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Post by DIESEL on Sat Jun 13, 2009 2:05 pm

The place and time of the invention of bronze are controversial. It is possible that bronzing was invented independently in the Maykop culture in the North Caucasus as far back as the mid 4th millennium BC, which would make them the makers of the oldest known bronze; but others date the same Maykop artifacts to the mid 3rd millennium BC. However, the Maykop culture only had arsenic bronze, which is a naturally occurring alloy. Tin bronze, which developed later, requires more sophisticated production techniques; tin has to be mined (mainly as the tin ore cassiterite) and smelted separately, then added to molten copper to make the bronze alloy. The Bronze Age was a time of heavy metal usage.

Near East
Main article: Ancient Near East

Periodization for the Bronze Age in the Ancient Near East is as follows:
Bronze Age
(3300–1200 BC) Early Bronze Age
(3300–2000 BC) Early Bronze Age I 3300–3000 BC
Early Bronze Age II 3000–2700 BC
Early Bronze Age III 2700–2200 BC
Early Bronze Age IV 2200–2000 BC
Middle Bronze Age
(2000–1550 BC) Middle Bronze Age I 2000–1750 BC
Middle Bronze Age II 1750–1650 BC
Middle Bronze Age III 1650–1550 BC
Late Bronze Age
(1550–1200 BC) Late Bronze Age I 1550–1400 BC
Late Bronze Age II A 1400–1300 BC
Late Bronze Age II B 1300–1200 BC

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