Iron Age - Wikipedia
Framework middle Bronze Age and Iron Age survey in spatial and chronological terms. Aim to highlight points of comparison and contrasts between sites, and allow patterns in the . relationship to a wider first millennium BC cultural system. The three-age system is the categorization of history into time periods divisible by three; for example, the Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age, although it also refers .. Westropp goes on to define "different epochs of flint, stone, bronze or iron; " He never did distinguish the flint from the stone age (having realized they were. The Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age are three period of history identified by the way people made tools and weapons. Different ancient civilizations.
But, during the s they achieved independence from textual chronologies and relied mainly on typology and stratigraphy.
In he opened the first Museum of Northern Antiquities, in Copenhagen, in a former monastery, to house the collections. Like the other antiquarians Thomsen undoubtedly knew of the three-age model of prehistory through the works of Lucretiusthe Dane Vedel Simonsen, Montfaucon and Mahudel. Sorting the material in the collection chronologically  he mapped out which kinds of artifacts co-occurred in deposits and which did not, as this arrangement would allow him to discern any trends that were exclusive to certain periods.
In this way he discovered that stone tools did not co-occur with bronze or iron in the earliest deposits while subsequently bronze did not co-occur with iron - so that three periods could be defined by their available materials, stone, bronze and iron. To Thomsen the find circumstances were the key to dating. This analysis emphasizing co-occurrence and systematic attention to archaeological context allowed Thomsen to build a chronological framework of the materials in the collection and to classify new finds in relation to the established chronology, even without much knowledge of their provenience.
In this way, Thomsen's system was a true chronological system rather than an evolutionary or technological system. By Thomsen was so certain of the utility of his methods that he circulated a pamphlet, "Scandinavian Artifacts and Their Preservation, advising archaeologists to "observe the greatest care" to note the context of each artifact.
The pamphlet had an immediate effect. Results reported to him confirmed the universality of the Three-age System. Thomsen also published in and articles in the Nordisk Tidsskrift for Oldkyndighed, "Scandinavian Journal of Archaeology. Reconstructed Iron Age home in Spain Thomsen was the first to perceive typologies of grave goods, grave types, methods of burial, pottery and decorative motifs, and to assign these types to layers found in excavation.
His published and personal advice to Danish archaeologists concerning the best methods of excavation produced immediate results that not only verified his system empirically but placed Denmark in the forefront of European archaeology for at least a generation.
He became a national authority when C. The system has since been expanded by further subdivision of each era, and refined through further archaeological and anthropological finds. Stone Age subdivisions[ edit ] The savagery and civilization of Sir John Lubbock[ edit ] It was to be a full generation before British archaeology caught up with the Danish.
When it did, the leading figure was another multi-talented man of independent means: John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury. After reviewing the Three-age System from Lucretius to Thomsen, Lubbock improved it and took it to another level, that of cultural anthropology.
Thomsen had been concerned with techniques of archaeological classification. Lubbock found correlations with the customs of savages and civilization. This we may call the 'Palaeolithic' Period.
This we may call the 'Neolithic' Period. For the interpretation of Palaeolithic artifacts, Lubbock, pointing out that the times are beyond the reach of history and tradition, suggests an analogy, which was adopted by the anthropologists. Just as the paleontologist uses modern elephants to help reconstruct fossil pachyderms, so the archaeologist is justified in using the customs of the "non-metallic savages" of today to understand "the early races which inhabited our continent.
In reality the very reverse in the case. Their real condition is even worse and more abject than that which I have endeavoured to depict. The elusive Mesolithic of Hodder Westropp[ edit ] Bone harpoon studded with microliths, a Mode 5 composite hunting implement.
They were applied, however, in two different senses: In Ernst Haeckel in 20 public lectures in Jenaentitled General Morphology, to be published inreferred to the Archaeolithic, the Palaeolithic, the Mesolithic and the Caenolithic as periods in geologic history. None of these terms appear anywhere, including the writings of Haeckel, before Haeckel's use was innovative. Westropp first used Mesolithic and Caenolithic inalmost immediately after the publication of Lubbock's first edition.
