Glass beads link King Tutankhamun and Bronze Age Nordic women

Glass beads link King Tutankhamun and Bronze Age Nordic women

Scientists working in Denmark have unearthed glass blue beads crafted in an ancient Egyptian workshop for King Tutankhamun that made its way north to Europe 3,400 years ago. The find helps prove there was contact between the two regions long ago and suggests possible ancient trade routes.

Danish and French archaeologists analyzed some beads buried with women’s bodies from Bronze Age Denmark and found they originated in the same workshop that made beads for the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun, who died in 1323 BC. It is also the same glass chemical composition found in Tutankhamun’s gold death mask, io9.com reports . The solid gold death mask contains blue glass in the stripes of the headdress, as well as in the inlay of the plaited false beard.

Tutankhamun’s death mask contains the same blue glass that was found recently in Danish graves. Credit: Carsten Frenzl / flickr

ScienceNordic.com reported on the findings: “Twenty-three glass beads from Denmark were analyzed using plasma-spectrometry. Without destroying the fragile beads, this technique makes it possible to compare the chemical composition of trace elements in the beads with reference material from Amarna in Egypt and Nippur in Mesopotamia, about 50 km (31 miles) south east of Baghdad in Iraq. The comparison showed that the chemical composition of the two sets of trace elements match.”

It is the first time that archaeologists have found glass cobalt beads from Egypt outside the Mediterranean. One of the beads was unearthed in a wealthy woman’s grave in Ølby, about 40 km (24.8 miles) south of Copenhagen. The woman had been buried in a hollowed-out tree trunk and was adorned with a skirt consisting of bronze tubes, and various jewelry items, including a bracelet made with amber beads and a single blue glass bead. The same type of blue bead was also found in a necklace in another nearby grave.

Blue bead found in Denmark. Credit: Denmark National Museum

The researchers speculate that glass and amber, which have been found together in burial sites in the Middle East, Turkey, Germany, Greece, Italy and north to the Nordic regions, may be evidence of a link between Nordic and Egyptian sun religions. Indeed, one property that both glass and amber have in common is that they can both be penetrated by sunlight.

“When a Danish woman in the Bronze Age took a piece of jewelry made of amber and blue glass with her to the grave, it constituted a prayer to the sun to ensure that she would be reunited with it and share her fate with the sun's on its eternal journey,” writes ScienceNordic.com. “The old amber route to the countries in the Mediterranean thus now has a counterpart: the glass route to the North.”

The research, published in the Danish journal SKALK, shows that the ancient Egyptians, who were well known for their glass technology, operated trade routes that supplied Northern Europe with Egyptian-made glass at least 3,400 years ago. The researchers intend to continue investigating to determine if the trade route continued later in the Bronze Age, which ended around 600 BC in Europe.

Featured image: One of the newly-discovered graves in Demark containing a blue bead matching glass from an Egyptian workshop. Credit: Videnskab.dk

By Mark Miller


Ancient Egypt: 16 Little Known Facts About The World’s Longest Continuous Civilization

Ancient Egypt was the world’s longest continuous civilization that brought us pyramids, papyrus, mummies, and pharaohs.

Egyptians were innovators responsible for some of history’s greatest creations and infamous characters that are still discussed and debated today. Read on for 16 things you might not have known about awesome Ancient Egypt.


The meteoritic origin of Tutankhamun's iron dagger blade

6.5 cm diameter flattened disk with the Arabic inscription “Allahu Akbar,” which translates as “God is Greatest.” Belief in the evil eye is prevalent among the Ababda, even to the modern day, and as men identify camels and the cultural objects and activities related to them as one of their most important possessions, charms and amulets are often used to ward off its influence. Nondestructive analyses of the disk and metallographic examination of the distal link reveal a deformed medium octahedral pattern, confirming the meteoritic origin of the Camel Charm. Major, minor, and trace element compositions are consistent with classification as a IIIAB iron. Combined heating to modest temperatures (

600 °C) and cold working were used in the manufacture of the Camel Charm. Although compositionally similar to the Wabar IIIAB irons, chemical differences, the significant distance between Wabar and eastern Egypt, and the lack of established trade routes suggest that the Camel Charm source material was a meteorite unknown as an unworked specimen. This meteorite has been given the name Wadi El Gamal, the name of a National Park in the Ababda homelands.


Bronze Age Japan

KEY TOPICS
In Central and Western Europe, the Iron Age is taken to last from c. 800 BC to c. 1 BC, in Northern Europe from c. 500 BC to 800 AD. In China, there 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. 500 BC to 100 BC during which ferrous metallurgy was present even if not dominant. [1] By convention, the Iron Age in the Ancient Near East is taken to last from c. 1200 BC (the Bronze Age collapse ) to c. 550 BC (or 539 BC ), taken as the beginning of historiography ( Herodotus ) or the end of the proto-historical period. [1] In Ancient Egypt the Bronze Age begins in the Protodynastic period, c. 3150 BC. The archaic early Bronze Age of Egypt, known as the Early Dynastic Period of Egypt, immediately follows the unification of Lower and Upper Egypt, c. 3100 BC. It is generally taken to include the First and Second Dynasties, lasting from the Protodynastic Period of Egypt until about 2686 BC, or the beginning of the Old Kingdom. [2] The period is divided into three phases: Early Bronze Age (2000-1500 BC), Middle Bronze Age (1500-1200 BC), and Late Bronze Age (1200- c. 500 BC). [2] The name "Israel" first appears c. 1209 BC, at the end of the Late Bronze Age and the very beginning of the Iron Age, on the Merneptah Stele raised by the Egyptian pharaoh Merneptah. [2] The Late Harappan culture, which dates from 1900-1400 BC, overlapped the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age thus it is difficult to date this transition accurately. [2] The Central European Bronze Age is followed by the Iron Age Hallstatt culture (700-450 BC). [2] The U.S. National Gallery of Art defines the Chinese Bronze Age as the "period between about 2000 BC and 771 BC," a period that begins with the Erlitou culture and ends abruptly with the disintegration of Western Zhou rule. [2] The Atlantic Bronze Age is a cultural complex of the period of approximately 1300-700 BC that includes different cultures in Portugal, Andalusia, Galicia and the British Isles. [2] The Bronze Age in Northern Europe spans the entire 2nd millennium BC ( Unetice culture, Urnfield culture, Tumulus culture, Terramare culture, Lusatian culture ) lasting until c. 600 BC. The Northern Bronze Age was both a period and a Bronze Age culture in Scandinavian pre-history, c. 1700 -500 BC, with sites that reached as far east as Estonia. [2]

While there are some iron objects from Bronze Age Anatolia, the number is comparable to iron objects found in Egypt and other places of the same time period and only a small number of these objects are weapons. [1] By convention, the "Early Bronze Age" in China is sometimes taken as equivalent to the " Shang dynasty " period of Chinese prehistory (16th to 11th centuries BC), and the "Later Bronze Age" as equivalent to the " Zhou dynasty " period (11th to 3rd centuries BC, from the 5th century also dubbed " Iron Age "), although there is an argument to be made that the "Bronze Age" proper never ended in China, as there is no recognizable transition to an "Iron Age". [2] In Mesopotamia, the Mesopotamian Bronze Age began about 3500 BC and ended with the Kassite period (c. 1500 BC - c. 1155 BC). [2] The Oxus civilization was a Bronze Age Central Asian culture dated to c. 2300 -1700 BC and centered on the upper Amu Darya (Oxus). [2] The Deverel-Rimbury culture began to emerge in the second half of the Middle Bronze Age ( c. 1400 -1100 BC) to exploit these conditions. [2] The Unetice culture is followed by the middle Bronze Age (1600-1200 BC) Tumulus culture, which is characterised by inhumation burials in tumuli (barrows). [2] The beginning of the Bronze Age on the peninsula is around 1000-800 BC. Although the Korean Bronze Age culture derives from the Liaoning and Manchuria, it exhibits unique typology and styles, especially in ritual objects. [2] The late Bronze Age Urnfield culture (1300-700 BC) is characterized by cremation burials. [2] There is evidence, however, of strong continuity with Bronze Age culture, although as one moves later into Iron I the culture begins to diverge more significantly from that of the late 2nd millennium. [1] The Sahel ( Sudan region ) and Sub-Saharan Africa are outside of the three-age system, there being no Bronze Age, but the term "Iron Age" is sometimes used in reference to early cultures practicing ironworking such as the Nok culture of Nigeria. [1] In Central Europe, the early Bronze Age Unetice culture (1800-1600 BC) includes numerous smaller groups like the Straubing, Adlerberg and Hatvan cultures. [2] In Great Britain, the Bronze Age is considered to have been the period from around 2100 to 750 BC. Migration brought new people to the islands from the continent. [2] The Near Eastern Iron Age is divided into two subsections, Iron I and Iron II. Iron I (1200-1000 BC) illustrates both continuity and discontinuity with the previous Late Bronze Age. [1] In Ban Chiang, Thailand, ( Southeast Asia ) bronze artifacts have been discovered dating to 2100 BC. However, according to the radiocarbon dating on the human and pig bones in Ban Chiang, some scholars propose that the initial Bronze Age in Ban Chiang was in late 2nd millennium. [2] By the Middle Bronze Age increasing numbers of smelted iron objects (distinguishable from meteoric iron by the lack of nickel in the product) appeared in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and South Asia. [1] The Old Kingdom of the regional Bronze Age is the name given to the period in the 3rd millennium BC when Egypt attained its first continuous peak of civilization in complexity and achievement - the first of three "Kingdom" periods, which mark the high points of civilization in the lower Nile Valley (the others being Middle Kingdom and the New Kingdom ). [2] In the Old Elamite period (Middle Bronze Age), Elam consisted of kingdoms on the Iranian Plateau, centered in Anshan, and from the mid-2nd millennium BC, it was centered in Susa in the Khuzestan lowlands. [2]

