Problematising the Transition from Bronze to Iron
Peter Haarer In A. J. Shortland (ed.) 2017. The Social Context of Technological Change. Egypt and the Near East, 1650-1150 BC, Oxford: 255-273.
In Greece and Cyprus the twelfth century is usually seen as the beginning of the ‘Transition’ from bronze to iron – a decisive phase of one or two hundred years during which iron became cheaply and widely available for the first time, displacing bronze as the main metal for tools and implements. This paper attempts to quantify how the economic value of iron in fact changed in relation to silver and to bronze. The scheme proposed suggests that a different interpretation is possible, in which the Transition occurs with less speed, magnitude and impact than is traditionally assumed.