He read a paper on the topic before the Anthropological Society of London inpublished in in the Memoirs. Westropp goes on to define "different epochs of flint, stone, bronze or iron; He was careful to qualify these by stating: Lubbock's savagery was now Westropp's barbarism.
At that time he restored Lubbock's Neolithic and defined a Stone Age divided into three phases and five stages.
The First Stage, "Implements of the Gravel Drift," contains implements that were "roughly knocked into shape. Today they are in the Lower Palaeolithic.
The Second Stage, "Flint Flakes" are of the "simplest form" and were struck off cores. His illustrations, however, show Modes 3 and 4, of the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic. His extensive lithic analysis leaves no doubt.
They are, however, part of Westropp's Mesolithic. The Third Stage, "a more advanced stage" in which "flint flakes were carefully chipped into shape," produced small arrowheads from shattering a piece of flint into "a hundred pieces", selecting the most suitable and working it with a punch.
His Mesolithic is therefore partly the same as the modern. Westropp's agriculture is removed to the Bronze Age, while his Neolithic is pastoral. The Mesolithic is reserved to hunters. Piette finds the Mesolithic[ edit ] Mas-d'Azil Grotto In that same year,Sir John Evans produced a massive work, The Ancient Stone Implements, in which he in effect repudiated the Mesolithic, making a point to ignore it, denying it by name in later editions.
Evans did not, however, follow Lubbock's general trend, which was typological classification. He chose instead to use type of find site as the main criterion, following Lubbock's descriptive terms, such as tools of the drift. The periodization is not strictly tied to the presence of ferrous metallurgy and is to some extent a matter of convention.
The characteristic of an Iron Age culture is mass production of tools and weapons made from steeltypically alloys with a carbon content between approximately 0. To this day bronze and brass have not been replaced in many applications, with the spread of steel being based as much on economics as on metallurical advancements.
A range of techniques have been used to produce steel from smelted ironincluding techniques such as case-hardening and forge welding that were used to make cutting edges stronger. In Chinathere is no recognizable prehistoric period characterized by ironworking, as Bronze Age China transitions almost directly into the Qin dynasty of imperial China; "Iron Age" in the context of China is sometimes used for the transitonal period of c.
Archaeopress: Publishers of Academic Archaeology
The following gives an overview over the different conventions delimiting the "Iron Age" for various regions of the Old Worldwith indication of the subsequent historical epoch. Early ferrous metallurgy[ edit ] Main articles: They have been identified as meteoric iron shaped by careful hammering. High-quality domesticated plants are energy-rich and relatively easy to produce; high-quality domesticated animals also have these characteristics, as well as provision of labour and non-food animal products.
The Eurasian advantage in domesticatable animals is particularly striking. Peoples across this region were blessed with goats, sheep, pigs, horses, and cattle among others ; notably, the latter two animals could be harnessed for heavy labour, including ploughing which amplified farming production and transportation. In fact, only fourteen large animal species that is, animals in excess of pounds have ever been domesticated, and only one of these is native to a region outside Eurasia: In a given region, the bronze age is considered to begin when bronze becomes a much-used material for practical objects i.
The term "bronze age" is generally not applied if only a few bronze tools are being made, or if bronze is only being used for jewellery. The key prerequisite to the bronze age was the development of smelting the process of extracting metal from ore. Once a sufficient volume of metal has been smelted, it can be hammered or cast melted and poured into a mould into a desired shape. Smelting technology first emerged in Southwest Asia.
Being a rather soft metal, copper was not a dramatic improvement over stone for the crafting of tools and weapons. It was eventually discovered, however, that by blending copper with tin, one obtains a much harder metal: Occasionally, other elements were used instead of tin.