Talk:Iron Age

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What ends Iron Ages?[edit]

There's clear talk about how it ends the Bronze Age, but nothing that addresses the issue of how an Iron Age ends. The closest thing is the history timeframe which implies that the "Middle Ages" ends it, which links to an article that is all about Europe. This encourages the view that the 3-Age System is Eurocentric. AngusCA (talk) 04:46, 2 January 2013 (UTC)


claim in the article is that Egypt is in the Ancient Near East. That is wrong, Egypt is in Africa, but often articles are written to remove any historic evidence that points to Africa. Thanks for your post also, we must continue to ensure academic integrity — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:47, 3 March 2016 (UTC)

when, why and how did the Iron Age end?Paulhummerman (talk) 12:02, 20 October 2017 (UTC)

See below. As a period term in prehistory, it stops in Europe with the end of Prehistory, which in most places was when the Greeks or Romans took over. Johnbod (talk) 16:01, 20 October 2017 (UTC)

Indian subcontinent[edit]

There are now two sections about the Indian subcontinent. They need merging, but I'm not sure how. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 00:19, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Well, I tried. They didn't seem incompatible so the merge was technically simple. Not sure they don't deserve their own subsection, but where do you stop? Sri Lanka included?
Note that timeline resembles one in above subsection. Student7 (talk) 15:42, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

Deleted paragraph taken from Britannica[edit]

I've deleted the following section from the article:

The usage of iron in northern Europe would seem to have been fairly general long before the invasion of Caesar. But iron was not in common use in Denmark until the 1st century AD. In the north of Russia and Siberia, its introduction was even as late as AD 800, whereas Ireland entered its Iron Age about the beginning of the 1st century. In Gaul, on the other hand, the Iron Age dates back some 500 years BC; whereas in Etruria the metal was known some six centuries earlier.[1] As the knowledge of iron seems to have travelled over Europe from the south northward, the commencement of the Iron Age was very much earlier in the southern than in the northern countries. Homer represents Greece as beginning her Iron Age twelve hundred years before the Common era. Greece, as represented in the Homeric poems, was then in the transition period from bronze to iron, while Scandinavia was only entering its Iron Age about the time of the Common era.[1]

If you look into the claimed dates here, you'll find that every single one of them is wrong, so the entire thrust of the paragraph is pointless. I saw the inaccuracies and was going to edit them to change what the paragraph was saying to make it accurate, but every part of the section is wrong, so there's little point in it existing. To show how wrong the dates are here's what various articles say about when the Iron age stated in Europe: History of Denmark says the Iron age began there around 400 BC (during the Pre-Roman Iron Age), Prehistoric Ireland says it began there around 500 BC, Prehistory of France says around 700 BC, Prehistoric Italy says 1100 BC (Villanovan culture). The claims for Northern Russia and Greece may be correct (the information on Russian prehistory is very poor on Wikipedia, so I'm not sure). Anyway, the reason that the paragraph is so wrong is that it's over 100 years out-of-date, since it is simply text copied from Encyclopaedia Britannica from 1910! Really we should be a lot more careful in inserting material from such an old source into an archaeology article, since the field has changed utterly since then. (No one would put 1911 Britannica stuff on physics into an article on General Relativity). So please no one undelete this paragraph, as it's completely archaic and useless. --Hibernian (talk) 04:06, 19 May 2013 (UTC)


  1. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference EB1910CH was invoked but never defined (see the help page).

The slow transition from hunter and gather cultures and slash and burn shifting cultivation cultures to stationary agriculture due to the iron plow.[edit]

I have edited in references to how many people and clan's lived in that period based on references.--Svedjebruk (talk) 13:20, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

That whole section is badly written (not only from a linguistic or stylistic point of view) and goes into inappropriate depth. There are also WP:OR and WP:SYNTH concerns on my part. I don't think the section is suited for a general introduction into the Iron Age in the framework of a non-specialist encyclopedia article (or even anywhere within Wikipedia, or any encyclopedia) and I'm inclined to remove it. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 20:30, 15 December 2013 (UTC)

BC or BCE[edit]

Given articles written about the Bronze and Stone Age refer to dates in BCE, shouldn't this article follow the same convention? Also, is there any way to easily change all the BC references to BCE?Magpieram (talk) 10:34, 23 June 2013 (UTC)

Generally the already established format of the article is kept unless it's verified that a different format is more appropriate, per WP:ERA. In other words, it's probably best we keep the format to BC/AD (even though I personally believe it should be BCE/CE). You can still try to argue it, though, if you have some *better* reasons. — InvaderCito (talk) 23:23, 23 June 2013 (UTC)


I can't make sense out of the 'Chronology' section. Dougweller (talk) 10:09, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

