Metal age definition stages characteristics and Social organization

Age of metals

The Prehistory was a very long period in which great transformations were giving the world and its inhabitants. In this article we will make you aware about the Metal age.

It was divided into 3 main stages ( Copper Age ; Bronze Age ; Iron Age ) and took place between approximately 6000 BC and 1000 BC .

This period was in turn divided into different parts, which were mainly influenced by the handling of the earth’s minerals and with which great advances were made in different areas.

Stages of the Metal Age

It is believed that the Metal Age did not begin or end at the same time in each region of the planet, since this is characterized by the beginning of the use of different metals such as copper, bronze and iron in the manufacture of tools. and later in all areas.

Even so, the approximate 6th millennium BC of the Metal Age is established as the BEGINNING and the END in the 1st millennium BC approx, in most regions of the world.

Next, we will briefly analyze each of the stages into which this period is divided: Copper Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age.

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Copper Age

The first metal that man knew and began to use in his daily life was copper, which is why this period was known as the Copper Age, which began approximately in the years 6,500 BC after the Stone Age .

There were several utensils that the men of that time made with copper, although they clearly did not stop using the stone and other materials that they had known until now .

New items include arrowheads, so useful and now more effective for hunting animals; utensils to plow the land, which allowed them to enter agriculture; vessels that allowed them to make more utensils; and ornaments, which were used mainly in funeral rites.

On the other hand, the discovery of foundry as part of the elaboration of metal objects is considered fundamental and extremely important . Through smelting, they learned that they could separate the different minerals from the soil and remove impurities from them, achieving quality and durable products. With this discovery, metallurgy began and many of its techniques were improved over time.

Bronze Age

After they learned about the process to separate or join metals, they experimented with joining different metals and minerals to create a more resistant material. This is how the creation of bronze arose, which is achieved with the alloy of copper (90%) with tin (10%) . In this way, what is known as the Bronze Age was born, and from then on it was the material that was most used.

In this period of time in history a key fact stands out, this is the progress in casting techniques, such as hammering and casting metal into molds to give it the desired shape and create quantities of different objects. In addition, these minerals began to be extracted from other regions and in regions where there were none, they began to be commercialized.

This is how what is known as the Bronze Age spread to other regions, such as Asia and Africa . It took a long time, it is believed that about a thousand years to reach Britain. By 2,000 BC the entire region of Asia and much of Europe lived in the Bronze Age. It took a little longer to reach Africa due to the difficulty of crossing deserts such as the Sahara, but it was still achieved.

Iron age Metal age definition

With the evolution of metallurgy gradually and very slowly, it is learned that to achieve the most resistant smelting of minerals, it was essential to have furnaces that achieved a higher temperature . Therefore, a great effort was made to improve these kilns. Once they achieve it, they know iron, a much stronger and more resistant mineral than the previous ones. This is how the Iron Age began, by successfully melting this mineral and creating objects with it.

It all started in Southwest Asia around 1,000 BC and then spread to Europe and finally Africa. In Europe, around 500 BC they were already living in the Iron Age. In Africa, the Iron Age managed to even reach the south of this continent, something that had not been achieved with bronze, also towards Nubia and other regions of the west.

It is interesting that this transition from bronze to iron was not achieved because one material was better than another, but rather it was thanks to the fact that iron was one of the most abundant minerals in different regions of the world, much more than copper or tin . For this reason, at this time in history the making of tools and also weapons for war was more evident than ever than in any other time prior to this. Jobs such as agriculture were greatly improved due to the use of iron tools that were more effective than stone, copper or bronze.

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Metal Age Characteristics

The characteristics that we are going to mention below are divided according to the corresponding era:


  • It begins approximately in the years 6,500 BC and culminates around 2,500 BC
  • Origin is given to the metallurgy predominant occupation.
  • Along with the development of metallurgy, agriculture and livestock work were enhanced with the new tools developed.
  • Varieties of metals are known, where the best known were silver, copper and gold .


  • It begins around 2,500 BC and lasts until approximately 1,500 BC.
  • The smelting process is known , which represents enormous progress at the time, because it allows the extraction of other metals.
  • Bronze is originated through the alloy of metals .
  • It gives rise to societies with greater complexity and better organization.
  • The bronze trade extends and part of the Aegean Sea.


  • This period began around 1,500 BC.
  • Smelting furnaces are improved , to achieve more resistant metal smelting.
  • Iron has its origin in Asia Minor and is used to make many tools of work and warfare .
  • The Hittites are believed to have worked iron before other civilizations.

Social organization in the Metal Age

In the Metal Age, as more complex societies were being established, coexistence in a more organized way began. So they began to divide themselves by social groups, at least six different groups, in relation to their trades or hierarchy. These were the social groups of that time:

  • The bosses were those who were above other social groups and who had authority.
  • The priests were in charge of the religious part and the rites.
  • The warriors specializing in defending their people.
  • The blacksmiths and traders .
  • The spinners, bakers and weavers .
  • The farmers and ranchers .

Economics in the Metal Age

The economy in the Metal Age began to diversify and expand throughout the world, all thanks to the idea of ​​creating a means of transport through the sea, which is why the ship or sail was created . In addition, they began to be applied to the development and knowledge of maritime routes. The inhabitants of that time applied themselves to livestock, agriculture and hunting, but at the same time to mining, metallurgy and handicrafts , fields that they took to other regions of that world as a form of trade.

Architecture in the Metal Age

At this time, architecture was first developed for the construction of houses, but it also served to build monuments related to religion and the worship of different gods . To achieve this, they began to make use of materials such as adobe, wood and, of course, stone that they already knew very well.

The first houses that were built had round, square and some other rectangular shapes. In addition, they were surrounded by a kind of wall or fortification accompanied by talayots.

Some of these constructions were built with stone as their main material, which made them durable buildings , even today some of these religious monuments are preserved in some regions of Europe. Among the best known are the menhirs, dolmens and navetas.


Art in the form of painting also developed to some extent in the Metal Age, but it was mainly related to religious acts and also to stories that had to do with social class.

In addition, the first bronze jewels began to be designed, which together with the bracelets and some vessels , were part of the decoration of that time.


Some of the most outstanding inventions of the Metal Age are the following:

  • The sail : This was one of the inventions that served to promote commerce at that time, being used immediately in the navigation of that time. This consisted of a system that used the force of the wind to give impulse to the boat, which was achieved with a piece of skin or cloth large enough to move the boat.
  • The ship : Thanks to the invention of the sail, larger ships could be built in order to transport more people, but also more products set aside for trade.
  • The furnace : This invention gave a great boost to metallurgy, because it allowed to melt much more resistant metals and thus develop work and defense tools. It also served to cook food and also make ceramic utensils.
  • The wheel : This was another invention that allowed the progress of commerce, but also transport at that time, managing to move more cargo in less time and with less effort.
  • The canals : Agriculture was another way of life, that is why the canals were created, which allowed to irrigate the plantations in a more effective way. In addition, they served to supply the populations with water.
  • The plow : This technique represented an advance in the area of ​​agriculture, since using pack animals it was possible to prepare the land for sowing in a more organized and effective way, in addition to increasing the amount of crops produced.
  • The mill : This system made it possible to crush the grain more quickly and in less time, thus giving rise to the bread.
  • First textile products , in addition to the basket that was and has been so useful to this day.

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