Culture & History

Weapons and Tools Used in The Bronze and Copper Age

Human beings changing from use of stones to metals was history changing. As such, the Bronze Age was a period of many first times and discoveries. Human being now armed with metal tools could explore more and do more.The transition was from stones to copper first and ancient Sumers were the first to use copper in their day-to-day activities and to mix it with tin to get bronze.

During this period, many technological improvements occurred, such as the development of the first wheel and the first writing system. Ancient people switched to bronze instead of stones because it is more durable and stronger. Bronze allowed them to create better tools and weapons. Bronze was made in clay and sand moulds. The ancient people poured liquid bronze in them and left them to cool.

At first, metals were taken out of rocks that were found on Earth’s surface. Later, they started mining the metals from under the surface.

Ancient people switched to bronze instead of stones because of several reasons:

  • Bronze is more durable and stronger
  • Bronze allowed them to create better tools and weapons.

Bronze was made in clay and sand moulds. The ancient people poured liquid bronze in them and left them to cool.

At first, metals were taken out of rocks that were found on Earth’s surface. Later, they started mining the metals from under the surface.

Weapons and Tools Used in The Bronze and Copper Age

When was the bronze age?

The Bronze Age occurred between the Stone and Steel Age. Copper Age, also known as the Chalcolithic Age is a very short period of time that lasted for only 1,000 years between the Stone and Bronze Age.

The Bronze Age developed in different cultures in different millennia: in Greece, Turkey and Crete around 3000 BC, in China, Egypt, the Middle East, and Europe about a thousand years later, around 1900 BC.

In American and Oceania, there was no Bronze Age Americas and Oceania. The tolls and weapons from the Stone age were replaced with iron when invaders came on these territories.

In general, this period lasted approximately from 3300 BC to 1200 BC.

What weapons did people in the stone age use?

Bronze tools and weapons, often interchangeable, included axes, shields and armour, swords, knives, hoards, spears, razors, helmets, cauldrons, buckets, horns and many other useful objects. Here is something about them.

Shields and Armor

First shields and armour were made out of leather or wood. These were an essential part of the life of every warrior of the Bronze Age.

Later, people started making them from bronze. The technique included beating bronze into flat sheets and the shields created during this period were around 1mm thick, but this technique created shields that were a very effective barrier against stings.

Axes

Axes were the most common tools used in Bronze Age and they were mostly used as a tool rather than as a weapon.

The three most common axes designs were flanged, socketed and a palstave axe. The palstave axe looked like a wick and had flat sides that could fit into a piece of shaped wood.                                       

Halberds

Halberds were scythe-shaped bronze blades that are attached to a wooden or metal shaft at a right angle. The artefacts of these tools were found in Europe and according to scientists, they dated from 2,200 to 1,700 B.C. and were mostly used in Ireland.

According to some scientists, halberds were so powerful that they could skull off a sheep if used correctly. Clearly, this was used as a weapon – transforming from heavy swinging handle to a sharp blade.

Daggers and Dirks

Daggers are known from Europe in the late third to early second millennium BC. A nearly 6-inch bronze dagger from Cyprus may date as far back as 2,500 B.C. These tools had many purposes, the most usual one was for fighting, mostly unarmed or open-hand arms.

 Short, tapered daggers were some of the earliest Bronze Age weapons because they required relatively small amounts of metal for their production.

There are many variations of daggers known today. Some of them had blades a few centimetres long while some had a 20 cm long blade.

Bows and Arrows

 Bows and arrows were very common tools in Bronze Age, used for both huntings and in wars. Bronze Age bows came in two types: the simple curved bow and the composite bow.

The first type was constructed from one piece of wood, sometimes strengthened with sinew and natural glue. Composite bows, more common in Egypt and the Aegean, delivered far greater power and distance by glueing together layers of wood, animal horn, tendons and sinew.

In Germany, archaeologists discovered weapons from what appears to be a Bronze Age battlefield dating between 1300 and 1200 B.C. Among the finds were human remains with a flint arrowhead still lodged in a shoulder joint.

Spears

Spears were usually made from flint, obsidian and other flaking stones and tied to the end of the wooden shaft. Their first purpose was for hunting, but later they were adapted for war purposes as well.

 They came in a variety of shapes and sizes – from ones only a few centimetres to ones one foot long. The first versions of spears were tied for shafts with elongated, tail-like “tang,” but only a few of them survived through all these years.

Swords

 Swords appeared later during the Bronze Age. The first true Bronze Age swords appeared between 1700 and 1600 B.C. It is unclear how swords evolved – they were either developed from shorter daggers or large spearheads. The first swords were tapered and lightweight like an elongated dagger.

 Around 1,300 BC new version of swords appeared and was better at sustaining heavier blows and more protracted combat engagements. Both versions of swords could be used for stabbing or slashing.

 The largest sword of this is was only around 2,2 kilos in weight and all swords od Bronze Age were lighter than the ones in Medieval era.

Wooden Clubs & Mallets

 Not only bronze was used during Bronze Age – wood was common as well. Because wood isn’t that resistant to metals, there are not that many pieces of evidence of these tools.

 The two well-preserved objects of this kind were found in Germany on the battlefield.

 One was a heavy wooden club more than two feet long with a thickened end similar to a baseball bat. The other looked like a croquet mallet with a slightly bent handle and a fist-like head.

Stone and clay moulds

 Stone and clay moulds were used to shape objects such as spears and axes. These varied from very simple ones used to build spears and molten metal and more complex ones use to create palsave,  flexed axe or socketed axe heads.

Conclusion

The Bronze and Copper Age marked a new era in human civilizations. Instead of stones, ancient people started using copper to create their weapons and tools and later developed bronze.

Bronze was a better solution because it was stronger and more durable. Generally, it allowed them to make better weapons and tools and to live a better life.

That is why they developed many bronze weapons and tools – axes, bows and arrows, spears, swords, dirks and halberds being just some of them.

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