Skip to main content

Abstract

This initial chapter briefly reviews the principal ages of materials and metals: the Stone Age, the Copper Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age, spanning some ten millennia. Incidental to these major materials ages, gold and silver are noted as these were initially utilized in native forms, along with copper and iron, which has been identified throughout antiquity in meteoric forms along with nickel. There were ideally eight metals employed in civilizations in antiquity: copper, gold, silver, iron, tin (which when alloyed with copper heralded the Bronze Age), zinc, lead, and mercury.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or eBook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 699.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Hardcover Book
USD 549.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others

Notes

  1. 1.

    FeO does not exist. Common iron oxides include Fe2O3, Fe3O4, or other stoichiometries which in a mixture might be approximated by FeO.

  2. 2.

    Coke is to coal as charcoal is to wood, a fuel concentration of nearly pure carbon. Coke is produced by heating coal in the absence of oxygen to drive off volatile components, leaving a mass of strong, porous carbon.

References

  • Agricola G (1950) De Re Metallica (First Latin edition 1556) (trans: Hoover HC, Hoover LH). Dover Publications, New York

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Lawrence E. Murr .

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2015 Springer International Publishing Switzerland

About this entry

Cite this entry

Murr, L.E. (2015). A Brief History of Metals. In: Handbook of Materials Structures, Properties, Processing and Performance. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-01815-7_1

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics