The Bronze Age is a time period characterized by the use of bronze, proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. 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.
An ancient civilization is defined to be in the Bronze Age either by smelting its own copper and alloying with tin, arsenic, or other metals, or by trading for bronze from production areas elsewhere. 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 third millennium BC. Worldwide, the Bronze Age generally followed the Neolithic period, but in some parts of the world, the Copper Age served as a transition from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age. Although the Iron Age generally followed the Bronze Age, in some areas, the Iron Age intruded directly on the Neolithic from outside the region.〔(Iron In Africa: Revising The History : Unesco ). Portal.unesco.org. Retrieved on 2013-07-28.〕
Bronze Age cultures differed in their development of the first writing. According to archaeological evidence, cultures in Mesopotamia (cuneiform) and Egypt (hieroglyphs) developed the earliest viable writing systems.
== History ==
The overall period is characterized by the full adoption of bronze in many regions, though the place and time of the introduction and development of bronze technology was not universally synchronous.〔Bronze was independently discovered in the Maykop culture of the North Caucasus as early as the mid-4th millennium BC, which makes them the producers of the oldest known bronze. However, the Maykop culture only had arsenical bronze, a naturally occurring alloy. Other regions developed bronze and its associated technology at different periods.〕 Man-made tin bronze technology requires set production techniques. Tin must be mined (mainly as the tin ore cassiterite) and smelted separately, then added to molten copper to make bronze alloy. The Bronze Age was a time of extensive use of metals and of developing trade networks (See ''Tin sources and trade in ancient times'').
抄文引用元・出典: フリー百科事典『 ウィキペディア（Wikipedia）』
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