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The Bronze Age in Europe succeeds the Neolithic in the late 3rd millennium BC (late Beaker culture), and spans the entire 2nd millennium BC (Unetice culture, Urnfield culture, Tumulus culture, Terramare culture, Lusatian culture) in Northern Europe lasting until ca. 600 BC.
The Aegean Bronze Age begins around 3000 BC when civilizations first established a far-ranging trade network. This network imported tin and charcoal to Cyprus, where copper was mined and alloyed with the tin to produce bronze. Bronze objects were then exported far and wide, and supported the trade. Isotopic analysis of the tin in some Mediterranean bronze objects indicates it came from as far away as Great Britain.
Knowledge of navigation was well developed at this time, and reached a peak of skill not exceeded until a method was discovered (or perhaps rediscovered) to determine longitude around AD 1750, with the notable exception of the Polynesian sailors.
One crucial lack in this period was that modern methods of accounting were not available. Numerous authorities believe that ancient empires were prone to misvalue staples in favor of luxuries, and thereby perish by famines created by uneconomic trading.
In Central Europe, the early Bronze Age Unetice culture (1800-1600 BC) includes numerous smaller groups like the Straubingen, Adlerberg and Hatvan cultures. Some very rich burials, such as the one located at Leubingen (today part of Sömmerda) with grave gifts crafted from gold, point to an increase of social stratification already present in the Unetice culture. All in all, cemeteries of this period are rare and of small size. The Unetice culture is followed by the middle Bronze Age (1600-1200 BC) Tumulus culture, which is characterised by inhumation burials in tumuli (barrows). In the eastern Hungarian Körös tributaries, the early Bronze Age first saw the introduction of the Mako culture, followed by the Ottomany and Gyulavarsand cultures.
The late Bronze Age urnfield culture, (1300 BC-700 BC) is characterized by cremation burials. It includes the Lusatian culture in eastern Germany and Poland ((1300-500 BC) that continues into the Iron Age. The Central European Bronze Age is followed by the Iron Age Hallstatt culture (700-450 BC).
Important sites include:
In northern Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, Bronze Age inhabitants manufactured many distinctive and beautiful artifacts, such as the pairs of lurer horns discovered in Denmark. Some linguists believe that a proto-Indo-European language was probably introduced to the area around 2000 BC, which eventually became the ancestor of the Germanic languages. This would fit with the evolution of the Nordic Bronze Age into the most probably Germanic pre-Roman Iron Age.
In Great Britain, the Bronze Age is considered to have been the period from around 2100 to 700 BC. Immigration brought new people to the islands from the continent. Recent tooth enamel isotope research on bodies found in early Bronze Age graves around Stonehenge indicate that at least some of the immigrants came from the area of modern Switzerland. The Beaker people displayed different behaviours from the earlier Neolithic people and cultural change was significant. Integration is thought to have been peaceful as many of the early henge sites were seemingly adopted by the newcomers. The rich Wessex culture developed in southern Britain at this time. Additionally, the climate was deteriorating, where once the weather was warm and dry it became much wetter as the Bronze Age continued, forcing the population away from easily-defended sites in the hills and into the fertile valleys. Large livestock ranches developed in the lowlands which appear to have contributed to economic growth and inspired increasing forest clearances. The Deverel-Rimbury culture began to emerge in the second half of the 'Middle Bronze Age' (c. 1400-1100 BC) to exploit these conditions. Cornwall was a major source of tin for much of western Europe and copper was extracted from sites such as the Great Orme mine in northern Wales. Social groups appear to have been tribal but with growing complexity and hierarchies becoming apparent.
Also, the burial of dead (which until this period had usually been communal) became more individual. For example, whereas in the Neolithic a large chambered cairn or long barrow was used to house the dead, the 'Early Bronze Age' saw people buried in individual barrows (also commonly known and marked on modern British Ordnance Survey maps as Tumuli), or sometimes in cists covered with cairns.
Bronze Age boatsEdit
- Ferriby Boats
- Langdon Bay hoard - see also Dover Museum
- Divers unearth Bronze Age hoard off the coast of Devon
- Moor Sands finds, including a remarkably well preserved and complete sword which has parallels with material from the Seine basin of northern France
The Bronze Age in Ireland commenced in the centuries around 2000 BC when copper was alloyed with tin and used to manufacture Ballybeg type flat axes and associated metalwork. The preceding period is known as the Copper Age and is characterised by the production of flat axes, daggers, halberds and awls in copper. The period is divided into three phases Early Bronze Age 2000-1500 BC; Middle Bronze Age 1500-1200 BC and Late Bronze Age 1200-c.500 BC. Ireland, is also known for a relatively large number of Early Bronze Age Burials., 
- ↑ http://budgetcastingsupply.com/images/C873-Silicon-Bronze.jpg
- ↑ Hall, David. Fenland survey : an essay in landscape and persistence / David Hall and John Coles. London; English Heritage. ISBN 1-85074-477-7. , p. 81-88
- ↑ Waddell, J. 1998. The Prehistoric Archaeology of Ireland. Galway.
- ↑ Eogan, G. 1983. The Hoards of the Irish Later Bronze Age. Dublin