Now what is the big deal about Bronze?
Now are you wondering what is so special about
Bronze to make it a new era? Well, learning
about manipulating metal allowed the
production of axes, daggers and other
innovations. Imaging having to kill an animal for
you and your family to eat. Although stone
tools make these activities easier than bare
hands, a knife or axe would make killing and
dividing an animal that much easier again. Now
that you have saved time to feed your family,
you have enough free time to innovate.
Using the same techniques to make bronze,
gold starts to be used for ornamentation.
Late Bronze Age Sites
By the time you get to the Late Bronze Age (c. 1000 BC) the earlier stone megaliths
were abandoned in favor of pit burials and throwing grave goods into rivers, springs
and bogs. This implies that the religious focus in the area turned from Solar/Lunar
based to Earth based.
Bronze Age Settlements
Circular timber houses begin to appear in Scotland during this time. By the later Bronze Age, settlements start to become enclosed, and
Equestrian equipment starts appearing in the Late Bronze Age, suggesting that horses were not domesticated until this time.
Avebury Henge and the Red Lion Inn
(The only B&B I know of located in the
middle of a stone circle!)
How do you make bronze and what can you do with it?
Bronze is a mixture of copper and, usually, tin. Early Bronze Age cultures tended to hollow out flat molds, to make axes or sheets of the
metal to hammer into place.
As any Bronze Age progresses, they learned to make daggers and such by hollowing out 2 stones to put together, leaving a spot to
pour in the hot metal.
Later on, a wax mould would be made of the desired figure, and clay placed on top of the wax. Once the clay had the desired shape, it
was heated and the wax then melted away. The remaining clay mould was used for making bronze items, chipping it away once the cast
was set. This is called The Lost Wax Technique.
I make a point of explaining this, because for years I heard the Lost Wax Technique referred to, but never described. I thought it was a
technique that was lost, and couldn't understand how my teachers even knew to talk about it!