The Bronze Age

  • Anthony F. Harding
Part of the Interdisciplinary Contributions to Archaeology book series (IDCA)


The term “Bronze Age” represents that segment of time that succeeded the New Stone Age (Neolithic) and the Copper Age (a term that is used variably across Europe to indicate the time when copper metallurgy first became widespread). Although the name implies that it was the alloying of copper with tin and other minerals that was important, in fact there are many other aspects that were equally or more significant as defining characteristics of the period. Lying as it does between the period of dominance of small-scale farming societies and the rise of major state-type societies, the Bronze Age is usually considered to represent a crucial developmental phase in European prehistory. During this phase, literacy spread throughout the Eastern Mediterranean area, where large-scale palace-based societies were present. Though it is only developments in Greece (of the various East Mediterranean civilisations) that affect us directly in this chapter, nevertheless the proximity of many European Bronze Age communities to these major socioeconomic units was arguably a major factor in the world of Bronze Age Europe in general. Opinions differ about the extent or importance of links between Greece and the “barbarian” world, but all are agreed that matters such as the movement of prestige goods and metals around the Mediterranean could not have failed to affect societies living on its northern and western shores, and arguably in their hinterlands.


Stone Circle Weft Thread Nordic Area Palace Site Mycenaean Period 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ArchaeologyUniversity of ExeterExeterUK

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