The height of this urban development was reached in the Middle Bronze Age c. 2300 BC, corresponding to level V at Namazga-Depe. [2] The Bronze Age in Ireland commenced around 2000 BC, when copper was alloyed with tin and used to manufacture Ballybeg type flat axes and associated metalwork. [2] The Bronze Age in Nubia, started as early as 2300 BC. Copper smelting was introduced by Egyptians to the Nubian city of Mero", in modern-day Sudan, around 2600 BC. A furnace for bronze casting has been found in Kerma that is dated to 2300-1900 BC. [2] The Aegean Bronze Age began around 3200 BC, when civilizations first established a far-ranging trade network. [2] The Bronze Age on the Indian subcontinent began around 3300 BC with the beginning of the Indus Valley civilization. [2]

The development of iron smelting was once attributed to the Hittites of Anatolia during the Late Bronze Age. [1] Modern archaeological evidence identifies the start of large-scale iron production in around 1200BC, marking the end of the Bronze Age. [1] Smelted iron appears sporadically in the archeological record from the middle Bronze Age. [1] In Sub-Saharan Africa, where there was no continent-wide universal Bronze Age, the use of iron succeeded immediately the use of stone. [1] Even though Northern European Bronze Age cultures were relatively late, and came into existence via trade, sites present rich and well-preserved objects made of wool, wood and imported Central European bronze and gold. [2] The Yamna culture is a Late Copper Age/Early Bronze Age culture of the Southern Bug/Dniester/Ural region (the Pontic steppe), dating to the 36th-23rd centuries BC. The name also appears in English as Pit-Grave Culture or Ochre-Grave Culture. [2] The Golasecca culture developed starting from the late Bronze Age in the Po plain. [2] The Apennine culture (also called Italian Bronze Age) is a technology complex of central and southern Italy spanning the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age proper. [2] As part of the Late Bronze Age-Early Iron Age, the Bronze Age collapse saw the slow, comparatively continuous spread of iron-working technology in the region. [1] The Arameans were a Northwest Semitic semi-nomadic and pastoralist people who originated in what is now modern Syria (Biblical Aram) during the Late Bronze Age and the early Iron Age. [2] If the eruption occurred in the late 17th century BC (as most chronologists now think) then its immediate effects belong to the Middle to Late Bronze Age transition, and not to the end of the Late Bronze Age but it could have triggered the instability that led to the collapse first of Knossos and then of Bronze Age society overall. [2] The civilization developed in the Middle and Late Bronze Age, between the 17th and the 13th centuries BC. [2] The usual tripartite division into an Early, Middle and Late Bronze Age is not used. [2] Ur, Kish, Isin, Larsa and Nippur in the Middle Bronze Age and Babylon, Calah and Assur in the Late Bronze Age similarly had large populations. [2]

The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the three-age Stone-Bronze-Iron system, as proposed in modern times by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen, for classifying and studying ancient societies. [2] In the Ancient Near East, this transition takes place in the wake of the so-called Bronze Age collapse, in the 12th century BC. The technology soon spreads throughout the Mediterranean region and to South Asia. [1] An ancient civilization is defined to be in the Bronze Age either by producing bronze by smelting its own copper and alloying with tin, arsenic, or other metals, or by trading for bronze from production areas elsewhere. [2] Trade and industry played a major role in the development of the ancient Bronze Age civilizations. [2] Bronze itself is harder and more durable than other metals available at the time, allowing Bronze Age civilizations to gain a technological advantage. [2] These forests are known to have existed into later times, and experiments have shown that charcoal production on the scale necessary for the bronze production of the late Bronze Age would have exhausted them in less than fifty years. [2] It was long held that the success of the Hittite Empire during the Late Bronze Age had been based on the advantages entailed by the "monopoly" on ironworking at the time. [1] "Smelting and Recycling Evidences from the Late Bronze Age habitat site of Baioes" (PDF). [2] A 2013 report suggests that the earliest tin-alloy bronze dates to the mid-5th millennium BC in a Vinča culture site in Pločnik ( Serbia ), although this culture is not conventionally considered part of the Bronze Age. [2] The Castellieri culture developed in Istria during the Middle Bronze Age. [2] Bronze Age cultures differed in their development of the first writing. [2] In the eastern Hungarian Körös tributaries, the early Bronze Age first saw the introduction of the Mako culture, followed by the Otomani and Gyulavarsand cultures. [2] This Bronze Age culture is called the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex (BMAC). [2] The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age system, preceded by the Stone Age ( Neolithic ) and the Bronze Age. [1] Metallurgy was characterized by the absence of a Bronze Age, and the transition from "stone to steel" in tool substances. [1] Another example site is Must Farm, near Whittlesey, which has recently been host to the most complete Bronze Age wheel ever to be found. [2] Art of the Bronze Age: southeastern Iran, western Central Asia, and the Indus Valley. [2] Located in Sardinia and Corsica, the Nuragic civilization lasted from the early Bronze Age (18th century BC) to the 2nd century AD, when the islands were already Romanized. [2]

The new crop had been brought by immigrants from Korea along with a fully-fledged Bronze Age culture, which in Japan is called the Yayoi. [3] The Bronze Age, rice-farming Yayoi culture is spreading throughout Japan. [3]

That's right - in half a century the Japanese left the Stone Age, entered the Iron and Bronze Ages at the same time, and then had a full blown agricultural revolution. [4] When you consider this fact, it is no wonder the Japanese experienced their Iron and Bronze Ages concurrently. [4] When I was attending middle school in Korea in the late 1980s, we were taught that Koreans were the genetic and cultural progenitors of the Japanese more specifically, that in the first few centuries AD, the civilized Koreans introduced the barbaric Japanese to the bronze age, to rice cultivation, and apparently, to Korean DNA as well. [5]

Works of Asian art collected by the Cantor Arts Center the past 10 years are showcased in "From the Bronze Age of China to Japan's Floating World" through Oct. 18. [6] Have you ever heard of a civilization that completed the transition from the Stone Age through the Bronze and Iron Ages in 50 years? Well the Yayoi People of Japan did all this and more. [4]

Techniques in metallurgy based on the use of bronze and iron were also introduced to Japan in this period. [7] Like farmers everywhere, people in Japan started to fight over land, and they learned about bronze from Zhou Dynasty China and began to use bronze swords and spears for their wars. [8]

By about 800 BC, most people in Japan were shifting from Stone Age hunting and gathering to farming rice for most of their food (but they were still also eating a lot of fish ). [8] The term "Bronze Age" has been transferred to the archaeology of China from that of Western Eurasia, and there is no consensus or universally used convention delimiting the "Bronze Age" in the context of Chinese prehistory. [2] Bronze and iron smelting techniques spread to the Japanese archipelago through contact with other ancient East Asian civilizations, particularly immigration and trade from the Korean peninsula and ancient Mainland China. [2] The Japanese archipelago experienced the introduction of bronze during the beginning of the Early Yayoi period (

300 B.C.E), which saw the introduction of metalworking and agricultural practices bought in by settlers arriving from the continent. [2]

It is defined by archaeological convention, and the mere presence of cast or wrought iron is not sufficient to represent an Iron Age culture rather, the term "Iron Age" implies that the production of carbon steel has been perfected to the point where mass production of tools and weapons superior to their bronze equivalents become possible. [1] "Skeletal evidence for the emergence of infectious disease in bronze and iron age northern Vietnam". [2]

The Yayoi period ( 弥生時代, Yayoi jidai ) is an Iron Age era in the history of Japan traditionally dated 300 BC-300 AD. Since the 1980s, scholars have argued that a period previously classified as a transition from the Jōmon period should be reclassified as Early Yayoi. [7] By the Kofun period, almost all skeletons excavated in Japan except those of the Ainu are of the Yayoi type with Jomon admixture, resembling those of modern-day Japanese. [7]

Many other elements of the new Yayoi culture were unmistakably Korean and previously foreign to Japan, including bronze objects, weaving, glass beads, and styles of tools and houses. [7]


The period known as the Stone Age ended forever during the Yayoi Period, with the Japanese learning how to smelt both iron and bronze. [4] The Bronze Age Timeline Timeline Description: The Bronze Age was a period of time between the Stone Age and the Iron Age when bronze was used widely to make tools, weapons, and other implements. [9] The logical conclusion would be lacking the materials, namely copper and tin, but we know of 2 minor tin-deposits in eastern China that were used in ancient times (China did have a bronze age) and several major deposits in southern Asia. [10] Given the association of bronze (and copper) to the development of human civilization, many cultures across the world, starting from Bronze Age, tended to adopt this metal for the contrivances that were precursors to glass mirrors. [11] A new French study suggests that all iron tools from the Bronze Age, including King Tutankhamun's dagger, have extraterrestrial roots. [12] The ability to make bronze tools, weapons, and ritual vessels was such a significant advancement in world civilization that it lends its name to an entire era: the Bronze Age. [13] Though it developed slowly the Bronze Age was a tremendous time of technological advancement that helped early civilizations flourish and expand. [9]

Since excavation commenced in 1986, cultural levels have been traced from the Early Bronze Age (EBA) through the Ottoman period. 1 The Japanese Institute of Anatolian Archaeology (JIAA) was established near Kaman in 1998 by the Middle Eastern Culture Center in Tokyo. [14] The exhibition "From the Bronze Age of China to Japan's Floating World," on view July 29-October 18, 2009, presents works from many eras and broad geography, from China's Zhou dynasty, which ruled between the 11th and third centuries B.C.E., to the 1800s in Edo, Japan, and to 20th-century East Asia. [15]


