Nordic Bronze Age
The Nordic Bronze Age is a period of Scandinavian prehistory from c. 1700–500 BC. The Bronze Age culture of this era succeeded the Nordic Stone Age culture and was followed by the Pre-Roman Iron Age; the archaeological legacy of the Nordic Bronze Age culture is rich, but the ethnic and linguistic affinities of it are unknown, in the absence of written sources. Some scholars include sites in what is now Finland, northern Germany and Pomerania, as part of its cultural sphere. Settlement in the Scandinavian Bronze Age period consisted of single farmsteads, with no towns or substantial villages known - farmsteads consisted of a longhouse plus additional four-post built structures - longhouses were two aisled, after c.1300 BCE three aisled structure became normal. Evidence of multiple longhouses at a single site have been found, but they are thought to date to different periods, rather than being of the same date. Settlements were geographically located on higher ground, tended to be concentrated near the sea.
Associated with settlements were burial mounds and cemeteries, with interments including oak coffins and urn burials. Both agriculture and keeping of domesticated animals were practiced, fishing and shellfish were sources of food, as well as deer and other wild animal hunting. There is evidence that oxen were used as draught animals, domesticated dogs were common, horses were rarer and status symbols. Though Scandinavians joined the European Bronze Age cultures late through trade, Scandinavian sites present a rich and well-preserved legacy of bronze and gold objects; these valuable metals were all imported from Central Europe, but they were crafted locally and the craftsmanship and metallurgy of the Nordic Bronze Age was of a high standard. The archaeological legacy comprise locally of crafted wool and wooden objects and there are many tumuli and rock carving sites from this period, but no written language existed in the Nordic countries during the Bronze Age; the rock carvings have been dated through comparison with depicted artifacts, for example bronze axes and swords.
There are numerous Nordic Stone Age rock carvings, those of northern Scandinavia portray elk. Thousands of rock carvings from this period depict ships, the large stone burial monuments known as stone ships, suggest that ships and seafaring played an important role in the culture at large; the depicted ships, most represents sewn plank built canoes used for warfare and trade. These ship types may have their origin as far back as the neolithic period and they continue into the Pre-Roman Iron Age, as exemplified by the Hjortspring boat. 3,600-year old bronze axes and other tools made from Cypriot copper have been found in the region. Oscar Montelius, who coined the term used for the period, divided it into six distinct sub-periods in his piece Om tidsbestämning inom bronsåldern med särskilt avseende på Skandinavien published in 1885, still in wide use, his absolute chronology has held up well against radiocarbon dating, with the exception that the period's start is closer to 1700 BC than 1800 BC, as Montelius suggested.
For Central Europe a different system developed by Paul Reinecke is used, as each area has its own artifact types and archaeological periods. A broader subdivision is the Early Bronze Age, between 1700 BC and 1100 BC, the Late Bronze Age, 1100 BC to 550 BC; these divisions and periods are followed by the Pre-Roman Iron Age. The Nordic Bronze Age was characterized by a warm climate that began with a climate change around 2700 BC; the climate was comparable to that of present-day central Germany and northern France and permitted a dense population and good opportunities for farming. A minor change in climate occurred between 850 BC and 760 BC, introducing a wetter, colder climate and a more radical climate change began around 650 BC. There is no coherent knowledge about the Nordic Bronze Age religion. Written sources are lacking, but archaeological finds draw a vague and fragmented picture of the religious practices and the nature of the religion of this period. Only some possible sects and only certain possible tribes are known.
Some of the best clues come from tumuli, elaborate artifacts, votive offerings and rock carvings scattered across Northern Europe. Many finds indicate a strong sun-worshipping cult in the Nordic Bronze Age and various animals have been associated with the sun's movement across the sky, including horses, birds and marine creatures. A female or mother goddess is believed to have been worshipped. Hieros gamos rites may have been common and there have been several finds of fertility symbols. A pair of twin gods are believed to have been worshipped, is reflected in a duality in all things sacred: where sacrificial artifacts have been buried they are found in pairs. Sacrifices had a strong connection to bodies of water. Boglands, streams or lakes were used as ceremonial and holy places for sacrifices and many artifacts have been found in such locations. Ritual instruments such as bronze lurs have been uncovered in the region of Denmark and western Sweden. Lur horns are depicted in several rock carvings and are believed to have been used in ceremonies.
