The Bronze Age

The Bronze Age lasted from about 4,000 B.C. to 1,200 B.C. During this period everything from weapons to agricultural tools to hairpins was made with bronze (a copper-tin alloy). Weapons and tools made from bronze replaced crude implements of stone, wood, bone, and copper. Bronze knives are considerable sharper than copper ones.

 Bronze is much stronger than copper.


Metallurgy - and how it might have begun

Just think for a moment - You are living in the late Stone Age. The grand Neolithic Age.

You are going about your business tending to your animals or maybe checking your crop.

What's that on the ground. It's a very strange chunk of rock. It's quite shiny.

You pick it up and take it home. This calls for some more investigating.

You hit it with a hammer, expecting it to break like most of the rocks you know, but instead, you dent it. Well, that's something special!

A few more hits and you find that it can be shaped. You try shaping it into a knife. Well, the edge is sharp, but it bends too much to be of any use.

Although you don't have a name for it yet - what you have just found is a lump of copper. Copper is a very soft metal.

It's not much good to you, so you throw it into the fire. Now, that's strange. The lump is glowing - it glows brighter than any rock you have ever seen.

When it gets really bright, it starts to melt and drip.


Much later, when the fire is out and quite cold, you see your shiny metal and it has solidified into a lump. But not a lump like it was before. It has taken the shape of the small depression in the small rock it fell on.


Maybe you could do something with this strange metal after all. You start to think of all the shapes you could change it into just by making it really hot.


Thus metallurgy was born.

Discovering Bronze
People began to experiment with different ways to shape and melt the copper. They also began to find different kinds of metal. They found that some metals needed more heat the melt. Some were harder than others.

Finally, through accident or intentional experimentation, someone discovered that adding tin to copper made a harder metal.


The combination of two metals into a new substance is called an alloy. With the ratio of 90% copper and 10% tin, a whole new age came to life, the Bronze Age.


Houses in the Early Bronze Age were usually round with a conical roof and a single entrance.

Early and late Bronze age

BBC class clips Bronze Age

The history of Britain through the eyes of one family (part 2)

Welcome to the IRON AGE


BBC class clips Iron Age

The history of Britain through the eyes of one family (part 3)