Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > World History Forum > Ancient History
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

Ancient History Ancient History Forum - Greece, Rome, Carthage, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and all other civilizations of antiquity, to include Prehistory and Archaeology discussions


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old December 9th, 2016, 04:17 AM   #1
Citizen
 
Joined: Nov 2016
From: Australia
Posts: 8
bronze age collapse due to lack of tin?


After the bronze age collapse, when the dark ages ended- why is it that the technology for weapons became MORE advanced (Iron vs Bronze) than before?

Is this because the collapse was due to a lack of Tin to alloy- so that they could never return to Bronze weapon making?
plant is offline  
Remove Ads
Old December 9th, 2016, 05:15 AM   #2

Matthew Amt's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Jan 2015
From: MD, USA
Posts: 2,541

No. The overall amount of bronze in use in the Iron Age increased dramatically. There were more bronze helmets and armor, as well as a growing supply of domestic items such as cookware, jewelry, mirrors, furniture parts, etc.

Iron *weapons* may have taken over simply because iron was more available and easier to form into weapons. Bronze weapons are actually superior in strength and sharpness, but require a lot of careful work to cast, and a casting can fail completely at several points in the process. That's fine for a small number of wealthy elite warriors who are happy to pay more to have the best weapons, but if you want to equip an *army*, you need higher production and lower costs.

Making iron into *sheet* for armor work is a little trickier because of how it loses heat and oxidizes so quickly, so it looks to me like it wasn't until the 4th century BC that they really conquered that process. Until then, bronze remained the metal of choice for *armor*, and continued to be very expensive. Mind you, making sheet bronze is pretty tricky, too, but it was a process that had been worked out long before the Bronze Age ended.

Matthew
Matthew Amt is online now  
Old December 9th, 2016, 09:54 AM   #3
Historian
 
Joined: Oct 2009
From: San Diego
Posts: 3,309

The end of the bronze age was not the end of bronze.
bronze production and usage grew exponentially... it simply became more affordable and was relegated to the uses for which it was actually better suited because IRON was a far better material for such things as swords, plows, axes, chisels and such.

Bronze continued to be preferred for Cannon, for gearing systems ( because early iron was too brittle and iron teeth would snap off and mess up the entire gear train ) For instruments, clocks, bells, and statuary.
It was preferred over iron for most ship fittings because it did not corrode or rust.


IN the dark ages, production of EVERYTHING collapsed, because of the economic disruption of Rome falling apart. The Mills stopped grinding grain because the companies that ran them went defunct. Mines stopped producing because the companies that ran them dissolved.
Demand fell off and the economy contracted and life became more subsistence oriented for most people.

But it rebounded eventually and there was no shortage of bronze.
In fact- IRON mining tools were the primary reason why bronze production ended up far greater than it had been. Mining overall experienced a boom because Iron tools dug deeper, faster, and thru harder rock.
sculptingman is offline  
Old December 9th, 2016, 09:43 PM   #4

Dan Howard's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Aug 2014
From: Australia
Posts: 3,016

Quote:
Originally Posted by plant View Post
After the bronze age collapse, when the dark ages ended- why is it that the technology for weapons became MORE advanced (Iron vs Bronze) than before?

Is this because the collapse was due to a lack of Tin to alloy- so that they could never return to Bronze weapon making?
There were localised collapses but not a regional one and there wasn't a Dark Age. The Dark Age at the end of the Bronze Age is an artificial construct to try and reconcile the dodgy Egyptian chronology with all the other chronologies in the region.
Dan Howard is offline  
Old December 10th, 2016, 01:09 AM   #5
Archivist
 
Joined: Nov 2013
From: porcios
Posts: 162

it is pretty hard to have an iron age without a good coal. around 1200 bc, using a catapult for the first time in recorded history, the mycenaeans liberated it from the folks who had controlled it, gold n salt mines, tin sand deposits, paleo bronze sheet, wine, amber, wheat and lead networks etc etc.

but... the mycenaeans neglected to realize how easy it was for the multitudes of displaced coal barons to descend upon greece and anatolia in revenge but they were just passing through thank goodness.

peace
nico kissos is offline  
Old December 10th, 2016, 05:35 AM   #6

Matthew Amt's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Jan 2015
From: MD, USA
Posts: 2,541

Quote:
Originally Posted by nico kissos View Post
it is pretty hard to have an iron age without a good coal. around 1200 bc, using a catapult for the first time in recorded history, the mycenaeans liberated it from the folks who had controlled it, gold n salt mines, tin sand deposits, paleo bronze sheet, wine, amber, wheat and lead networks etc etc.

but... the mycenaeans neglected to realize how easy it was for the multitudes of displaced coal barons to descend upon greece and anatolia in revenge but they were just passing through thank goodness.

peace
Okay, not sure if you're serious here or just making a joke! Obviously charcoal was the main fuel for iron smelting and forging, just as it had been for copper, tin, and other metals for a couple thousand years.

"Catapult"?? 4th century BC, from what I've heard.

I hope I'm just missing the joke...

Oh, and it looks like sculptingman is referring to the *post-Roman* "Dark Ages", while plant of course meant the "dark ages" between Bronze Age and Iron Age. (Though of course I'm with Dan on this one! Lower the dates! Rah rah!)

Matthew

Last edited by Matthew Amt; December 10th, 2016 at 05:37 AM.
Matthew Amt is online now  
Old December 10th, 2016, 09:44 AM   #7
Archivist
 
Joined: Nov 2013
From: porcios
Posts: 162

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Amt View Post
Okay, not sure if you're serious here or just making a joke! Obviously charcoal was the main fuel for iron smelting and forging, just as it had been for copper, tin, and other metals for a couple thousand years.