Remnants of the
The Cucuteni–Trypillia culture known as the Tripolye culture, is a Neolithic–Eneolithic archaeological culture of Eastern Europe. It extended from the Carpathian Mountains to the Dniester and Dnieper regions, centred on modern-day Moldova and covering substantial parts of western Ukraine and northeastern Romania, encompassing an area of 350,000 km2, with a diameter of 500 km; the majority of Cucuteni–Trypillia settlements consisted of high-density, small settlements, concentrated in the Siret and Dniester river valleys. During the Middle Trypillia phase, populations belonging to the Cucuteni–Trypillia culture built the largest settlements in Neolithic Europe, some of which contained as many as 3,000 structures and were inhabited by 20,000 to 46,000 people. One of the most notable aspects of this culture was the periodic destruction of settlements, with each single-habitation site having a lifetime of 60 to 80 years; the purpose of burning these settlements is a subject of debate among scholars.
One particular location. The culture was named after the village of Cucuteni in Iași County, Romania. In 1884, Teodor T. Burada, after having seen ceramic fragments in the gravel used to maintain the road from Târgu Frumos to Iași, investigated the quarry in Cucuteni from where the material was mined, where he found fragments of pottery and terracotta figurines. Burada and other scholars from Iași, including the poet Nicolae Beldiceanu and archeologists Grigore Butureanu, Dimitrie C. Butculescu and George Diamandy, subsequently began the first excavations at Cucuteni in the spring of 1885, their findings were published in 1885 and 1889, presented in two international conferences in 1889, both in Paris: at the International Union for Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sciences by Butureanu and at a meeting of the Society of Anthropology of Paris by Diamandi. At the same time, the first Ukrainian sites ascribed to the culture were discovered by Vikentiy Khvoyka, a Czech-born Ukrainian archeologist, in Kyiv at Kyrylivska street 55.
The year of his discoveries has been variously claimed as 1893, 1896 and 1887. Subsequently, Chvojka presented his findings at the 11th Congress of Archaeologists in 1897, considered the official date of the discovery of the Trypillia culture in Ukraine. In the same year, similar artifacts were excavated in the village of Trypillia, in Kyiv Oblast, Ukraine; as a result, this culture became identified in Ukrainian publications, as the'Tripolie','Tripolian' or'Trypillia' culture. Today, the finds from both Romania and Ukraine, as well as those from Moldova, are recognised as belonging to the same cultural complex, it is called the Cucuteni culture in Romania and the Trypillia culture in Ukraine. In English, "Cucuteni–Tripolye culture" is most used to refer to the whole culture, with the Ukrainian-derived term "Cucuteni–Trypillia culture" gaining currency following the dissolution of the Soviet Union; the Cucuteni–Trypillia culture flourished in the territory of what is now Moldova, northeastern Romania and parts of Western and Southern Ukraine.
The culture thus extended northeast from the Danube river basin around the Iron Gates to the Black Sea and the Dnieper. It encompassed the central Carpathian Mountains as well as the plains and forest steppe on either side of the range, its historical core lay around the middle to upper Dniester. During the Atlantic and Subboreal climatic periods in which the culture flourished, Europe was at its warmest and moistest since the end of the last Ice Age, creating favorable conditions for agriculture in this region; as of 2003, about 3,000 cultural sites have been identified, ranging from small villages to "vast settlements consisting of hundreds of dwellings surrounded by multiple ditches". Traditionally separate schemes of periodisation have been used for the Ukrainian Trypillia and Romanian Cucuteni variants of the culture; the Cucuteni scheme, proposed by the German archaeologist Hubert Schmidt in 1932, distinguished three cultures: Pre-Cucuteni and Horodiştea–Folteşti. The Ukrainian scheme was first developed by Tatiana Sergeyevna Passek in 1949 and divided the Trypillia culture into three main phases with further sub-phases.