The advent of rice farming in Japan also helped the advancement in iron and bronze tool making because the cultivation of rice required strong tools, like spades. [4] In Japan, the Yayoi culture, based on rice farming and possessing bronze and iron technology, expanded northward and eastward from Kyushu Island into Honshu. [3] "The artifacts, likely modeled after bronze daggers of northern China, were probably made in Japan, although how the design got here is a mystery," said Harutaro Odagi, an associate professor of archaeology at Tenri University. [12]

According to Conrad Totman in his book "Japan before Perry" (1981) and Hiroshi Tsude in his article " Homogeneity and Regional Variability in Cultures of the Kofun Period ", published in "Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Origins of the Japanese" (1996) the use of iron started around 250 AD (Early Yamato-period, called Kofun for the burial mounds). [10] The agricultural revolution that took place during the Yayoi Period couldn't have happened without the simultaneous leap the Japanese took in their transition from stone tools and weapons to those made of iron and bronze. [4] Then suddenly, in an explosion of technology and advancement, the Japanese went from using stone tools and weapons to using both iron and bronze tools and weapons simultaneously. [4] The Japanese started making tools from iron to enhance their farming of rice, but they also began to make weapons as well, first from iron and then from bronze. [4] The Japanese were using bronze and iron tools at this time that may have been brought over from south Korea. [9] The warring clans were the only Japanese wealthy enough to afford not only iron and bronze, but also the blacksmiths who could work metal. [4] According to archaeologists, ancient Japanese daggers were of one type and were called the "slender bronze dagger’. [12]

Hiroshi Yoshida, an Ehime University associate professor who is an expert on ancient bronze daggers, said: "the forces governing that area may have had Korean and Chinese connections since Japan's earliest days". [12] Shortly after the arrival of bronze technology, iron technology also arrived in Japan, only a couple of centuries after its first appearance in Korea. [3] In the field of medicine, for example, the first dissections allowed in Japan shows that Western medical knowledge is far in advance of Japanese. [3] The Yayoi Period of Japan may have been short, but it was nonetheless miraculous in the feats the Japanese were able to accomplish in these 50 years. [4] The imperial court of Japan is modelled directly on that of Tang China, and the Japanese government has started sending emissaries to the Tang emperor. [3]


Iron began to take its place in the brilliant Bronze Age culture of China during the Qin dynasty (221-206 bc ) and the Han dynasty (206 bc - ad 220). [16] Evidence of copper and bronze refining and manufacture has been found from the Middle Bronze Age (MBA, ca. 1950 BC) through the Middle Iron Age (ca. 600 BC) at Kaman-Kalehöyük. [14] Evidence of bronze manufacture consists of numerous crucibles and molds from the three sites excavated by the JIAA: 33 stone molds for the casting of metal objects have been found dating from the Bronze Age and Iron Age, 27 of which derive from Kaman-Kalehöyük. [14]

During the Bronze Age ( c. 1000-300 bc ) and Early Iron Age ( c. 300-1 bc ) bronze- and iron-working centres were established in Korea. [16] Most bronzes of about 1500-300 bc, roughly the Bronze Age in China, are ritual vessels intended for the worship of ancestors, who are often named in inscriptions on the bronzes. [16] Clay tablets from Kanesh-Kültepe document the trade in tin between the East and Anatolia: as much as two tons of tin per year were imported into Kanesh-Kültepe. 8 Metal workshops with crucibles and molds have been discovered at Kültepe. 9 Complex trade networks developed during the Bronze Age. [14] The sources of tin in Bronze Age Turkey have yet to be located if small deposits of tin did exist in northwest Anatolia, they were soon exhausted. 4 Instead, throughout the Bronze Age, the Anatolians traded their plentiful silver for tin, derived most likely from Afghanistan. [14]

At Must Farm quarry in Cambridgeshire, archaeologists work on the site of a Bronze Age settlement destroyed in a fire 3,000 years ago. [17] "This is one of a kind," he says. (In 30 years of excavations elsewhere, he has never found a solid piece of Bronze Age wood.) [17] "It’s the best Bronze Age settlement ever found in the United Kingdom," said Mark Knight, project manager with the Cambridge Archaeological Unit (CAU) in the United Kingdom, a contract firm that has done the excavation. [17] Buried in silt, the debris remained intact for 3000 years, preserving a remarkable record of ordinary life in the Late Bronze Age. [17]

Skeletal evidence for tuberculosis during the Bronze Age period found in both Korea and Japan are, therefore, discussed as evidence of the earliest tuberculosis outbreaks in East Asia and as biological indicators of population movement between Korea and Japan during this period. [18] A Korean Bronze Age fine-line geometric mirror discovered at the Yayoi Period site of Ogata, Kashiwara-shi, Osaka, Japan. [19]


Copper and bronze refining and manufacture continued there in the Early and Middle Iron Age (ca. 750-ca. 600 BC), a period when fibulae were very popular in Central Anatolia. [14] Such study will elucidate the contribution of this site to the development of the metallurgical industry in Central Anatolia during the Bronze and Iron Ages. [14]

The influences from the East and West manifested in ancient bronze (copper-tin alloy) technology in Central Anatolia are examined, specifically at the site of Kaman-Kalehöyük, which has been excavated by the Japanese Institute of Anatolian Archaeology (JIAA) since 1986. [14]

The bronze objects that most readily illustrate the intraregional exchanges and multiethnic influences at Kaman-Kalehöyük are the fibulae dating from the Middle Iron Age to the Hellenistic period. [14]

Since Japan is though to have entered the Bronze and Iron Ages later than most (ca 300 BCE), I don’t know if we can count hemp as a clothing material during the Bronze Age, unless it was exported to a neighbouring country that had already entered that phase. [20]

The first period of intensive agriculture and bronze and iron use in Japanese prehistory, so called because of certain characteristic pottery discovered in the Yayoi section of Bunkyō Ward, Tokyo, in 1884. [21] Japan's women's curling team made history in Pyeongchang Saturday by winning the country's first Olympic medal in the sport, a bronze, in the latest improbable curling medal run of the Pyeongchang Games. [22]


Cotton cultivation probably started in the Indus Valley Civilization, which covered parts of modern eastern Pakistan and northwestern India between 3300 and 1300 BC. During the Bronze Age, the use of cotton was probably only known withing the Indian subcontinent as far as the Old World is concerned. [20] Before the hills in order stood: chronology, time and history in the interpretation of Early Bronze Age round barrows, in Last, J. (ed.) [23]

"Considering that there is a considerable time gap between its original production in China and the actual usage in Japan, the thin bronze arrowhead must have been used as a ritual item or burial good rather than a weapon," Minoru Norioka, director of Okayama City's properties division, said. [24] In Japan, seaweed was such a crucial part of the diet that legislation in A.D. 701 confirmed the right of the Japanese to pay their taxes to the Emperor in kelp form. [25]

The arrowhead, 1.4 inches long by a half inch wide, was found together with pottery fragments and pieces of stoneware dated to Japan's Iron Age Middle Yayoi period, about 300 B.C. to 100 B.C. [24]

Many large bronzes also bear cast inscriptions that are the great bulk of the surviving body of early Chinese writing and have helped historians and archaeologists piece together the history of China, especially during the Zhou dynasty (1046-256 BC). [2] He described Bronze A1 (Bz A1) period (2300-2000 BC: triangular daggers, flat axes, stone wrist-guards, flint arrowheads) and Bronze A2 (Bz A2) period (1950-1700 BC: daggers with metal hilt, flanged axes, halberds, pins with perforated spherical heads, solid bracelets) and phases Hallstatt A and B (Ha A and B). [2] Bronze metallurgy in China originated in what is referred to as the Erlitou ( Wade-Giles : Erh-li-t'ou ) period, which some historians argue places it within the range of dates controlled by the Shang dynasty. [2] A Shang dynasty two-handled bronze gefuding gui (1600-1046 BC). [2]

Iron was mainly used for agricultural and other tools, whereas ritual and ceremonial artifacts were mainly made of bronze. [2] Even when tin became available again, iron was cheaper, stronger and lighter, and forged iron implements superseded cast bronze tools permanently. [1] A tin bronze foil from the Pločnik (archaeological site) are dated to 4650 BC. The foil are not the only tin bronze artefact from the fifth millennium BC. 14 other artefacts from Serbia and Bulgaria are dated to before 4000 BC. The recent discoveries indicate that early tin bronze was more common than previously thought, and developed independently in Europe 1500 years before the first tin bronze alloys in the Near East. [2] With a rough date range of late 3rd millennium BC to the first millennium AD, this site alone has various artifacts such as burial pottery (dating from 2100-1700 BC), fragments of Bronze, copper-base bangles, and much more. [2]

A sword bearing the name of pharaoh Merneptah as well as a battle axe with an iron blade and gold-decorated bronze shaft were both found in the excavation of Ugarit. [1] Page 137. (cf. "for the Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period it is the Middle Bronze Age".) [2] Other regions developed bronze and its associated technology at different periods. [2]

The widespread use of bronze in Chinese metallurgy and culture dates to significantly later, probably due to Western influence. [2] Chinese influence was obvious in the bronze and copper weapons, dōkyō, dōtaku, as well as irrigated paddy rice cultivation. [7] As evidence, many bronze implements were recycled into weapons during that time. [1] Yayoi craft specialists made bronze ceremonial bells ( dōtaku ), mirrors, and weapons. [7] Yayoi chiefs, in some parts of Kyūshū, appear to have sponsored, and politically manipulated, trade in bronze and other prestige objects. [7]

