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Anvil Age Economy: A Map of the Spread of Iron Metallurgy across Afro-Eurasia

  • Author(s): Turner, Edward A. L.
  • et al.

A large dataset is used to map the historical spread of iron use across Afro-Eurasia using a number of different methodologies. Traditional dates for the beginning of what archaeologists call the “Iron Age” in each region are unacceptable because they are imprecise and the dates themselves are reached on the basis of different methodologies. The author maps the spread of iron with a primary focus on its acceleration in use across many object classes. Three additional maps are also provided: the first critical use of iron for cutting tool or weapon, the spread of iron helmets and the spread of high-quality steel swords. While many of the maps are at the experimental stage, the results give a unique insight into technological change across history and can be used to test predictive models of historical change. As the mapping of the rise and spread of a technology has rarely or never been done before on this scale, the maps, the methodologies used, and the problems encountered provide a fork in the scholarship for more accurate and detailed successors.

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