Based on informal ceramic seriation, both schemes have been extended and revised since first proposed, incorporating new data and formalised mathematical techniques for artifact seriation. The Cucuteni–Trypillia culture is divided into an Early, Late period, with varying smaller sub-divisions marked by changes in settlement and material culture. A key point of contention lies in; the following chart represents this most current interpretation: The roots of Cucuteni–Trypillia culture can be found in the Starčevo–Körös–Criș and Vinča cultures of the 6th to 5th millennia, with additional influence from the Bug–Dniester culture. During the early period of its existence, the Cucuteni–Trypillia culture was influenced by the Linear Pottery culture
The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of humankind. It was preceded by the Bronze Age; the concept has been applied to Europe and the Ancient Near East, and, by analogy to other parts of the Old World. The duration of the Iron Age varies depending on the region under consideration, it is defined by archaeological convention, the mere presence of some cast or wrought iron is not sufficient to represent an Iron Age culture. For example, Tutankhamun's meteoric iron dagger comes from the Bronze Age. 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 spread to South Asia. Its further spread to Central Asia, Eastern Europe, Central Europe is somewhat delayed, Northern Europe is reached still by about 500 BC; the Iron Age is taken to end by convention, with the beginning of the historiographical record. This does not represent a clear break in the archaeological record.
The Germanic Iron Age of Scandinavia is taken to end c. AD 800, with the beginning of the Viking Age. 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; the use of the term "Iron Age" in the archaeology of South and Southeast Asia is more recent, less common, than for western Eurasia. The Sahel 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; the three-age system was introduced in the first half of the 19th century for the archaeology of Europe in particular, by the 19th century expanded to the archaeology of the Ancient Near East. Its name harks back to the mythological "Ages of Man" of Hesiod; as an archaeological era it was first introduced for Scandinavia by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen in the 1830s. By the 1860s, it was embraced as a useful division of the "earliest history of mankind" in general and began to be applied in Assyriology.
The development of the now-conventional periodization in the archaeology of the Ancient Near East was developed in the 1920s to 1930s. As its name suggests, Iron Age technology is characterized by the production of tools and weaponry by ferrous metallurgy, more from carbon steel; the Iron Age in Europe is being seen as a part of the Bronze Age collapse in the ancient Near East, in ancient India, ancient Iran, ancient Greece. 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; the Near Eastern Iron Age is divided into two subsections, Iron I and Iron II. Iron I illustrates both discontinuity with the previous Late Bronze Age. There is no definitive cultural break between the 13th and 12th centuries BC throughout the entire region, although certain new features in the hill country and coastal region may suggest the appearance of the Aramaean and Sea People groups. There is evidence, however, of strong continuity with Bronze Age culture, although as one moves into Iron I the culture begins to diverge more from that of the late 2nd millennium.
The Iron Age as an archaeological period is defined as that part of the prehistory of a culture or region during which ferrous metallurgy was the dominant technology of metalworking. The periodization is not tied to the presence of ferrous metallurgy and is to some extent a matter of convention; the characteristic of an Iron Age culture is mass production of tools and weapons made from steel alloys with a carbon content between 0.30% and 1.2% by weight. 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. To this day bronze and brass have not been replaced in many applications, with the spread of steel being based as much on economics as on metallurgical advancements. A range of techniques have been used to produce steel from smelted iron, including techniques such as case-hardening and forge welding that were used to make cutting edges stronger. By convention, the Iron Age in the Ancient Near East is taken to last from c. 1200 BC to c. 550 BC, taken as the beginning of historiography or the end of the proto-historical period.