Some sources re Kaman-Kalehöyük are [1] and [2]. Dougweller (talk) 10:11, 11 July 2013 (UTC)
One of the problems I have is that "Chronology" is normally "History." The problem, of course, is that "Iron Age" is itself "History" and this was one way of breaking the article up, I suppose. Student7 (talk) 19:53, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

Tacitus citation[edit]

Tacitus citation: "Tacitus writes in 98 AD about the Germans..." was highly problematic. Both the translation and the underlying Latin text were garbled. I corrected the translation but left the Latin as it was. Y-barton (talk) 19:38, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

Here's a translation by a professional: "Lands are taken into occupation, turn and turn about, by whole villages in proportion to the number of cultivators, and are then allotted in order of rank. The distribution is made easy by the vast extent of open land. They change their plough-lands yearly, and still there is ground to spare. The fact is that their soil is fertile and plentiful, but they refuse to give it the labour it deserves. They plant no orchards, fence off no meadows, water no gardens; the only levy on the earth is the corn crop. Hence it comes that they divide the year into fewer seasons than we do. Winter, spring and summer are familiar to them both as ideas and as names, but autumn is as unknown to them, as are the gifts she has to bring."
This same problematic text is currently repeated in at least 2 other Wiki pages. Y-barton (talk) 19:49, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

Tacitus: arva per annos mutant can not mean they change their plough-lands yearly. An Swedish author (Arenander) writes : (årligen flytta de svedjorna). Yearly they moved their swiddens. (referring to slash and burn shifting cultivation). The original authors uses the term arvus (aro) about swiddens, referring to slash and burn shifting cultivation. Plowing new land every year is impossible in the woodlands Europe was at that time. See more about slash and burn shifting cultivation on (talk) 08:46, 19 September 2013 (UTC)

This article, Slash-and-burn, doesn't help with Tacitus, a rather late observer. But archaeologists have confirmed that Neolithic people did indeed use this form of agriculture until it became impractical to do so. Tacitus remarks on it because the Romans had long since given up this method in favor of fixed ownership of property and therefore conservation of these fixed resources. Student7 (talk) 15:18, 23 September 2013 (UTC)

Timeline error[edit]

When I came to this page I got an ugly error at the beginning of the History section:

EasyTimeline 1.90

Timeline generation failed: 1 error found
Line 9: id:eon value:rgb(1,0.12,2.0)

- Color value invalid. Specify 'rgb(r,g,b) where 0 <= r,g,b <= 1'

I have changed the "2.0" to "1" and it looks ok, but I don't know what it was supposed to look like.

Jlittlenz (talk) 06:07, 21 September 2013 (UTC)

contradictory statements[edit]

Remove the one that is wrong: "Modern archaeological evidence identifies the start of iron production as taking place in Anatolia around 1200 BC, though some contemporary archaeological evidence points to earlier dates." "The systematic production and use of iron implements in Anatolia began around 2000 BC.[10] " (talk) 21:05, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

Are our sources crystal clear on this? I'm thinking that the verdict is not yet in. There needs to be agreement among the sources. If it was earlier, why didn't it continue and proliferate? I'm not sure anyone has an answer to that question yet. So maybe it's okay to have both for now. Student7 (talk) 22:34, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

Rapp confusion[edit]

The citation to page 164 of Rapp stops too soon. On page 166 Rapp puts "true iron metallurgy" among the Hittites at 3000 BP = 1000 BCE. If you have other sources saying earlier, eliminate Rapp. (talk) 23:29, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

Can't Edit Template?[edit]

Not sure how templates synch with the page they are embedded in, but I updated the template to reflect the actual dates from the Archaological periods page.

Seems like someone played with the dates for propaganda purposes, as Europe and Japan's Iron age were extended several centuries into the future (from what they are on the Archaeological periods page, and when the ages ended vis a vis the Roman and Yaoyoi periods) while the date for Korea was reduced from the beginning three Kingdoms period (400 AD) down to 50 AD, for some reason.

Is this a political/cultural thing? Do Koreans fudge historical facts for propaganda purposes? I was unaware that this was a thing, until I Googled into it and seem to have stepped into a can of worms. Can we keep the pre-history free from propaganda?

Anyway, the corrections don't seem to be showing up - they are saved in the template, but the Iron Age page still shows the incorrect dating. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:37, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

It's showing up for me, it might be that you need to purge your cache. Try pressing ctrl and F5 at the same time and see if the change shows up. Nev1 (talk) 00:05, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

Chronology section[edit]

The chronology section is badly ordered, and seems to contradict itself. It says that the earliest steel manufacture was is 1800BC, then says the earliest iron production was 1200BC. Is this supposed to mean the extensive iron production began in 1200BC, but some had been going on earlier? Or does it mean 1200BC was thought to be the earliest date, but recent discoveries push it back to 1800BC? Also, what is meant by "Modern archaeological evidence" vs. "contemporary archaeological evidence"? Finally, the section "Recent archaeological work has modified not only the above chronology..." seems to be falling into the "history as detective story" style used by too many documentary makers of presenting a load of evidence, making conclusions, then surprising the audience by revealing more data that overturns the original conclusion. Shouldn't we be giving a more straight-forward description of what archaeologists currently think to be the case? Iapetus (talk) 13:07, 7 March 2016 (UTC)