"Tainted ores and the rise of tin bronzes in Eurasia, c. 6500 years ago". [2] The production of complex tin bronzes lasted for c. 500 years in the Balkans. [2] Tin bronze would be reintroduced to the area again some 1500 years later. [2] Tin must be mined (mainly as the tin ore cassiterite ) and smelted separately, then added to molten copper to make bronze alloy. [2] Alloying of copper with zinc or tin to make brass or bronze was practised soon after the discovery of copper itself. [2] Inhabitants of the Indus Valley, the Harappans, developed new techniques in metallurgy and produced copper, bronze, lead and tin. [2] This network imported tin and charcoal to Cyprus, where copper was mined and alloyed with the tin to produce bronze. [2] Shortly before the end of the fifth millennium BC, there are no longer evidence for production of tin bronze. [2] Copper-tin ores are rare, as reflected in the fact that there were no tin bronzes in Western Asia before trading in bronze began in the 3rd millennium BC. [2] The oldest securely dated tin bronze artefact are found in the heart of the Balkans in Serbia. [2] The bronzes of the Western Zhou dynasty document large portions of history not found in the extant texts that were often composed by persons of varying rank and possibly even social class. [2]

In Nyaunggan, Burma, bronze tools have been excavated along with ceramics and stone artifacts. [2] Only with the capability of the production of carbon steel does ferrous metallurgy result in tools or weapons that are equal or superior to bronze. [1]

The on-site casting supports the theory that Bronze was first introduced in Southeast Asia as fully developed which therefore shows that Bronze was actually innovated from a different country. [2]

The Middle Mumun pottery period culture of the southern Korean Peninsula gradually adopted bronze production (c. 700 -600? BC) after a period when Liaoning-style bronze daggers and other bronze artifacts were exchanged as far as the interior part of the Southern Peninsula (c. 900 -700 BC). [2] The Mumun pottery period is named after the Korean name for undecorated or plain cooking and storage vessels that form a large part of the pottery assemblage over the entire length of the period, but especially 850-550 BC. The Mumun period is known for the origins of intensive agriculture and complex societies in both the Korean Peninsula and the Japanese Archipelago. [2] Early Chinese historians described Wa as a land of hundreds of scattered tribal communities rather than the unified land with a 700-year tradition as laid out in the 8th-century work Nihon Shoki, a partly mythical, partly historical account of Japan which dates the foundation of the country at 660 BC. Archaeological evidence also suggests that frequent conflicts between settlements or statelets broke out in the period. [7] A few hundred years later, around 500 BC, iron reached China, and soon afterwards it also reached Japan, and men fought with iron swords and armor. [8] In Japan, iron items, such as tools, weapons, and decorative objects, are postulated to have entered Japan during the late Yayoi period ( c. 300BC-AD300) or the succeeding Kofun period ( c. [1]

The earliest written records about people in Japan are from Chinese sources from this period. [7]

New York: The Encyclopædia Britannica Co. ^ Richard Cowen () The Age of Iron Chapter 5 in a series of essays on Geology, History, and People prepares for a course of the University of California at Davis. [1] The preceding period is known as the Copper Age and is characterised by the production of flat axes, daggers, halberds and awls in copper. [2] What's interesting about this site, however, isn't just the old age of the artifacts but the fact that this technology suggested on-site casting from the very beginning. [2] The Iron Age as an archaeological period is roughly defined as that part of the prehistory of a culture or region during which ferrous metallurgy was the dominant technology of metalworking. [1] The history of metallurgy in the Indian subcontinent began during the 2nd millennium BC. Archaeological sites in India, such as Malhar, Dadupur, Raja Nala Ka Tila, Lahuradewa, Kosambi and Jhusi, Allahabad in present-day Uttar Pradesh show iron implements in the period 1800-1200BC. Archaeological excavations in Hyderabad show an Iron Age burial site. [1] These may have a history as far back as the neolithic period and continue into the Pre-Roman Iron Age, as shown by the Hjortspring boat. [2]

It includes the Lusatian culture in eastern Germany and Poland (1300-500 BC) that continues into the Iron Age. [2] The Pazyryk culture is an Iron Age archaeological culture (ca. 6th to 3rd centuries BC) identified by excavated artifacts and mummified humans found in the Siberian permafrost in the Altay Mountains. [1] Archaeology in Thailand at sites Ban Don Ta Phet and Khao Sam Kaeo yielding metallic, stone, and glass artifacts stylistically associated with the Indian subcontinent suggest Indianization of Southeast Asia beginning in the 4th to 2nd centuries BC during the late Iron Age. [1] The Iron Age in the Ancient Near East is believed to have begun with the discovery of iron smelting and smithing techniques in Anatolia or the Caucasus and Balkans in the late 2nd millennium BC ( c. 1300BC). [1] This usually does not represent a clear break in the archaeological record for the Ancient Near East the establishment of the Achaemenid Empire c. 550 BC (considered historical by virtue of the record by Herodotus ) is usually taken as a cut-off date, in Central and Western Europe the Roman conquests of the 1st century BC. The Germanic Iron Age of Scandinavia is taken to end c. [1] The Iron Age in Central Asia began when iron objects appear among the Indo-European Saka in present-day Xinjiang between the 10th century BC and the 7th century BC, such as those found at the cemetery site of Chawuhukou. [1] In South Asia, the Iron Age is taken to begin with the ironworking Painted Gray Ware culture and to end with the reign of Ashoka (3rd century BC). [1] The Canegrate culture developed from the mid-Bronze Age (13th century BC) till the Iron Age in the Pianura Padana, in what are now western Lombardy, eastern Piedmont and Ticino. [2] The characteristic of an Iron Age culture is mass production of tools and weapons made from steel, typically alloys with a carbon content between approximately 0.30% and 1.2% by weight. [1] The regional Iron Age may be defined as including the last stages of the prehistoric period and the first of the proto-historic periods. [1] The protohistoric Early Iron Age in Sri Lanka lasted from 1000BC to 600BC. however evidence of Iron usage was found in Excavation of a Protohistoric Canoe burial Site in Haldummulla and has been dated to 2400 BCE. Radiocarbon evidence has been collected from Anuradhapura and Aligala shelter in Sigiriya. [1] Archaeologists have found evidence of a massacre linked to Iron Age warfare at a hill fort in Derbyshire. [1]

Meteoric iron, a characteristic iron-nickel alloy, was used by various ancient peoples thousands of years before the Iron Age. [1] The Camuni were an ancient people of uncertain origin (according to Pliny the Elder, they were Euganei according to Strabo, they were Rhaetians ) who lived in Val Camonica - in what is now northern Lombardy - during the Iron Age, although human groups of hunters, shepherds and farmers are known to have lived in the area since the Neolithic. [2]

The extension of the term "Iron Age" to the archaeology of South, East and Southeast Asia is more recent, and may be used loosely. [1] As its name suggests, Iron Age technology is characterized by the production of tools and weaponry by ferrous metallurgy ( ironworking ), more specifically from carbon steel. [1] In other regions of Europe the Iron Age began in the 8th century BC in Central Europe and the 6th century BC in Northern Europe. [1]

Wa, the Japanese pronunciation of an early Chinese name for Japan, was mentioned in 57 AD the Na state of Wa received a golden seal from the Emperor Guangwu of the Later Han dynasty. [7] History of the Kingdom of Wei (Wei Zhi) An extended account of Japan (called "Wa" by the Chinese) from a 3rd century dynastic history of the Chinese kingdom of Wei. [26] People in Japan started raising pigs at this time, too, brought over from China. [8] Archaeological evidence supports the idea that during this time, an influx of farmers from the Asian continent to Japan absorbed or overwhelmed the native hunter-gatherer population. [7] At this time, Japan was split into a lot of different warring city-states, like ancient Greece or medieval Italy. [8]

Some scholars argue that the rapid increase of roughly four million people in Japan between the Jōmon and Yayoi periods cannot be explained by migration alone. [7] The migrant transfusion from the Korean peninsula gains strength because Yayoi culture began on the north coast of Kyūshū, where Japan is closest to Korea. [7]

The Shang dynasty (also known as the Yin dynasty) of the Yellow River Valley rose to power after the Xia dynasty around 1600 BC. While some direct information about the Shang dynasty comes from Shang-era inscriptions on bronze artifacts, most comes from oracle bones - turtle shells, cattle scapulae, or other bones - which bear glyphs that form the first significant corpus of recorded Chinese characters. [2] Bronze mirror with a female human figure at the base, Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt (1540-1296 BC). [2]

The overall period is characterized by widespread use of bronze, though the place and time of the introduction and development of bronze technology were not universally synchronous. [2] Arsenical bronze artifacts of the Maykop culture in the North Caucasus have been dated around the 4th millennium BC. This innovation resulted in the circulation of arsenical bronze technology over southern and eastern Europe. [2] The Chinese bronze artifacts generally are either utilitarian, like spear points or adze heads, or "ritual bronzes", which are more elaborate versions in precious materials of everyday vessels, as well as tools and weapons. [2]

Han-Dynasty-style bronze mirrors were also found in Sa Huynh sites. [1] Three major symbols of Yayoi culture are the bronze mirror, the bronze sword, and the royal seal stone. [7]

Bronze technology was developed further by the Incas and used widely both for utilitarian objects and sculpture. [2]

The Longshan people of China live from around 3000 BC to 2400 BC. Toward the end of this period they are using bronze to make tools and weapons. [9] Bronze tools, weapons, statuary, jewelry, and even toys have been discovered from this time period. [9]

Few tools are made in the beginning, but by 1200 BC bronze has replaced all stone tools. [9] Around 1200 BC Lady Hao, the wife of King Wuding, dies and is buried with many items for the afterlife including bronze vessels, armor, bells, tools, knives, and tigers. [9]

The Mycenaean civilization, located in present-day Greece, used bronze until about 1100 BC. The southern coastal community of Phylos had 400 laborers for their bronze-working industry. [9] The main point of my question was the why-part why weren't they introduced to bronze earlier than iron? It was used on the main-land and we know they interacted with the Korean kingdoms and China. [10] The Egyptians didn't have bronze until they were invaded by the Hyksos around 1640 BC. The Hyksos brought chariots and weapons made from bronze. [9] The skill and resources needed to fabricate bronze were in place in ancient China by 1700 BCE, over a thousand years later than in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and India. [13] As for the provenance of the impressive bronze specimen, the experts have determined that the mirror (of 11.3 cm diameter), with its characteristic "linked-arc’ design, was manufactured in China during the Later Han Dynasty (25-220 AD). [11]

