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Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age Illustration

Archaeology for Kids
Stone, Bronze, Iron Age

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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 developed at different speeds. So you might have one group of early people using bronze tools, while another group was still using stone tools.  Those with better tools had a much easier time conquering other groups of people. The material used to make tool and weapons most definitely had an influence on daily life in ancient times.

Stone Age man did not have sharp claws or strong sharp teeth. He was not larger or stronger than other animals. He could not run like a deer or an antelope. To survive, early man invented and created stone and bone weapons and tools. With these tools, early man could kill and trap those animals he needed for food. With stone axes and spears, he could defend against those animals that thought he might be food. Since many of the tools he created were made out of stone, this is called the Stone Age. The Stone Age is considered to have begun about two million years ago, and ended sometime after the end of the last ice age about ten thousand years ago.

The Bronze Age in ancient China started around 1700 BCE. This is when men learned how to mine copper and tin to make bronze weapons. Bronze is a combination of 10% tin and 90% copper. Bronze weapons are much stronger than stone weapons. The discovery of bronze changed a great many things. For one thing, miners and craftsmen were needed to mine tin and copper, to make bronze weapons. That meant farmers had to learn how to produce more food than they needed because not everyone was farming. That meant weavers and potters were needed to clothe the miners and craftsmen, and to provide pottery containers to the farmers to use to store food. There were many new inventions once the Bronze Age began in ancient China. Most people were still farmers, but labor was getting organized.

The Iron Age followed the Bronze Age. This was the period of time when people made tools of iron. Iron tools were stronger than bronze tools. Weapons were more powerful. Iron weapons began in the Middle East and in southeastern Europe around 1200 BCE. They did not show up in China until around 600 BCE.

The Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age are called the three-age system. The years assigned to each of these ages are ballparked, a guess - they are not accurate because different civilizations developed at different speeds. But looking back through time, each ancient civilization went though a Stone Age (stone tools and weapons), then a Bronze Age (bronze tools and weapons), then an Iron Age (iron tools and weapons). Weapons appeared in different civilizations at different times through invention, trade and conquest. Once better weapons arrived, they made a big difference.

Each improvement in tools and weapons led to other improvements in each civilization, improvements such as new inventions, better production of food, and new or improved goods. These inventions depended upon the type of material discovered and then used. Thus, the material used to make tool and weapons had a great influence on daily life in ancient times.

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