhabited part of Canaan during the tribal and monarchic periods (15th to 6th centuries BC),      and lived in the region in smaller numbers after the fall of the monarchy. The name Israel first appears c.
1209 BC, at the end of the Late Bronze Age and the very beginning of the Iron Age, on the Merneptah Stele raised by the Egyptian Pharaoh Merneptah. The Arameans were a Northwest Semitic semi-nomadic and pastoralist people who originated in what is now modern Syria (Biblical Aram) during the Late Bronze Age and the early Iron Age. Large groups migrated to Mesopotamia, where they intermingled with the native Akkadian (Assyrian and Babylonian) population. The Aramaeans never had a unified empire; they were divided into independent kingdoms all across the Near East. After the Bronze Age collapse, their political influence was confined to a number of Syro-Hittite states, which were entirely absorbed into the Neo-Assyrian Empire by the 8th century BC. Ancient Egypt [ edit ] Sphinx-lion of Thutmose III 1479–1425 BC In Ancient Egypt the Bronze Age begins in the Protodynastic period, c.
3150 BC. The archaic early Bronze Age of Egypt, known as the Early Dynastic Period of Egypt,   immediately follows the unification of Lower and Upper Egypt, c. 3100 BC. It is generally taken to include the First and Second Dynasties, lasting from the Protodynastic Period of Egypt until about 2686 BC, or the beginning of the Old Kingdom. With the First Dynasty, the capital moved from Abydos to Memphis with a unified Egypt ruled by an Egyptian god-king. Abydos remained the major holy land in the south.
The hallmarks of ancient Egyptian civilization, such as art, architecture and many aspects of religion, took shape during the Early Dynastic period. Memphis in the Early Bronze Age was the largest city of the time. The Old Kingdom of the regional Bronze Age  is the name given to the period in the 3rd millennium BC when Egypt attained its first continuous peak of civilization in complexity and achievement – the first of three Kingdom periods, which mark the high points of civilization in the lower Nile Valley (the others being Middle Kingdom and the New Kingdom). The First Intermediate Period of Egypt,  often described as a dark period in ancient Egyptian history, spanned about 100 years after the end of the Old Kingdom from about 2181 to 2055 BC. Very little monumental evidence survives from this period, especially from the early part of it.
The First Intermediate Period was a dynamic time when rule of Egypt was roughly divided between two competing power bases: Heracleopolis in Lower Egypt and Thebes in Upper Egypt. These two kingdoms would eventually come into conflict, with the Theban kings conquering the north, resulting in reunification of Egypt under a single ruler during the second part of the 11th Dynasty. Middle Bronze dynasties [ edit ] The Middle Kingdom of Egypt lasted from 2055 to 1650 BC.
During this period, the Osiris funerary cult rose to dominate Egyptian popular religion. The period comprises two phases: the 11th Dynasty, which ruled from Thebes and the 12th  and 13th Dynasties centered on el-Lisht. The unified kingdom was previously considered to comprise the 11th and 12th Dynasties, but historians now at least partially consider the 13th Dynasty to belong to the Middle Kingdom. During the Second Intermediate Period,  Ancient Egypt fell into disarray for a second time, between the end of the Middle Kingdom and the start of the New Kingdom. It is best known for the Hyksos, whose reign comprised the 15th and 16th dynasties. The Hyksos first appeared in Egypt during the 11th Dynasty, began their climb to power in the 13th Dynasty, and emerged from the Second Intermediate Period in control of Avaris and the Delta.
By the 15th Dynasty, they ruled lower Egypt, and they were expelled at the end of the 17th Dynasty. Late Bronze dynasties [ edit ] The New Kingdom of Egypt, also referred to as the Egyptian Empire, lasted from the 16th to the 11th century BC. The New Kingdom followed the Second Intermediate Period and was succeeded by the Third Intermediate Period. It was Egypt s most prosperous time and marked the peak of Egypt s power. The later New Kingdom, i.e. the 19th and 20th Dynasties (1292–1069 BC), is also known as the Ramesside period, after the eleven pharaohs that took the name of Ramesses.
Central Asia [ edit ] Seima-Turbino Phenomenon [ edit ] Main article: Seima-Turbino Phenomenon The Altai Mountains in what is now southern Russia and central Mongolia have been identified as the point of origin of a cultural enigma termed the Seima-Turbino Phenomenon.  It is conjectured that changes in climate in this region around 2000 BC and the ensuing ecological, economic and political changes triggered a rapid and massive migration westward into northeast Europe, eastward into China and southward into Vietnam and Thailand  across a frontier of some 4,000 miles.  This migration took place in just five to six generations and led to peoples from Finland in the west to Thailand in the east employing the same metal working technology and, in some areas, horse breeding and riding.  It is further conjectured that the same migrations spread the Uralic group of languages across Europe and Asia: some 39 languages of this group are still extant, including Hungarian, Finnish and Estonian.  However, recent genetic testings of sites in south Siberia and Kazakhstan ( Andronovo horizon) would rather support a spreading of the bronze technology via Indo-European migrations eastwards, as this technology was well known for quite a while in western regions.
  East Asia [ edit ] East Asia timeline [ edit ] Dates are approximate, consult particular article for details Further information: History of China Historians disagree about the dates of a Bronze Age in China. The difficulty lies in the term Bronze Age , as it has been applied to signify a period in history when bronze tools replaced stone tools, and, later, were themselves replaced by iron ones. The medium of the new Age made that of the old obsolete.
In China, however, any attempt to establish a definite set of dates for a Bronze Age is complicated by two factors: arrival of iron smelting technology, and persistence of bronze objects. The earliest bronze artifacts have been found in the Majiayao culture site (between 3100 and 2700 BC),   and from then on, the society gradually grew into the Bronze Age. Bronze metallurgy in China originated in what is referred to as the Erlitou ( Wade–Giles: Erh-li-t ou) period, which some historians.