Bronze is made when copper is heated and mixed with tin, creating a stronger metal than copper. [9] Making bronze requires two things: copper and tin ores, sometimes mixed with lead and intense heat for refining and casting. [13]

To add the Japanese imported culture and knowledge from the Chinese and Korean kingdoms before this time (and they imported iron from Korea as well), so they could have traded copper as well. [10] Once the Japanese decided to use their understanding of smelting iron to make stronger tools than those made of stone, they entered a period of innovation that travelled at light speed. [4] This may also explain why the Japanese finally decided to use their knowledge of smelting iron in the effort to finally eradicate stone tools from their farming. [4]

Beans, millet, and gourds like squash were all early parts of the Japanese agricultural revolution, which helped Japan enter a 50 years long period of expansion and creation. [4] Though primarily the Korean resentment arises from the Japanese colonial period (1910-1945), the hostility between the two nations is 700 years old and very mutual. [5] They preside over a period of great artistic and literary achievement, called the "Heian" period, in which the Japanese establish their cultural independence from the Chinese and develop in new directions of their own. [3]

Don't take my word for it - ask the Chinese, who in 238 BC were met by envoys from Queen Himiko and marveled at the riches she sent in homage, setting her apart from any other ruler in Japan during the period. [4] Iron ore was not abundant in Japan during this period, so as in all economies, those who could afford scare resources were afforded higher status and rank. [4] The achievements of this period make Meiji Japan one of the most extraordinary episodes in world history. [3] Japan has become the first country in world history to have A-bombs dropped on it. [3]

By this stage, the Yayoi rice-farming culture covers much of southern Japan. [3] They secured the take-over of Manchuria, drew up plans to create an "East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere" to give Japan the raw materials she needed, and from the late 1930's, mounted a major invasion of China. [3] Archaeologists in Japan were astonished to discover the molds for a dagger dating back nearly 2,500 years which bears a striking resemblance to artefacts found in remote areas of northern China. [12] They were found at the Kami-Goten archaeological site in Japan and likely date from between 350 B.C. and A.D. 300. [12]

In Japan, wet-rice cultivation arrived in the island of Kyushu in the middle of the 1 st millennium BCE, and since then has spread gradually north and east throughout the island. [3] Contemporary Chinese texts describe Japan as being divided into many militarized chiefdoms at this time. [3] There were continuing strong links with the Korean kingdoms, especially Paekche, and it was from Korea that literacy, based on the Chinese script, reached Japan around 350. [3]

As for copper we know of some larger deposits in China and at least one in Japan. [10]

In the Jomon Period that took place prior to the Yayoi Period, the Japanese learned how to smelt iron. [4] The Japanese are rapidly becoming one of the most highly civilized nations in the world at this time, borrowing many elements from Chinese culture: script, artistic and architectural styles, and the Confucian education system. [3] The exhibit includes Chinese, Korean and Japanese works from the 11th to the 3rd century B.C. and from the early-19th to the mid-20th centuries. [6] Chinese literature, according to St. Leger, claims that "the Japanese are descended a Korean princess who married a very hairy man, who is assumed to be a Japanese aborigine. [5]

Once I left Korea, "fan death" ceased to be a part of my life, but the the "Japanese are descended from Koreans" chestnut has resurfaced several times. [5]

RANKED SELECTED SOURCES(32 source documents arranged by frequency of occurrence in the above report)


Bronze Age

a historical and cultural period characterized by the spread throughout the most advanced cultural centers of the working of bronze and its use as the chief ingredient in the production of tools and weapons.

Elsewhere at the same time either the Neolithic culture was developing or the use of metal was being mastered. The approximate chronological boundaries of the Bronze Age are the end of the fourth millennium and the beginning of the first millennium B.C. Bronze (an alloy of copper and other metals such as lead, tin, and arsenic) differs from copper in its lower melting point (700-900° C), better foundry qualities, and greater strength this fact contributed to its diffusion. The Bronze Age was preceded by the Copper Age (also termed the Chalcolithic or the Aeneolithic), a period which saw the transition from stone to metal. (Metal objects have been found that date from 7000 B.C.)

The oldest bronze tools have been found in southern Iran, Turkey, and Mesopotamia, and belong to the fouth millennium B.C. They later spread through Egypt (from the end of the fourth millennium B.C.), India (the end of the third millenium B.C.), China (from the middle of the second millennium B.C.), and Europe (from the second millennium B.C.). In America the Bronze Age had an independent development there, the metal-working centers were in present-day Peru and Bolivia (the so-called Late Tiahuanaco culture, 600-1000 A.D.). The question of the Bronze Age in Africa has not been settled yet because of an insufficiency of archaeological research, but the emergence there no later than the first millennium B.C. of a number of independent centers for the production of bronze is considered certain. The art of casting bronze flourished in Africa from the 11th to the 17th centuries in the countries along the Guinea coast.

The unevenness of historical development characteristic of earlier periods is particularly evident in the Bronze Age. It was during this age that early class societies and states were taking shape in progressive centers (in the Middle East) that had developed economies based on the production of goods and services. This sort of economy spread beyond these centers into a number of large areas (for example, the land along the eastern Mediterranean) and facilitated rapid economic progress, the formation of large ethnic communities, and the disintegration of the clan system. At the same time the old neolithic way of life of the archaic hunting and fishing cultures continued in many areas that were far removed from the centers of progress. But metal tools and weapons began to penetrate into these areas as well and influenced to a certain extent the general development of the peoples of these regions. The establishment of strong trade relations, especially between the areas in which there were metal deposits (that is, between the Caucasus and Eastern Europe) played a major role in accelerating the speed of the economic and social development of outlying areas. Of special significance for Europe was the so-called Amber Route, along which amber was transported from the Baltic regions to the south and arms, ornaments, and so forth made their way to the north.

In Asia the Bronze Age was a time of the further development of previously existing urban civilizations (Mesopotamia, Elam, Egypt, and Syria) and of the formation of new urban civilizations (Harappa in India Yin China). Outside this region of the most ancient class societies and states, cultures were developing that made use of metal objects, including bronze ones, and the disintegration of the primitive system accelerated (in Iran and Afghanistan).

A similar situation can be found in Europe during the Bronze Age. In Crete (Cnossus, Phaestus, and elsewhere), the Bronze Age at the end of the third and during the second millennia B.C. was a period that saw the formation of an early class society. This is attested by the ruins of cities and palaces and the appearance there of literacy (between the 21st and the 13th centuries B.C.). On the Greek mainland an analogous process took place somewhat later, but there, too, from the 16th to 13th centuries B.C., an early class society was already in existence. Evidence of this comes from the royal palaces in Tiryns, Mycenae, and Pylos, from the royal tombs in Mycenae, and from the oldest Greek writing system, the Achaeans&rsquo Linear B. During the Bronze Age the Aegean world was a distinct cultural center in Europe, within which there were a number of agricultural and herding cultures that had not yet developed beyond the primitive stage. But within these cultures communal goods were being accumulated, and social and economic differentiation had begun. Evidence of this comes from various finds of stored community collections of bronze and jewelry collections of the tribal nobility.

In the countries of the Danube River basin the Bronze Age was apparently the period of transition to a patriarchal and tribal social system. Archaeological cultures from the early Bronze Age (the end of the third millennium B.C. to the beginning of the second millennium B.C.) mostly show a continuation of local Aeneolithic cultures, all of which were basically agricultural. In the beginning of the second millennium B.C. the so-called Unětician culture spread through Central Europe. This was a culture distinguished by its highly skillful casting of bronze objects. It was succeeded in the 15th to 13th centuries B.C. by the burial mound culture. In the latter half of the second millennium B.C. the Lužicka culture arose some of its local variants appeared in an area even larger than that affected by the Unětician culture. Characteristic of this culture in most regions was a special sort of burial ground and funerary ashes. In Central and Northern Europe at the end of the third millennium B.C. and in the first half of the second millennium B.C., cultures characterized by the use of bored stone battle-axes and by the lacy ornamentation of ceramics were widespread and occurred in several closely related local variants. From the beginning of the second millennium B.C., artifacts of a culture of bell-shaped goblets appear dispersed throughout a large area (from present-day Spain to Poland, the Transcarpathian region, and Hungary). The people to whom these artifacts belonged migrated from the west to the east among the local tribes.

In regard to the Bronze Age in Italy, artifacts of the late stage of the Remedello culture should be noted. From the middle of the second millennium B.C. the so-called terramares appeared in northern Italy, perhaps under the influence of Swiss settlements of lake dwellers. These terramares were settlements of buildings supported by piles they were constructed not on lake shores but in damp alluvial sections of river valleys (especially that of the Po River). The Bronze Age in present-day France was a period of agricultural settlements whose inhabitants left a large number of burial mounds with elaborate grave markers often of the megalithic type. In northern France and along the shores of the North Sea megalithic structures&mdashthat is, dolmens, menhirs, and cromlechs&mdashcontinued to be built. One cromlech is especially noteworthy, the Stonehenge sun temple in England, whose earliest structures date from 1900 B.C. The appearance of a highly developed culture in southern Spain at the end of the third millennium B.C. was also linked to the development of metalworking. Large settlements grew up there that were enclosed by walls and towers.

