PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Range of global Bronze Age weapons. The Bronze Age (c.3200 BC to 600 BC) developed in many cultures around the world, some independently from their own discovery of copper metallurgy. Often one of the first uses for bronze was to make weapons. When newly polished it shone like gold and had advantages of durability and sharpness over stone. Its rarity made it a status symbol. Here, from left to right (West to East): 1. A star-shaped mace head from Andean Ecuador or Peru; 2. A looped spear head from the Middle Bronze Age of Ireland; 3. A battle axe from the Middle Bronze Age of Hungary; 4. A spiked axe from the Middle Bronze Age of the Near East; 5. A bronze halberd from the Bronze Age of China. Some areas such as Japan, China, North America and the South Pacific jumped straight to the Iron Age by late adoption of imported technology. These cultures also adopted bronze as a ceremonial metal despite the ingress of iron.
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