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 directly into the Qin dynasty of imperial China; the following gives an overview over the
The Únětice culture is an archaeological culture at the start of the Central European Bronze Age, dated to about 2300–1600 BC. The eponymous site for this culture, the village of Únětice, is located in the central Czech Republic, northwest of Prague. Today, the Únětice culture is known from about 1,400 sites in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, 550 sites in Poland, and, in Germany, about 500 sites and loose finds locations; the Únětice culture is known from north-eastern Austria, from western Ukraine. The Únětice culture originated in the territories of contemporary Bohemia. Ten local sub-groups can be distinguished in its classical phase: Bohemia Group Moravia Group Slovakia Group. At about the same time, the first Úněticean burial ground was unearthed in Southern Moravia in Měnín by A. Rzehak. Following these initial discoveries and until the 1930s, many more sites cemeteries, were identified, including Němčice nad Hanou, sites in vicinity of Prague, Šardičky. In Germany, a Úněticean barrow in Leubingen had been excavated by F. Klopfleisch in 1877.
In subsequent years, a main cluster of Úněticean sites in Central Germany was identified at Baalberge, Nienstedt, Körner, Halberstadt, Klein Quenstedt, Wernigerode and Quedlinburg. At the same time and Straubing groups were defined in 1918 by Schumacher. In Poland, the first archaeologist associated with the discovery and identification of the Únětice culture was Hans Seger. Seger not only discovered several Úněticean sites and supervised pioneering excavations in locations such as Przecławice, but he linked Bohemian European Bronze Age materials with similar assemblages in Lower Silesia. In Greater Poland, the first excavations at royal Úněticean necropolis of Łęki Małe were undertaken by Józef Kostrzewski in 1931, but major archaeological discoveries at this site were made only years in 1953 and 1955. In 1935 Kostrzewski published the first data and findings of the Iwno culture, another Bronze Age culture contemporaneous with the Únětice EBA, from Western Poland. In 1960 Wanda Sarnowska began excavations in Szczepankowice near Wrocław, southwest Poland, where a new group of barrows was unearthed.
In 1969 she published a new monograph on the Únětice culture in which she cataloged and described assemblages deriving from 373 known EBA Úněticean sites in Poland. The first unified chronological system based on a typology of ceramics and metal artefacts for the Únětice culture in Bohemia was introduced by Moucha in 1963; this chronological system consisting of six sub-phases was considered valid for the Bohemian groups of the Únětice culture, was adapted in Poland and in Germany. The Únětice culture has been cited as a pan-European cultural phenomenon whose influence covered large areas due to intensive exchange, with Únětice pottery and bronze artefacts found from Ireland to Scandinavia, the Italian Peninsula, the Balkans; as such, it is candidate for a late community connecting a continuum of scattered North-West Indo-European languages ancestral to Italic and Germanic, Balto-Slavic, where words were exchanged and a common lexicon and certain regional isoglosses were shared. The culture corresponds to Bronze A1 and A2 in the chronological schema of Paul Reinecke: A1: 2300–1950 BC: triangular daggers, flat axes, stone wrist-guards, flint arrowheads A2: 1950–1700 BC: daggers with metal hilt, flanged axes, pins with perforated spherical heads, solid bracelets The culture is distinguished by its characteristic metal objects, including ingot torcs, flat axes, flat triangular daggers, bracelets with spiral ends, disk- and paddle-headed pins, curl rings, which are distributed over a wide area of Central Europe and beyond.
The ingots are found in hoards. Axe-hoards are common as well: the hoard of Dieskau contained 293 flanged axes. Thus, axes might have served as ingots as well. After about 2000 BC, this hoarding tradition is only resumed in the urnfield period; these hoards have been interpreted as a form of storage by itinerant bronze-founders or as riches hidden because of enemy action. This second interpretation is as today weapons are hoarded underground to hide them from the enemy and axes were the primary weapon at that time. Hoards containing jewellery are typical for the Adlerberg group. Archaeological evidence suggests that the Únětice metal industry, though active and innovative, was concerned with producing weapons and ornaments as status symbols for high-ranking individuals rather than for widespread domestic use or for equipping large fighting forces, developments which would wait until periods in European history, but the Adlerberg cemetery of Hofheim/Taunus, contained the burial of a male who had died from an arrow-shot, the stone arrow-head still being located in his arm.