As in Western Europe, tribes in the present-day USSR were developing within the limitations of the primitive system. The highest level of culture was attained by the non-nomadic and agricultural tribes of southwestern Middle Asia. In the beginning of the second millennium B.C. a proto-urban civilization of the ancient Eastern type grew up there that revealed ties with the cultures of Iran and Harappa. (Namazga-Tepe V.) But of even greater significance at this time was the Causasus, with its rich supplies of ore. The Caucasus was one of the major metallurgical centers of Eurasia, and between the third and the second millennia B.C. it was supplying the steppe regions of Eastern Europe with copper artifacts. In the third millennium B.C. the Transcaucasian area saw the spread of non-nomadic farming and herding societies, representing the so-called Kura-Araks culture, which exhibited a number of characteristics of the ancient bronze cultures of Asia Minor. From the middle of the third millennium B.C. to the end of the second millennium B.C., herding cultures flourished in the northern Caucasus the leaders of the tribes there had rich graves (Maikop culture, northern Caucasian culture). In the Transcaucasus there was a unique culture that produced decorated pottery, the Trial et culture of the 18th to 15th centuries B.C. In the second millennium B.C., the Trancaucasus was the center of a highly developed bronze metalworking that was similar to the work of the Hittites in Assyria. In the northern Caucasus at this time, a northern Caucasian culture was spreading and developing in conjunction with catacomb culture in the western Caucasus, there was a dolmen culture. From the latter half of the second millennium B.C. to the beginning of the first millennium B.C. new cultures exhibiting a high level of metalworking were evolving from the preexisting cultures of the Middle Bronze Age. In Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan this was the Central Transcaucasian archeological culture in western Georgia, the Kolkhid culture in the central Caucasus, the Koban culture in the northwest, the Kuban region culture and in Dagestan and Chechen, the Kaiakent-khorochoevsk culture.

In the steppe regions of the European USSR there were, at the beginning of the second millennium B.C., movements of catacomb culture tribes who were familiar with herding, agriculture, and the casting of bronze. At the same time tribes of the ancient pit culture continued to exist. The progress of the latter and the development of metalworking centers in the Ural region were aided in the middle of the second millennium B.C. by the establishment in the Transvolga region of a cutting culture. Well-armed with protruding-heel bronze axes, spears, and daggers and already familiar with horseback riding, tribes of this culture were dispersed through the steppes and penetrated as far north as the present cities of Murom, Penza, Ulianovsk, and Buguruslan, as well as east to the Ural River. Archaeologists have found extremely rich caches of work done by master casters that included half-finished and cast bronze objects they have also found caches containing artifacts of precious metals that were the property of the tribal nobility. In the first half of the first millennium B.C. these tribes were subjugated by the Scythians, to whom they were related and with whom they mingled.

In the 16th and 15th centuries B.C. the Komarov culture began to spread through the present-day western Ukraine, Podoliia, and southern Byelorussia. In the northern regions this culture had a number of special features characteristic of the so-called Tshinets culture of Poland. In the second millennium B.C., late Neolithic tribes of the Fat&rsquoianovsk culture settled among the hunting and fishing tribes who lived in the area between the Volga and the Oka rivers, in the Transvolga region through which the Viatka River flows, and in adjacent areas. These people were herders their artifacts included high-quality round clay pots, stone bored axes and hammers, and protruding-heel copper axes. During the Bronze Age in the area between the Volga and the Oka rivers and in the vicinity of the Kama River bronze spears, celts, and daggers of the so-called Seima or Turbino type became widely known and distributed. Weaponry of the Seima type has been found in the Borodino (Bessarabian) cache, which was found in Moldavia and dates from the 14th or 13th century B.C., and also in the Urals, along Lake Issyk-Kul&rsquo and along the Enisei River.

In Chuvashia, the Transvolga region, Bashkiria, and the Don region there are barrows and settlements of the Abasheva culture (the latter half of the second millennium B.C.). In the steppes of western Siberia, Kazakhstan, and the Altai Mountains, and along the middle section of the Enisei River a broad ethnic and cultural entity termed the Andronovo culture existed from the middle of the second millennium B.C. It comprised farmer and herder tribes.

Complexes of archaeological artifacts of a similar type spread in Middle Asia in the latter half of the second millennium B.C. The best known of them is the Tazabag&rsquoiab culture of Khorezm. The strong influence of the steppe tribes found expression in the penetration of the Andronovo culture into the Tien Shan region and to the southern borders of Middle Asia. It is possible that the dispersion of the steppe dwellers was partially prompted by the disintegration of the nonnomadic and agricultural civilization in southwestern Middle Asia (Namazga V). Distinctive Bronze Age artifacts of the steppe tribes have been unearthed in southwestern Tadzhikistan (Bishkent) this suggests that the spread of the Bronze Age steppe culture is linked to the migrations of the Indo-Iranian tribes.

In the last quarter of the second millennium B.C., bronze tools and weapons especially characteristic of the Karasuk culture of the Altai and the Enisei regions and the local (sepulchre) culture of the Transbaikal region spread into southern Siberia, the Transbaikal region, the Altai Mountains, and partially Kazakhstan. These tools and weapons were known in the cultures of Mongolia, northern China, and central China (in the ages of Yin and Chou, 14th-8th centuries B.C.).

The Bronze Age was isolated as a special stage in the history of culture even in antiquity by the Roman philosopher Lucretius Carus. The term &ldquoBronze Age&rdquo was introduced to archaeological science during the first half of the 19th century by two Danish scholars, C. Thomsen and I. Worsaae. Significant contributions to the study of the Bronze Age were made at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century by the Swedish archaeologist O. Montelius and the French scholar J. Déchelette. Montelius, using the so-called typological method that he himself had developed, classified and dated archaeological evidence from the Neolithic period and the Bronze Age in Europe. At the same time the foundations were laid for a unified approach to the study of archaeological evidence. The process of isolating various archaeological cultures began. This approach was also developed in the Russian study of archaeology. V. A. Gorodtsov and A. A. Spitsyn established the most important Bronze Age cultures of Eastern Europe. Soviet archaeologists have isolated many Bronze Age cultures: in the Caucasus, G. K. Nioradze, E. I. Krupnov, B. A. Kuftin, A. A. lessen, B. B. Piotrovskii, and others in the Volga region, P. S. Rykov, I. V. Sinitsyn, O. A. Grakova, and others in the Urals, O. N. Bader, A. P. Smirnov, K. V. Sal&rsquonikov, and others in Middle Asia, S. P. Tolstov, A. N. Bernshtam, V. M. Masson, and others and in Siberia, S. A. Teploukhov, M. P. Griaznov, V. N. Chernet-sov, S. V. Kiselev, G. P. Sosnovskii, A. P. Okladnikov, and others. Soviet archaeologists and foreign Marxist archaeologists study the archaeological cultures of the Bronze Age from the viewpoint of historical materialism. The economic and social development of societies whose remnants are from the Bronze Age, the particular features of social, political, and cultural life of ancient tribes and peoples, their interrelationships, and their ultimate fate are all being studied today by A. Ia. Briusov, Kh. A. Moora, M. E. Foss, T. S. Passek, M. I. Artamonov, N. Ia. Merpert, and others.

Along with the idealistic trend, there is in bourgeois science an approach that is close to a materialistic understanding of the processes of history, represented by the English scholars G. Childe and G. Clark. Scholars of this school follow with interest the work of Marxist archaeologists, especially in the areas of history and economics.


Accelerated change

The Ringlemere gold cup, found in Ringlemere, Kent ©

The Middle Bronze Age (1500 - 1250 BC) marks an important period of change, growth and probably of population expansion too. There was a fundamental shift in burial practice away from barrow burial, towards cremation in large open cemeteries where ashes were placed in specially-prepared pottery urns.

Settlements consisted of round houses which were often grouped together, possibly for defence, but possibly too because people preferred to live near one another.

During this period we find an increasing number of metalwork hoards, where dozens, sometimes hundreds of spearheads, axes and daggers were placed in the ground - often in a wet or boggy place, a practice that would continue right through the Iron Age.

The Late Bronze Age saw the start of the so-called 'Celtic' way of life.

Certain hoards found in south western Britain contained large numbers of fancy bronze ornaments, such as elaborate dress-fasteners, rings, pins, brooches and bracelets.

The Middle Bronze Age also sees the first field systems in Britain, indicating growing pressure on the land as the numbers of people and animals increased.

The Late Bronze Age (1250-800 BC) is marked by the arrival of new styles of metalwork and pottery, but otherwise life continued much as before. Horse-riding became more popular and Late Bronze Age swords were designed as slashing weapons - resembling the cavalry cutlass.

Houses were still round, a pattern that would continue into the Iron Age, but a number of large hall-like rectangular houses are also known.

The field systems of the Middle Bronze Age continued in use and were enlarged. In the uplands of Britain the Late Bronze Age saw the first construction of a few hillforts and the start of the so-called 'Celtic' way of life.


Wat iz Bronze Age Mindset?

A specter is haunting the right-wing world—the specter of Bronze Age Pervert. His book, Bronze Age Mindset, has been a breakout hit among certain segments of the Very Online Right—prompting a response, first from Michael Anton in the Claremont Review of Books, and then from various authors in these pages. What is it in Bronze Age Mindset that has captured the interest, not only of anonymous “frogs” on Twitter, but of the right-wing intelligentsia? And what—if anything—can conservatives learn from the book, and from the phenomenon it typifies?

Bronze Age Pervert, as he styles himself, is an enigma wrapped in a mystery. His identity, not to mention everything else about him, is unclear. One thing, however, is apparent: the ideas he promotes have struck a serious chord, especially among the predominantly young male denizens of the right-wing internet. This alone makes BAM worth engaging with.