Earliest texts iron age?[edit]

I've copied this text written by a new editor from the article to here:

" Not sure how to be a wikipedian but who wrote this? What the heck is this? Literature existed long before the iron age. There is tonnes of written history from the bronze age. The Epic of Gilgamesh? Everything ever wrotten on cuneiform tablets? This just bugs me because who ever wrote that the iron age marked the beginning of the alphabet and historical literature is flat out wrong." written by User:Sethwudel.

Doug Weller talk 10:50, 3 May 2016 (UTC)

There is a difference between cuneiform script and an alphabet. Alphabets typically have a limited number of letters-symbols and use them to symbolize individual sounds, rather than whole words or syllables. The first alphabet in the modern sense was probably the Phoenician alphabet. While a number of its predecessors and early uses from the Bronze era have been found, it seems to have entered wider usage in the 11th century BC. Dimadick (talk) 20:43, 3 May 2016 (UTC)
The principal feature that distinguishes the Iron Age from the preceding ages is the introduction of alphabetic characters, and the consequent development of written language which enabled literature and historic record.[1]
What to do alphabet with the Iron Age ? Cuneiform is used in Mesopotamia up to Alexander.
Perhaps XXI century Japan, Korea and China that use ideograms are not yet in iron age ?
About the tone of article: It is not true that the iron is always technical progress indicator indeed there are incorruptible bronze alloys that features (in many uses) better than rusty soft iron and carbonious steel. Indeed Romans and Modern Europe too preferred the bronze in several products.-- (talk) 22:54, 22 August 2016 (UTC)
There seem to be two problems that I have with the sentence (emphasis added to the quotes below):
  1. "The principal feature that distinguishes the Iron Age": surely the principle feature is the use of iron.
  2. "and the consequent development of written language which enabled literature and historic record": as shown above, literature and historic records were enabled by pre-alphabet writing systems around the world during the bronze age.
While the influence of alphabets during the iron age may well merit discussion, the consensus seems pretty strongly against the sentence as it currently stands. ‑‑YodinT 13:27, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
@Yodin: see my comments below on old sources. No surprise, they were added by Reddi, a user who seems never to have met an outdated source he didn't like. Here's a long series of edits where he added them and made major changes, including the one about the alphabet.[3] He damaged a number of articles which have never been properly fixed. --Doug Weller (talkcontribs) 18:41, 23 August 2016‎ (UTC)

Is this where I reply to younon this topic, Doug? If you're reading, regardless of the technical diffetence between between an alphabet and cuneiform, used in this context "beginning of the alphabet and historical literature" is not only going to be misleading to someone firsrt learning history, as it can be easily interpreted as beginning of writing, but with regard to the "beginning of literature" it is flat out wrong. Regardless of how it was written, by definition "the epic of Gilgamesh is still cery much a piece of literature, and was written long before the iron age. Without some kind of clarifaction, someone nee to history is very likely to interpret what is wriiten in this entry a "the iron age was the beginning of writing" Which would be very misleading to someone wanting to learn. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sethwudel (talkcontribs) 14:37, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

@Sethwudel: Yes, this is where you reply. It's on my watchlist so I saw it, but you can "ping" me the way I pinged you - {{re|Sethwudel}} (ping and yo work as well as re). The sentence did say "widespread adoption" but I've removed it. The WP:LEAD should summarise the body of the article, and this wasn't in the article. And I doubt that most academics in the field define the end of the Iron Age that way or state that it marks the transition to history from prehistory. Doug Weller talk 16:14, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

Use of tertiary sources from the 19th century[edit]

Using a 19Th century Junior version of the Britannica and the adult version from over a century ago for archaeology is unacceptable. I need to take a closer look to see what needs to be done, perhaps remove UT to here to be woken on. Doug Weller talk 05:47, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

Wrong on so many levels -_- I'll try to work through some of Reddi's other edits to see if there's anything I can fix. ‑‑YodinT 22:20, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
Ridiculous! Most of the cites to the Junior version are in the lead, so to start with I've scrapped and rewritten that. Joe Roe (talk) 14:11, 24 August 2016 (UTC)

Better on beginnings than ends[edit]

In general the article concentrates on when the Iron Age begins in the various parts of the world than when it is treated by archaeologists as ending, which is no less important information. Obviously this is not marked by the replacement of iron as 'top metal', but by the arrival of literacy and historical sources, and empires. In the older civilizations, "Iron Age" is barely used as an archaeological period in the way it is for eg Europe, and this should be made clear. Johnbod (talk) 13:07, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

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