The Ages of Humanity and Materials

The close relationship between Man and materials was configured as significant and important, as it still does, that different eras of humanity received the name of the most important material in each of them, from the Stone Age to the Age of Metals, passing through the eras baptized with the name of the dominant civilization in a given period (Hellenic, Roman, Byzantine and Islamic periods), through the Modern Era and reaching today what has been conventionally called the Silicon Era.

The dating of each era is made based on archaeological finds and the material that predominated in these finds and in the archaeological sites where they were found. Since Archeology is the science of findings and dating done from analyzes whose results are not very accurate, the establishment of the beginning and duration of each era are always controversial, so that, depending on the source consulted, there may be variations to the significant times in the chronological distribution of each era.

Source: Rhyton, Kültepe, Assyrian Trade Colonies period, 1950-1700 BCRegarding the ‘Assyrian Trade Colonies’: During the so-called ‘Period of the Assyrian Colonies’ (1950-1750 BC) some large cities in Anatolia had a portion that was set aside by the local rulers for the Assyrian merchants who traded Anatolian copper, silver, gold, precious stones and wool for luxury items, foodstuffs and spices, woven fabrics and tin from the Assyrian homeland and from Elam. These settlements were called ‘kârum’, which means ‘port’ in Akkadian (the lingua franca of the time), although it was extended to refer to any trading colony whether or not it bordered water. Except for the merchants and their family, the ‘kârum’ was also inhabited by Assyrian soldiers, who had to protect the caravans. The most important of these kârums was the ‘merchant-colony city of Kaneš’ (now Kültepe, near Kayseri); several other cities in Anatolia also had a ‘kârum’, such as Hatuş (Boğazkale), the later Hittit capital. The Assyrians and their ‘kârum’ enjoyed the protection of the local lords, and paid taxes in return when exporting or importing goods.
These ‘local lords’ were kings ruling city-states. In Central-Anatolia they were generally autochthonous Hatti (or: Hattian), although a few cities fell into Hittite hands over time. Because of this particular political landscape, this period is sometimes also called ‘Period of the Anatolian City-States’, which permits to include other cultural centers of the 1950-1750 BC period, such as Troy, that had no ‘kârum’ and was not ruled by Hatti, nor by Hittites. Dosseman 2021

The first attempts to establish the periods comprised by these eras, taking into account superficial findings and analyses, led to the establishment of the sequence shown in Figure 1.
Later analysis showed that what was considered to be made of bronze was actually made of a metal-containing copper (Cu) associated with impurities such as arsenic (As). Thus, a new chronological distribution was made assuming the configuration.

Given the particular cultural and technological configurations of various homid clusters in various parts of the earth in the same historical period, several of the eras were divided into two or more secondary eras. As an example we have the Early, Middle and End Bronze Ages, so that a more precise classification is restricted to archaeological studies and writings, which is beyond the scope of this text.


Immerwahr, S. A. (1971). The Neolithic and Bronze Ages (Vol. 13). ASCSA.

Barber, Elizabeth Jane Wayland. Prehistoric textiles: the development of cloth in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages with special reference to the Aegean. Princeton University Press, 1991.

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