Engaging with BAP and his work is, of course, a difficult task: BAM is riddled with neologisms, peculiar locutions, and references to layers upon sedimentary layers of memetic discourse which only an insider could possibly hope to comprehend. It could be argued, of course, that this alone justifies ignoring the book and its author, chalking their uncanny success up to a bizarre fluke, and returning comfortably to our copies of Burke and the latest issue of the New Criterion. But this would be a mistake, as Bronze Age Pervert has something profound to teach us about the current state of civilization.

Before examining the positive content of Bronze Age Mindset, however, it is important to make clear what it is not. The book is subtitled “An Exhortation,” and an exhortation it is: it is not a book of philosophy. Readers expecting to encounter an organized system of thought will be disappointed. (This, as noted by BAP himself in his rejoinder to Anton, was the main weakness of Anton’s otherwise fine review. He examined BAM as a work of political philosophy, and this set the tone, more or less, for the discourse which followed.)

To examine BAM on its own terms, then, it is necessary to follow the advice of the King of Hearts and “begin at the beginning.” “I was roused from my slumber by my frog friends and I declare to you, with great boldness, that I am here to save you from a great ugliness,” BAP writes in his Prologue. This theme of “a great ugliness” will occupy BAP, in one form or another, for the rest of the book.

Bronze Age Eloquence

And what a book it is! Written in what can only be described as message-board patois, BAM is unsystematic in the best way. Its contents run the gamut from anecdotes about the author’s exploits in red-light districts to Schopenhaurian excurses on will to meditations on ancient Greek etymology. Its organization and style seem to be a conscious imitation of Nietzsche (a fact which is useful for judging whether or not the book succeeds on its own terms). And in true Nietzschean fashion, BAP seems to feel himself unconstrained by orthodoxy, intelligibility, or even basic grammar. Nonetheless, the book is surprisingly readable, and BAP’s style frequently slips from his idiosyncratic pidgin to surprising eloquence, not to say grandiloquence.

Much like his hero Nietzsche (whom he cites by name over twenty times, always approvingly), BAP writes in a style that is terse, epigrammatic, and designed to provoke thought. Consider these bons mots, just a small sampling of BAP’s many enigmatic interjections, which I include here not only because they are relevant to a discussion of the style and content of the book but also simply because I think they’re worth reading:

When they say they are atheists, I never believe them: atheists act like Stalin or Brezhnev, not like a Presbyterian schoolmarm.

[T]he moral meaning imposed on reincarnation by Buddhism and Hinduism is, like Plato’s, for reasons of social utility and is political.

No great discovery has ever been made by the power of reason. Reason is a means of communicating, imperfectly, some discoveries to others, and in the case of the sciences, a method of trying to render this communication certain and precise. But no one ever made a discovery through syllogisms, through reason, through this makeshift form of transmission.

Of course, such insights are not the sole contents of the book. At times BAP seems to be trolling the reader, testing him, seeing how much he can take before he will close the book in exasperation. Take Chapter 35, for instance, which I quote in full here:

Should the tyranny that has descended on our age ever gain the power it seeks and then be challenged enough to feel itself in danger, the mass annihilations that will be carried out by homosexual, transsexual, and especially lesbian commissars will exceed in scale and cruelty anything that has yet happened in known history. Imagine lesbian mulatta commissars with young Martin Sheen face and haircut manning the future Bergen-Belsens, installations that will span tens of miles.

One can’t help but wonder, reading passages like these, if BAP is even serious. Indeed, this may be the most dangerous part of the book and the irony-poisoned milieu from which it emerged: the near-total erosion of the line between irony and sincerity. Perhaps BAP is serious here perhaps he isn’t—but does it even matter? BAP would, of course, contest this, writing in a chapter entitled “Whoremoans” that “[t]here is no irony here: I don’t do irony! Learn that I don’t understand the gay idea of ‘irony’.” And yet the entire passage in which these sentences appear is written in a pervasive spirit of irony it’s as if BAP is playing a game of semiological chicken with his readers: “just how seriously are you going to take me?”

Given what I take to be BAP’s all-consuming irony (perhaps a better term would be levity), the most dangerous parts of the book are not, as Anton argues, the bit at the end where BAP seems to endorse piracy, or where he recommends Alcibiades as a model of his ideal way of life. If there is danger in Bronze Age Mindset, it lies in the overall spirit of the work. Various aspects of this have been discussed—his nihilism and relativism, his attitude toward manliness, and so forth—but thus far no critic of the work has painted a comprehensive picture of the Bronze Age Ethos, something which is surely a prerequisite for a critique.

To paraphrase Augustine, “what, then, is BAP?” What is the positive content of his message? What is it that has drawn so many people to that message? And what, if anything, can conservatives draw from it?

Bronze Age Mindset is, fundamentally, a gospel of sun and steel (a phrase BAP borrows from Yukio Mishima’s autobiographical essay Mishima is one of few people who BAP seems to take as a role model), but to what end? BAP answers this question in Chapter 15: he seeks “the life of the immortal gods who live in pure mountain air, and the sign of this life, where energy is marshaled to the production of higher order, is the aesthetic physique, the body in its glorious and divine beauty. The opposite of this godly life is “the surfeit of flesh we see on the obese and in general the lassitude, the spiritual obesity…the life of the human animal collapsed to mere life, life for the sake of life, as it devolves to the yeast form aesthetically, morally, intellectually, physically.”

What BAP refers to as “yeastlife” is, he tells us, the default condition for most of human history in the vast majority of times and places. His candor here is refreshing: most people would simply blame this phenomenon on modernity, and BAP’s consistent refusal to do so is admirable. It is not with this “yeast” that BAP concerns himself, but with those who possess the potential for something more, something greater. In short, he wishes us to be like the gods, the gods that he believes surely exist even as he waffles on the question of a capital-G God. The words “Victory to the Gods” appear as the epigraph to the book, and the only definition of the “Bronze Age Mindset” which is ostensibly the theme of the entire book is this: “The secret desire of every Greek…the Bronze Age mindset…was to be worshiped as a god!”

BAP, like the ancient Greeks he takes as his model, identifies this striving for godliness with the pursuit of beauty. This is most readily apparent on his Twitter feed, which consists mostly of shirtless photos of bodybuilders—not, he assures us, for any homoerotic reasons, but simply because they are beautiful. (It is commendable, incidentally, that BAP has nearly singlehandedly transformed the image associated with the online right from that of a bunch of overweight racists to that of bodybuilders reading Greek.) He is obsessed with beauty his main enemy, therefore, is ugliness. He sees this ugliness everywhere in fact, for him, it is the baseline condition of existence.

It is in service of this project, not as a result of mere animus, that BAP condemns or dismisses large groups of people in terms distasteful to the genteel establishment. Despite emerging from the fever swamps of the right-wing interwebz, BAP is not some sort of Nazi-adjacent goon. Nor is he the type of rank antisemite one would expect to encounter on 4chan. He is, admittedly, something of a misogynist, but his misogyny is not the crude hatred of contemporary “men’s rights activists” if anything, it more closely resembles the classical anti-feminism of Hesiod. But mostly it seems to be an outgrowth of BAP’s focus on the heroic male: women are not so much hated in Bronze Age Mindset as they are relegated to the side.

After the Fire

Try as BAP may to deny it, there is a coherent strand of thought running through Bronze Age Mindset, and it is typified not only by his exhortations to greatness and manly strength, but by passages like this one:

Some talk about this “madness behind things.” The real world is very different from the one that appears to us in waking life, but it’s not so different as to be entirely alien or abstract or “philosophical” in the way you might think. It’s not abstract, or made of perfect and eternal forms, it’s not somewhere else: it’s immanent, here, and within things, and it’s twisted. It doesn’t have any moral significance that can be understood by us. When Heraclitus speaks of all things being one, and all things being fire, he means this: when this actually shows itself to you, there is a demoniac and violent madness underlying things. The real world is similar to the apparent, but uncanny, devilish, disordered for us.

Here we have the nucleus of BAP’s thought about the world in as concise a form as ever we will, and it is worth examining it closely. The hallmarks of the Bronze Age Pervert are all here: the stream-of-consciousness style, disorganized yet flowing, is a telltale sign that this is a passage to be noted well the focus on what Nietzsche called the Dionysian, which BAP identifies with the Heraclitan fire and most of all, in the last sentence, the deep, Schopenhauerian pessimism—all of these are no less important to the understanding of BAP’s thinking than the pictures of Pietro Boselli and the neologisms of BAP’s internet pidgin.

So what, exactly, is the teaching of Bronze Age Mindset, and why is it so attractive to so many young men? The answer, I think, is simple: it is a revitalized paganism, obsessed with strength and beauty. It appeals to today’s young men because these things—strength and beauty—are exactly what contemporary society has tried so hard to deny them. The gospel of sun and steel, of vitalism and strength and power, are exactly what have been denied to the boys of the Western world, and their spirits militate against this. Everything great ever achieved, BAP tells us, was done “through strong friendships between two men, or brotherhoods of men, and this includes all great political things, all acts of political freedom and power.”

Throughout the entire book, I do not think I can recall a sentence more fundamentally true. BAP’s willingness to shatter every cultural taboo—to tell men that it’s okay to be men, that there’s more to masculinity than sitting in an office all day, a call to resist the decadence of a culture that has forgotten even the basic facts of biological reality, resonates deeply with today’s Lost Boys. To inspire men to excellence, to invite them to strive for greatness, nay, godliness—this is the positive content of BAP’s philosophy, and this is why it has become so popular. All else is chaff.

But is it enough? Will the recrudescent paganism of Bronze Age Mindset be enough to satisfy the souls of men? This, I think, is the most fundamental divergence between the “frogs” and the conservatives. BAP’s message is fundamentally one of strength, of the recovery of classical manliness, of Greek friendship, and of “nature, beauty, physical fitness, the preservation of high traditions of literature and art”: in short, a renaissance of culture. So we must ask ourselves: will culture be enough?

