Bronze Age: Timeline & Explanation

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Tenochtitlan: Definition & Facts

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:02 What Was the Bronze Age?
  • 1:33 Mesopotamia
  • 2:10 Anatolia & Egypt
  • 2:56 Aegean & Asia
  • 3:34 End of the Bronze Age
  • 3:58 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jessica Elam Miller

Jessica has taught college History and has a Master of Arts in History

When metallurgists discovered tin could be combined with copper to create a stronger metal, bronze became invaluable in the creation of weapons and tools. The Bronze Age is the time in which bronze was the primary material used in many cultures.

What Was the Bronze Age?

Have you ever wondered where the term 'The Bronze Age' came from? Or who first created bronze? Bronze is made when tin is combined with copper. After its development, bronze became very popular for making weapons and tools.

The Bronze Age refers to a time when bronze was the primary metal used to create tools and weapons. It occurred between the Stone Age and the Iron Age. This time period occurred between 3500 and 1200 B.C.E. It can be divided into three subsequent time periods:

  • Early Bronze Age (3500-2000 B.C.E.)
  • Middle Bronze Age (2000-1600 B.C.E.)
  • Late Bronze Age (1600-1200 B.C.E.)

During this time, civilization was developing in modern areas of Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. As varying groups of people discovered metals and metallurgy, the science of forging metal, the Bronze Age occurred at different times. The development of bronze in this region first occurred in Mesopotamia. Sumerians, who inhabited southern Mesopotamia, discovered bronze could be created by adding tin to copper. The resulting metal was more durable than copper. It was also sharper. These two qualities made the alloy very popular and useful in weaponry. The metal was also used to create tools and household items.

The Bronze Age also saw the development of writing systems, pyramids, and ziggurats (large, raised structures used for religious purposes).


Huge cities developed rapidly during this time period in Mesopotamia. Among these are the Ur and Babylonia. Culturally, Sumerian was replaced by Akkadian as the spoken language, although Sumerian religious practices remained popular throughout the region.

Cuneiform was also developed here. As the earliest known writing system, cuneiform was originally depicted with pictographs. In order to increase efficiency in writing, the pictographs were replaced by wedge shapes. Cuneiform was used mostly for inventory and administrative purposes, but later was also used to record important events.

Anatolia & Egypt

The Hittites were a group of people who resided in Anatolia during this time period. During the Bronze Age, the Hittites expanded their empire to cover a large area, reaching parts of Syria and Mesopotamia. The Hittites can be credited with the decline of the Bronze Age due to their development in ironwork.

Egypt experienced many changes and development during the Bronze Age. During the early part of the period, religion was unified. The Pharaoh became known as a god and utilized this authority to initiate the building of pyramids and intricate tombs for himself. Egypt experienced periods of development and success followed by an eventual decline. Egypt's success fell due to numerous invasions and eventual losses to groups like the Assyrians, Persians, Romans, and Turks.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account