The Coming of the Iron Age in Greece: Europe's Earliest Bronze / Iron Transition

Anthony Snodgrass

in Archaeology and the Emergence of Greece

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780748623334
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653577 | DOI:
The Coming of the Iron Age in Greece: Europe's Earliest Bronze / Iron Transition

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When the evidence is so rich in paradox and complexity, it is hardly surprising that the implications of the transition from Bronze Age to Iron Age have been imperfectly understood. This chapter contains a series of propositions about the nature of the bronze/iron transition in Greece. Ian Morris offers a different explanation for the apparently abrupt switch to the economic use of iron in the Aegean area. Morris proposes what he calls the ‘deposition model’ for the prevalence of iron, in preference to the ‘circulation model’. According to the deposition model, the prime factor which lies behind the temporary but apparently intense recourse to iron during the eleventh and tenth centuries BC was not that bronze and its vital component, tin, were in short supply (‘circulation model’), but that iron had suddenly acquired a new prestige which made it the metal of choice for deposition in graves (‘deposition model’). This counter-argument exemplifies the many correctives which, in prehistoric circles, ‘Post-Processual’ archaeology was just then offering to the work of the Processualists.

Keywords: Greece; bronze; iron; Iron Age; Ian Morris; deposition model; circulation model; archaeology; Bronze Age

Chapter.  7650 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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