We explain what the Metal Age is, its characteristics and stages. Also, the most important inventions of this era.
What is the Metal Age?
The Metal Age is the second period of prehistory
, after the Stone Age , and took place from 5,000 to 1,000 years BC. C
. It is divided into three stages: the Copper Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age and it stood out for being the prehistoric stage with the most significant changes
and in which the human being began to manipulate metals , such as copper, bronze and iron.
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Only some cultures of the current territories of Europe and Asia Minor managed to achieve knowledge to manipulate metals. Other cultures did not know metalworking until many years later, although they did develop the first writing systems , which is why they are considered as part of ancient history and not prehistory.
The transitions between the stages of the Metal Age were defined, especially, by changes in the way of working metal and, as a consequence, economic and social impacts were generated, which gave rise to the first cities . Populations evolved out of tune and, as they expanded and acquired more territory, knowledge also spread.
Metal Age Characteristics
The Metal Age was characterized by:
- The work of metals such as copper, for the creation of utensils, tools for plowing the earth, decoration and jewelry as accessories.
- Agriculture , which was increased and improved with the use of stone and metal tools, as well as innovative techniques such as irrigation canals.
- The discovery of the mixture of metals through the smelting of two or more elements. Thus arose bronze, after the smelting of copper with tin.
- The use of various metals, such as gold , silver , tin, and lead .
- The invention of the wheel dating from the late Neolithic and early Metal Age. It is estimated that it was created by the Sumerians , the first oldest civilization to live in the Middle East .
- The sedentary tribes that increased in number and density of inhabitants, which gave rise to the first cities.
- The improvement in the construction of houses and, especially, of large temples through the megaliths that consisted of huge stone blocks erected by means of some elevation system.
- The beginning of metallurgy as a trade, which gradually and slowly expanded throughout the world.
Stages of the Metal Age
The Metal Age is divided into the following stages:
- Copper Age. It is the first stage of this era, from 6500 to 3000 BC. C. It was characterized by the growth of sedentary populations, by the creation of the wooden wheel and by the ability of the human being to work various metals, such as copper, in the creation of utensils to plow the earth, arrowheads, vessels and ornaments. Later, the human being discovered that he could melt the metal and allocate it with other elements and thus formed the bronze and gave rise to a new stage.
- Bronze Age . It is the stage that includes from 3000 to 1500 BC. C. It was characterized by the discovery of the alloy of metals after smelting copper with tin to give rise to bronze, a much more resistant metal. The oldest evidences were found on the southern side of Asia and gradually towards North Africa . In parallel, in other territories of the world metals were not yet worked, but the first writing systems were created through cuneiform symbols.
- Iron Age . It is the stage that includes from 1500 to 550 BC. C. or until writing emerged at different times depending on the region of the planet (from then on it is considered the beginning of human history ). The Iron Age was characterized by the use of iron, previously considered a precious metal due to its brilliance. It was much more resistant than the previous metals, especially for the manufacture of weapons and tools. As the population density in the various territories increased, the fighting increased.
Important inventions of the Metal Age
During the Iron Age, and a little earlier too, between 6,000 and 3,000 BC. C., the human being created various inventions that allowed him to make a great evolutionary leap.
Among the most important inventions of this era are:
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- The stone oven that was used to melt metals, make vessels or heat food.
- The ceramics , even, with the manufacture of molds for metal casting.
- The manufacture of weapons and armor for warfare.
- The tissues with single leads.
- The irrigation canals to supply large crops.
- The grain mill for grinding cereals.
- The first log boats and, later, with a kind of sail to be propelled by the wind, which allowed the transport of heavy elements. It is estimated that they were created by the Egyptians.
- The solar calendar .