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Bronze age


The Bronze Age ...

The bronze age describes a phase of early human history that began in Europe around 2300 to 2200 BC and lasted 1400 years. The name of this historical section refers to the ability to use tin and copper alloys in the manufacture of tools, weapons and many other everyday objects. Science divides this epoch in Central Europe today by means of different funeral forms in the early Bronze Age from 2300 to 1600 BC. Chr., The middle Bronze Age from 1600 to 1250 BC And the late Bronze Age from 1250 to about 750 BC Chr.
The oldest bronze objects found in Egyptian tombs date from the transition period between the fourth and third millennium BC. For the early Bronze Age, the Mesopotamian dynasties of Lagash, Umma and Uruk were groundbreaking. The European Early Bronze Age, which is mainly concentrated in the second millennium BC, is dominated by the Cretan-Mycenaean cultures, the Terramare culture of Italy, the El Agar culture in Spain, the Neuraghen culture in Sardinia and the Andronowo Culture in today's Eastern Europe is significant. Among the important cultures that shaped the middle and late Bronze Age in Central and Northern Europe are Nordic culture in today's Scandinavia and the Lusatian culture in Poland and East Germany.

The evolution of man in the Bronze Age:

The Bronze Age only describes the time when people discovered metal as a material for themselves. Within this epoch, the cultures of different regions continued to develop at different speeds. The beginnings of the Bronze Age can already be found in the Neolithic Age, when people in many regions began to process metals and make various objects out of them. However, they could only use naturally occurring materials such as copper, gold or silver in their pure form. Some scientists describe this transitional phase as copper age, At the beginning of the Bronze Age, humans finally discovered the possibility of making alloys from individual materials and using them to create objects for different areas of life in the course of several work processes.

The discovery of the bronze:

Today it is believed that the discovery of metal mining happened by chance, as people falsely lined fireplaces with ores instead of stones. The heat released a reddish glowing liquid from the ores, which solidified into copper after the fire had cooled. People became aware of these unknown lumps of reddish metal, because they were liquefied by heat and poured into different forms. The possibilities of further processing therefore seemed endless, unlike the materials used up to that point, stone, wood and bone. However, as copper was very flexible and much more brittle when compared to stone when machined with tools, people mixed it with other materials to improve its resistance. This created the copper-tin alloy, which, as a bronze, was the basic requirement for metal processing that determined this era.
The bronze manufacturing and processing technology originated in the Middle East and rapidly spread throughout Europe. Some regions, including Cyprus, Greece, Mesopotamia and Egypt, were particularly important for the spread of bronze, as these countries had large deposits of ore and, through mature social structures, were already targeting trade in goods as far as Northern Europe. Therefore, the beginning of the Bronze Age in the southern civilizations of Africa and Asia, depending on the region dates a few hundred years earlier than in Central and Northern Europe and Central Asia.

Societal Structures in the Bronze Age:

The new material, made of copper and tin, was in high demand everywhere thanks to its inexhaustible potential and produced a flourishing trade with those peoples with large deposits. The bronze gradually became the most important means of payment and brought not only wealth, but also great social upheavals. The basic materials needed for the production of the metal had to be extracted and further processed. In the Bronze Age, for the first time, different professional groups emerged, which had specialized skills and were indispensable for the production of the desired material. The mining, transport and processing of raw materials were associated with high organizational effort and brought miners, bronze foundry and craftsmen such as blacksmiths out. This resulted in a strict separation of those people who worked exclusively in agriculture. Since farmers were now able to trade excess crops and animal products for bronzes, they became a materially well-off layer of society, and were able to increase their fortunes by accumulating bronze. The lives of artisans and traders who made and sold jewelry, tools or weapons from the precious bronze were also characterized by wealth. The associated social differences within a society also brought with it an increased need for security, because those who hoarded the coveted bronze had to protect themselves from attacks and robbery.

Arts and Culture:

With the new material bronze many new possibilities of artistic representations were connected. Not only everyday items such as jugs, pots and dishes, tools and weapons such as swords, spearheads and chariots were made from this metal, but also elaborate jewelry and figures with detailed ornaments.
The social differences in the Bronze Age were also evident in the different funeral rites that speak for a highly developed religious sentiment. People who had amassed a fortune in their lifetime could afford their own tomb and abundant grave goods. As a result, the burials in the Bronze Age continued to develop. In Central and Northern Europe, people were often buried with rich costumes, weapons, ornate belt buckles and jewelry burial mounds, which were also protected by stone buildings. In the further course of the Bronze Age it came to the development of the urn field culture, which brought a uniformity of the grave monuments and a strict organization of the funeral rites with itself. The urn field culture in Europe held its own despite warlike turmoil against the Cretan-Mycenaean and other highly developed cultures of the South, and in the eighth century BC it passed into the Hallstatt culture.