August 19, 2017

When did the Iron Age begin?


Assyrian spear heads from ancient Mesopotamia
Assyrian spear heads from ancient Mesopotamia

Historians often categorize civilizations based on the type of tools and weapons that they used. For example the Stone Age, which lasted approximately from 2.6 million years ago to roughly 2500 BCE, was a period when the more “civilized” people of the time created and used objects made out of stone in their everyday lives. The period of human history after this was known as the Bronze Age. As you may have guessed, this was a period in which people used tools made of this bronze. This age more or less lasted from 3500 BCE to 600 BCE.

Thus, what we now refer to as the Iron Age was a period in which humans used tools and weapons made of iron. This age began around 1500 BCE in parts of Asia and Africa and later on in Europe around 1000 BCE.

Artist conception of an Iron Age settlement in ancient Europe
Artist conception of an Iron Age settlement in ancient Europe

The benefits of using iron tools were tremendous. For one, populations grew because iron tools used for farming were much more efficient than those of stone or bronze, which allowed farmers to grow more food. They also allowed for the creation of stronger weapons. Iron could also be used for the foundation and frames of buildings, making them stronger and better able to withstand earthquakes and the natural elements.

Overall, the benefits of using iron transformed the history of mankind and brought them into the modern era.


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