The famous Sky Disk of Nebra is associated with the Central Germany groups of the Únětice culture. From a technical point of view, Úněticea
Canaan was a Semitic-speaking region in the Ancient Near East during the late 2nd millennium BC. The name Canaan appears throughout the Bible, where it corresponds to the Levant, in particular to the areas of the Southern Levant that provide the main setting of the narrative of the Bible: Phoenicia, Philistia and other nations; the word Canaanites serves as an ethnic catch-all term covering various indigenous populations—both settled and nomadic-pastoral groups—throughout the regions of the southern Levant or Canaan. It is by far the most used ethnic term in the Bible. In the Book of Joshua, Canaanites are included in a list of nations to exterminate, described as a group which the Israelites had annihilated. Biblical scholar Mark Smith notes that archaeological data suggests "that the Israelite culture overlapped with and derived from Canaanite culture... In short, Israelite culture was Canaanite in nature; the name "Canaanites" is attested, many centuries as the endonym of the people known to the Ancient Greeks from c. 500 BC as Phoenicians, following the emigration of Canaanite-speakers to Carthage, was used as a self-designation by the Punics of North Africa during Late Antiquity.
Canaan had significant geopolitical importance in the Late Bronze Age Amarna period as the area where the spheres of interest of the Egyptian, Hittite and Assyrian Empires converged. Much of modern knowledge about Canaan stems from archaeological excavation in this area at sites such as Tel Hazor, Tel Megiddo, Gezer; the English term Canaan comes via Greek Χαναάν Khanaan and Latin Canaan. It appears as in the Amarna letters, knʿn is found on coins from Phoenicia in the last half of the 1st millennium, it first occurs in Greek in the writings of Hecataeus as Khna. Scholars connect the name Canaan with knʿn, Kana'an, the general Northwest Semitic name for this region; the etymology is uncertain. An early explanation derives the term from the Semitic root knʿ "to be low, subjugated"; some scholars have suggested that this implies an original meaning of "lowlands", in contrast with Aram, which would mean "highlands", whereas others have suggested it meant "the subjugated" as the name of Egypt's province in the Levant, evolved into the proper name in a similar fashion to Provincia Nostra.
An alternative suggestion put forward by Ephraim Avigdor Speiser in 1936 derives the term from Hurrian Kinahhu, purportedly referring to the colour purple, so that Canaan and Phoenicia would be synonyms. Tablets found in the Hurrian city of Nuzi in the early 20th century appear to use the term Kinahnu as a synonym for red or purple dye, laboriously produced by the Kassite rulers of Babylon from murex shells as early as 1600 BC, on the Mediterranean coast by the Phoenicians from a byproduct of glassmaking. Purple cloth became a renowned Canaanite export commodity, mentioned in Exodus; the dyes may have been named after their place of origin. The name'Phoenicia' is connected with the Greek word for "purple" referring to the same product, but it is difficult to state with certainty whether the Greek word came from the name, or vice versa; the purple cloth of Tyre in Phoenicia was well known far and wide and was associated by the Romans with nobility and royalty. However, according to Robert Drews, Speiser's proposal has been abandoned.
Canaanite culture developed in situ from the earlier Ghassulian chalcolithic culture, which pioneered the Mediterranean agricultural system typical of the Canaanite region, which comprised intensive subsistence horticulture, extensive grain growing, commercial wine and olive cultivation and transhumance pastoralism. Ghassulian itself developed from the Circum-Arabian Nomadic Pastoral Complex, which in turn developed from a fusion of their ancestral Natufian and Harifian cultures with Pre-Pottery Neolithic B farming cultures, practicing animal domestication, during the 6200 BC climatic crisis which led to the Agricultural Revolution/Neolithic Revolution in the Levant; the Late Bronze Age state of Ugarit is considered quintessentially Canaanite archaeologically though its Ugaritic language does not belong to the Canaanite language group proper. A disputed reference to Lord of ga-na-na in the Semitic Ebla tablets from the archive of Tell Mardikh has been interpreted by some scholars to mention the deity Dagon by the title "Lord of Canaan" If correct, this would suggest that Eblaites were conscious of Canaan as an entity by 2500 BC.
