Common words we might hear many times “Stone age”, “Bronze age”, “Iron age”. But have you ever wondered whether these words relate to each other? If they do relate, how or why they relate? In fact, three mentioned ages are from the Three Age System developed by a Danish archaeologist Christian J. Thomsen.
The Inventor of Three Age System
Christian Jürgensen Thomsen (1788–1865) was a Danish antiquarian. He contributed to the humanity by his early development in archaeological methods. He showed his great interest in artifacts and followed his passion. Thomsen, while working as the head of antiquarian which later became National Museum of Denmark, decided to present the artifacts chronically. The way he organized the chronic order depended on the Three Age System. Thomsen didn’t care where people found the artifacts. All he focused on was the material composition, the style of the product, and the intended use of it. Then he displayed all of them and found out that the artifacts divided themselves into three classes: stone, bronze, and iron. In fact, Thomsen didn’t coin the name “Three Age System”. He just found out the system and applied it to the way he organized his display. And his name became famous and the system became widespread.
The Three Age System
Three Age System was the division of the world history into three periods: stone period, bronze period, and iron age. The main standard to divide the world history like this is based on the material people of that time used. For example, people in stone age would have to make their tools, weapons, etc. by stones. As time progressed, people observed more and became more creative. Then the tools and weapons became more sophisticated and the materials also got much sturdier.
Stone Age was the first among the three prehistoric periods of the humanity. The materials that helped people of this time survived were stone. They made nearly everything with stones. The creation of stone weapons helped them a lot with finding food and building houses.
The Stone Age can be divided into three main periods. The first period was the Paleolithic which means the Old Stone Age. Then came the Mesolithic meaning the Middle Old Stone Age. And finally it was the Neolithic meaning the New Stone Age. In the Neolithic period, it marked the very first sign of the human civilization. Because people of this time started to live as families and towns. They raised the cattle and used them to help with the cultivation. This reduced a great amount of labor force.
This period was the first humanity period of advanced metalworking development. In the Bronze Age, people either smelted their own copper mixing with tin, arsenic, or other materials or traded the copper with people from other regions. Bronze was harder and more durable than any materials of that time. This Bronze Age witnessed an achievement in technology.
Iron Age was the final period of the Three Age System. As the name indicated, the Iron Age was the time when the iron-working gained the popularity. The use of the iron became more widespread after people had learnt how to make harder metal by heating iron with carbon.