Or is something more required? Matthew Arnold famously defined culture as “sweetness and light,” but are sweetness and light enough to guide the souls of men? Or will Homer and bodybuilding turn out to be, as Eliot said, rather thin soup?

BAP, as mentioned earlier, recommends Alcibiades as the archetype of manhood. But we must remember, as Socrates pointed out, that there is one indispensable thing Alcibiades lacks: an understanding of justice. In fact, the very same Homeric epics that BAP praises, for Socrates, depict arguments over the nature of justice. This ought to point not towards the cynical Thrasymachean rule of the stronger but to meditation on virtue—a word which BAP only brings himself to use disparagingly. In short, BAP’s vision has to recommend it all the strengths of classical paganism, but it also has arrayed against it all its weaknesses. His Schopenhauerian pessimism is entertaining, but in the end it is, as BAP’s hero Nietzsche noted, nothing but another form of decadence. BAP is doubtless right that neither Ben-Op idealism nor integralist LARPing will get us out of the mess we’re in, but those camps are just as certainly correct that neither will sun and steel alone. (After all, BAP isn’t the first right-wing Nietzschean to advocate piracy as a solution to collapse…)

In short, Bronze Age Mindset ought to be viewed as a stepping stone, a useful bridge from the weakness of modern man to virtue and greatness, but nothing more. What is that something more? His acolytes, and all young men, must search now for the answer.


Ancient warlord’s skeleton and sword discovered after 1,400 years

Fox News Flash top headlines for October 6

The remains of an Anglo-Saxon warlord have been uncovered in southern England, in a pagan burial site that experts say lain undisturbed for more than 1,400 years.

Archaeologists uncovered the 6th century A.D. skeleton in Berkshire, according to a statement released by the U.K.’s University of Reading. The remains of the ancient warrior dubbed the “Marlow Warlord,” were found in a hilltop burial site alongside an array of weapons, including a sword in a decorated scabbard and spears.

The warrior is described as a “commanding, six-foot-tall man,” by the University of Reading, which notes that the site was first discovered by two metal detectorists, Sue and Mick Washington, in 2018.

“On two earlier visits I had received a large signal from this area which appeared to be deep iron and most likely not to be of interest,” said Sue Washington, in the statement released by the university. “However, the uncertainty preyed on my mind and on my next trip I just had to investigate, and this proved to be third time lucky!”

The remains of the Anglo-Saxon warlord. (The University of Reading)

Sue and other members of the Maidenhead Search Society metal detecting club had visited the site on several locations, where she initially uncovered two bronze bowls. The metal detectorist registered the find with the Portable Antiquities Scheme, run by the U.K. Government and the British Museum, which undertook its own excavation, unearthing two bronze spearheads.

The bowls, which were donated by Sue, and the spearheads, are set to go on display in the Buckinghamshire Museum in Aylesbury.

With the site identified as a likely Anglo-Saxon grave, the Department of Archaeology at the University of Reading completed a full survey and excavation in August 2020.

“This guy would have been tall and robust compared to other men at the time, and would have been an imposing figure even today,” said Dr. Gabor Thomas, a specialist in early medieval archaeology at the University of Reading, in the statement. “The nature of his burial and the site with views overlooking the Thames suggest he was a respected leader of a local tribe and had probably been a formidable warrior in his own right.”

Sue Washington, the metal detectorist who discovered the burial. (James Mather)

The sword and scabbard, along with other items unearthed, such as spears, and bronze and glass vessels, are being conserved by Pieta Greaves of Drakon Heritage and Conservation, according to the University of Reading. Additional analysis of the human remains will be undertaken by the University’s Archaeology department in an effort to determine his age, health, diet and origins.

The U.K. continues to reveal new aspects of its rich history. In a separate project earlier this year, archaeologists said they are confident they have uncovered the remains of a lost Anglo-Saxon-era monastery.

Wessex Archaeology reported that two semi-circular stone structures were found beneath Bath Abbey.

Other discoveries from the Anglo-Saxon era have been garnering attention in recent years. Last year, for example, archaeologists revealed new details of the earliest Christian royal burial ever found in Britain, which they compared to the famous King Tutankhamun's tomb.

In 2003, road workers in the village of Prittlewell, in southern England, accidentally uncovered a 1,400-year-old Anglo-Saxon tomb, which was then excavated by archaeologists. The discoveries include a gold buckle, which indicates a high-status burial, possibly a prince. Two small gold-foil crosses found at the head of the coffin suggest a Christian burial.


Acknowledgements

This article has been written as part of the project StoRock (Storytelling in Rock Art), financed by the Swedish Research Council (Grant no. 2016–01288), to which we hereby would like to express our gratitude. This paper is partly based on observations the authors made during a field trip to the rock-art sites at Norrköping in August 2017. The visit to Norrköping was undertaken together with Ellen Meijer, from the Swedish Rock Art Research Archives (SHFA), who made the laser scans used in this paper, and we wish to thank her for her participation.


Noceto Vasca Votiva dated to 15th c. B.C.

The Noceto Vasca Votiva, a large wooden basin discovered in the Po Plain of northern Italy, has been absolutely dated to 1444 B.C. thanks to an innovative combination of tree ring and radiocarbon dating. Previously the date range could only narrowed down to 1600-1300 B.C., and the new precise date places the construction of this monumental pool at a moment of great societal change in Bronze Age northern Italy.

The structure was discovered in 2004 during construction work on a hill in the south side of Noceto. Digging in the side of the hill revealed a large stratified pit containing fragments of pottery and wooden posts. Subsequent excavations revealed an extraordinary structure that is unique on the archaeological record. It was located at the edge of a Terramare, a Late Bronze Age settlement of a type found in Po Plain. The remains of the settlement are almost completely gone, destroyed by quarrying in the 19th century.

/>It was built of oak poles, beams and planks and measures about 40 by 23 feet, larger than most home in-ground pools today. The wood-lined tank was also in-ground. The hillside was dug out to make a large pit into which the structure was inset. It was constructed in two phases. The first tank, known as the Lower Tank, collapsed either during construction or right after it. The remains consist of 36 vertical poles planted into the subsoil at regular intervals along a rectangular perimeter. Planks were locked into grooves on the poles to support the pit walls, and at the floor level posts and boards were anchored to posts in the center of the pit and to horizontal beams. Wood shavings and tools were found there indicating the walls, under pressure from the heavy clay soil, collapsed suddenly before it was finished.

The second tank, known as the Upper Tank, was built on top of it. Some of the Lower Tank’s wood was recycled into the Upper, but the design, shape and size were altered to correct the flaws that caused the first tanks demise. Much more of the Upper Tank survives, preserved for millennia in the anoxic environment created by layers of sediment, peat and rainwash. It consists of 26 vertical poles along the rectangular perimeter. The poles hold almost 250 horizontal beams that slightly overlap each to create a strong interlocking structure. Beams crisscross the base of the rectangle, first across its width, then across it length. They are reinforced by two long beams that cross the tank on the diagonal to act as supports for the four corner poles.

All of this took an enormous amount of work and determination to accomplish. Excavating the hillside, removing tons of soil, dragging the oak timbers to site and building the tank not once but twice underscores how important it was to the builders. Sediment analysis found that the once completed, the Upper Tank was filled with water.

Its location at the top of the hill was too inconvenient for a cistern. There are no channels as there would be if it was used for irrigation. Archaeologists unearthed a large quantity of depositions: about 150 whole vases, 25 miniature vessels, seven clay figurines, plus baskets, handles, spindles, shovels and wooden plow parts. They were not haphazardly strewn into the tank, but carefully lowered into it in at least three separate deposition events. This indicates the tank was used for ritual purposes.

The exact dates of the tanks was pinpointed by a team from Cornell University’s Tree-Ring Laboratory using 28 wood samples, nine from the Upper Tank, 19 from the Lower Tank.

Among the lab’s specialties is tree-ring sequenced radiocarbon “wiggle-matching,” in which ancient wooden objects are dated by matching the patterns of radiocarbon isotopes from their annual growth increments (i.e., tree rings) with patterns from datasets found elsewhere around the world. This enables ultra-precise dating even when a continuous tree-ring sequence for a particular species and geographic area is not yet available.

“Working at an archaeological site, you’re often trying to do dendrochronology with relatively few samples, sometimes in less than ideal condition, because they’ve been falling apart for the last 3,500 years before you get to see them. It’s not like a healthy tree that is growing out in the wild right now,” Manning said. “We often measure the samples a number of times to extract as much signal as we can.” […]

Manning’s team made multiple attempts with different samples. While the wood from the Noceto site was well-preserved – a rarity, given its age – there was an unexpected challenge when the samples did not seem to fit the international radiocarbon calibration curve that is used for matching tree-ring sequences. This suggested the curve needed revising for certain time periods, and in 2020 a new version was published. The Noceto data finally fit.

By combining radiocarbon dating calibrated via dendrochronologies from southern Germany, Ireland and North America, along with computer-intensive statistics, the Cornell team was able to establish a tree-ring record that spanned several hundred years. They pegged the construction of the lower and upper tanks at 1444 and 1432 B.C., respectively and they determined the finished structure was in use for several decades before it was abandoned, for reasons that may never be known.

The new timeline is particularly significant because it synchs up with a period of enormous change in Italian prehistory.

“You’ve had one way of life in operation for hundreds of years, and then you seem to have a switch to fewer, larger settlements, more international trade, more specialization, such as textile manufacture, and a change in burial practices,” Manning said. “There is something of a pattern all around the world. Nearly every time there’s a major change in social organization, there tends often to be an episode of building what might be described as unnecessary monuments. So when you get the first states forming in Egypt, you get the pyramids. Stonehenge marks a major change in southern England. Noceto is not the scale of Stonehenge, but it has some similarities – an act of major place-making.”

The study has been published in the journal PLoS ONE and can be read in its entirety here.


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