Jonathan Tubb states that the term ga-na-na "may provide a third-millennium reference to Canaanite", while at the same time stating that the first certain reference is in the 18th century BC. See Ebla-Biblical controversy for further details. A letter from Mut-bisir to Shamshi-Adad I of the Old Assyrian Empire has been translated: "It is in Rahisum that the brigands and the Canaanites are situated", it was found in 1973 in the ruins of an Assyrian outpost at that time in Syria. Additional unpublished references to Kinahnum in the Mari letters refer to the same episode. Whether the term Kinahnum refers to people from a specific region or rather people of "foreign origin" has been disputed, such that Robert Drews states that the "first certain cuneiform reference" to Canaan is found on the Alalakh statue of King Idrim
The Majiayao culture was a group of neolithic communities who lived in the upper Yellow River region in eastern Gansu, eastern Qinghai and northern Sichuan, China. The culture existed from 3300 to 2000 BC; the Majiayao culture represents the first time that the Upper Yellow River region was occupied by agricultural communities and it is famous for its painted pottery, regarded as a peak of pottery manufacturing at that time. The archaeological site was first found in 1924 near the village of Majiayao in Lintao County, Gansu by Swedish archaeologist Johan Gunnar Andersson, who considered it part of the Yangshao culture. Following the work of Xia Nai, the founder of modern archaeology in the People's Republic of China, it has since been considered a distinct culture, named after the original site, whereas it had been referred to as the "Gansu Yangshao" culture; this culture developed through an intermediate Shilingxia phase. The culture is divided into three phases: Majiayao and Machang. At the end of the third millennium BC, the Qijia culture succeeded the Majiayao culture at sites in three main geographic zones: eastern Gansu, central Gansu, western Gansu/eastern Qinghai.
Majiayao phase sites are found on terraces along: the upper Wei River valley. The most distinctive artifacts of the Majiayao culture are the painted pottery. During the Majiayao phase, potters decorated their wares with designs in black pigment featuring sweeping parallel lines and dots. Pottery of the Banshan phase is distinguished by curvilinear designs using both black and red paints. Machang-phase pottery is similar, but not as finished, its development is associated with interaction between hunter-gatherers in the Qinghai region and the westward expansion of agricultural Yangshao people. In contrast to plain pottery, the Majiayao painted pottery was produced at large, centralised workshops; the largest Neolithic workshop found in China is at Gansu. The manufacture of large amounts of painted pottery means there were professional craftspeople to produce it, taken to indicate increasing social complexity. Control over the production process and quality declined by the Banshan phase due to greater demand for pottery to use in funeral rituals, similar to what Hung Ling-yu calls the "modern Wal-Mart syndrome".
Samples of Majiayao pottery from different phases The oldest bronze object found in China was a knife found at a Majiayao site in Dongxiang and dated to 2900–2740 BC. Further copper and bronze objects have been found at Machang-period sites in Gansu. Metallurgy spread to the middle and lower Yellow River region in the late 3rd millennium BC. Scholars have come to the conclusion that the development of the Majiayao culture was related to climate changes. A group of scholars from Lanzhou University have researched climate changes during the Majiayao culture and the results indicate that the climate was wet during 5830 to 4900 BP, which promoted the development of early and middle Majiayao culture in eastern Qinghai province. However, from 4900 to 4700 BP, the climate underwent droughts in this area, which may be responsible for the decline and eastward movement of prehistoric cultures during the period of transition from early-mid to late Majiayao culture; the transition from Yangshao to Majiayao coincides, with the Piora Oscillation.
History of metallurgy in China List of Neolithic cultures of China Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors Xia dynasty Xishanping