"Catapult"?? 4th century BC, from what I've heard.

I hope I'm just missing the joke...

Oh, and it looks like sculptingman is referring to the *post-Roman* "Dark Ages", while plant of course meant the "dark ages" between Bronze Age and Iron Age. (Though of course I'm with Dan on this one! Lower the dates! Rah rah!)

Matthew
i read this in a topic here but it comes from here

santana, conquered bronze age village 2.5X bigger than mycenae [but a tiny tiny village for the region]
Quote:
Clay sling projectiles were purposely fired at high temperatures for greater endurance and their weight was up to 600–700 g. Their launch was very precise, as proven by the discovery of approximately 80pieces in the four meters investigated archaeologically within the fortification. The projectiles’ weight and the distance they needed to be safely shot by the attackers makes us think of the possibility that catapults and not only simple leather slings or other perishable materials were used.
from my own investigation at the time i found that these sling stones are really close to 4 times larger than any sling stone from the middle east and twice as big as the sling stones of the famous balearic slingers of the carthaginians. maybe you can see otherwise somewhere but that was in scientific american which was good enough for me at the time.

there is another article from a group in italy that was interested and investigated but carlos santana has a new line a clothing and the search engines are overloaded so i cannot find it.

re coal
i think i have read too much about bronze age deforestation, iron in vinca slag and the fact that with just 100deg more and they would have had workable iron. but the chemical characteristics of the slag actually means that the temperature required to smelt it into iron are 200 degrees less than the vinca smelters did achieve so the removal of slag from some vinca sites is interesting. the first vinca tin-bronze smelting sites in serbia are in a very coal rich area with 4 active mines and the sulfur in some vinca slag indicates as it does in the uk that coal was burned to smelt.

interesting read from uc london
http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/1470180/1...314001097a.pdf
nico kissos is offline  
Old December 10th, 2016, 12:25 PM   #8

mnsr's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Feb 2014
From: Asia
Posts: 1,429

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Amt
That's fine for a small number of wealthy elite warriors who are happy to pay more to have the best weapons, but if you want to equip an *army*, you need higher production and lower costs.
That's good point. The Bronze Age Civilizations were unable to create the well equipped armies to compete the 'barbarian' invaders that were coming with more advanced war technology.
mnsr is offline  
Old December 10th, 2016, 04:44 PM   #9
Historian
 
Joined: Oct 2009
From: San Diego
Posts: 3,309

Quote:
Originally Posted by nico kissos View Post
i read this in a topic here but it comes from here

santana, conquered bronze age village 2.5X bigger than mycenae [but a tiny tiny village for the region]


from my own investigation at the time i found that these sling stones are really close to 4 times larger than any sling stone from the middle east and twice as big as the sling stones of the famous balearic slingers of the carthaginians. maybe you can see otherwise somewhere but that was in scientific american which was good enough for me at the time.

there is another article from a group in italy that was interested and investigated but carlos santana has a new line a clothing and the search engines are overloaded so i cannot find it.

re coal
i think i have read too much about bronze age deforestation, iron in vinca slag and the fact that with just 100deg more and they would have had workable iron. but the chemical characteristics of the slag actually means that the temperature required to smelt it into iron are 200 degrees less than the vinca smelters did achieve so the removal of slag from some vinca sites is interesting. the first vinca tin-bronze smelting sites in serbia are in a very coal rich area with 4 active mines and the sulfur in some vinca slag indicates as it does in the uk that coal was burned to smelt.

interesting read from uc london
http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/1470180/1...314001097a.pdf

Bronze requires only 1800 degrees F.

Iron requires 2800 degrees F

So- not 100 degrees more- but 1,000 degrees.

Coal can't do that- neither can charcoal. It requires a blast furnace. And Iron was not really readily producible until the ready availability of Coke, which required heat distillation of bituminous coal.
sculptingman is offline  
Old December 10th, 2016, 05:22 PM   #10

Matthew Amt's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Jan 2015
From: MD, USA
Posts: 2,541

Quote:
Originally Posted by sculptingman View Post
Bronze requires only 1800 degrees F.

Iron requires 2800 degrees F

So- not 100 degrees more- but 1,000 degrees.

Coal can't do that- neither can charcoal. It requires a blast furnace. And Iron was not really readily producible until the ready availability of Coke, which required heat distillation of bituminous coal.
Almost. *Melting* iron to cast it requires 2800 degrees F. But that was very rarely done, or needed, in the ancient world. For SMELTING the iron from its ore, 2300 degrees is enough. Copper melts at about 2000 degrees, so not all that much lower than the smelting point of iron.

It is true that smelting iron has to be done in a closed furnace or bloomery, but I believe that is true for copper as well, but that's probably a carry-over technology from firing pottery, which was happening millennia before metalurgy.

As I understand it, there are still people smelting iron in ancient-style bloomeries using charcoal as fuel. Not *certain* about that, probably an easy Google search!

Matthew
Matthew Amt is online now  
Reply

  Historum > World History Forum > Ancient History

Tags
bronze, collapse, iron, lack, tin



Search tags for this page
Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Lack of Arabic knowledge did not hurt Islam but lack of Sanskrit hurt Hinduism greatstreetwarrior Asian History 8 February 25th, 2015 07:42 AM
The Reason for Late Bronze Age Collapse? Kenny Wong Ancient History 10 August 14th, 2014 01:00 AM
Zhou Dynasty = Bronze Age Collapse ? Widdekind Ancient History 19 October 22nd, 2013 01:25 PM
New Discovery on the Bronze Age Collapse Mandate of Heaven Ancient History 1 August 15th, 2013 05:56 PM
What if the Bronze Age Collapse had not occurred? Mephistopheles Speculative History 2 February 5th, 2013 07:00 PM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.