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Mark Van Horn

Dr. Killebrew
Monday December 15, 2014
Iron in Anatolia: How, When, and Why
Iron is a metal that has helped to shape every society of which it has been a part for
thousands of years, and just as it is extremely important to the modern world, so was it important to
the world of the Eastern Mediterranean throughout the Bronze Age and into the Iron Age. The
archaeological study of iron from such a long time ago does present us with some problems,
however. In our attempt to understand how, when, and where this important material was used,
especially before the coming of the Iron Age where the metal prospered, some researches have
attempted to create comprehensive lists of artifacts which have iron components in order to better
scientifically study those artifacts. However, these entire lists are prone to error, due to a delay from
when an object is found to when it is published, or due to misidentification of other metals as iron
because of heavy amounts of corrosion and decay. Jane Waldbaum, a prominent
archaeometallurgist, examined five iron objects dating to pre-iron age Anatolia: upon further
inspection, only three of these five objects were found to actually be iron (Muhly, 1985: 71).
Although later studies say that this hash line of skepticism towards the examination of these
artifacts may be a bit overstated (Yain, 1999: 181), it must remain in our minds that lists of these
objects are prone to error and revision, and so any study of early iron artifacts is an ongoing
process. Understanding these objects is extremely important however, due to what they can tell us
about societies during the mysterious and poorly documented transition to the Iron Age after the
Late Bronze Age collapse at the end of the 13th century BCE. By unlocking the secrets of iron
during these turbulent years, the patterns of the movement of peoples, ideas, and cultures can begin
to become clearer, and the confusing situation at the beginning of the early Iron Age can begin to be

Before we can begin to unravel the nature of Iron during the transition from the Bronze Age
to the Iron Age in Anatolia, we must first examine the complex cultural history of iron in Anatolia
throughout the Bronze Age, and to do this we must first clarify an important distinction between
two key types of iron. During the Early to Late Bronze Age, two types of iron were being used by
ancient societies in the near east, including those in Anatolia: terrestrial iron (also known as telluric
iron) that is pulled or mined out of the earth, and meteoric iron, or iron that is collected from falled
meteorites and then made into artifacts. The main method of distinguishing between these two types
of iron is in their nickle (Ni) quantities; meteoric iron is rich in nickle (c. 5-20%), while smelted
terrestrial iron is not (Waldbaum, 1980: 69). This method, although the most common way of
testing, is not entirely full proof- nickle has been to known to be occasionally introduced artificially
to help prevent rust in iron, and so meteoric iron should also ideally be tested for grain structure
(Muhly, 1985: 74). Since furnaces could not yet burn hot enough to melt iron, the grain structure of
any worked iron would be preserved, and the structure of meteorite iron is very recognizable.
Another method of distinguishing the two types of metal is how they were worked into their current
shape. Telluric iron is more likely to have been smelted- heated to a high temperature and folded to
try and remove impurities, while all instanced of meteoric iron we have available to us are cold
hammered, where no head has been applied during the shaping process (Tylecote, 1980: 209).
Unfortunately, we do not currently have a sample size of artifacts large enough to conclusively say
whether or not one type of iron was more common than the other, although there are sites where
both are found together, such as the site of Alaca Huyuk in Turkey (Waldbaum, 1980: 73).
Although Alaca Huyuk can not claim to have the oldest iron artifact found in Anatolia (that
honor belongs to Tilmenhoyuk, where an iron twisted bracelet is found, dating to the early 3rd
milennium BCE (Yain, 1999: 177)), the site can claim to have the largest repertoire of iron artifacts
dating to the Early Bronze Age in Anatolia found to date. At Troy, an iron mace head has been
recovered (2400-2600), from Tarsus, a corroded lump of iron (c.2100), and from Dorak, an iron
sword with an obsidian hilt (2300-2400), but Alaca Huyuk is our most important Early Bronze Age

iron find to date (Waldbaum, 1980: 70-71). From here, we have one gold handled dagger of iron
with low (less than 5%) Ni content, found in Grave K (see Figure 1) (Yain, 1999: 180, Waldbaum,
1980: 70-71), two ornamental pins made of iron with gold heads, one with surviving iron piece of
12.2 centimeters, found in Grave M.A. next to a necklace terminal (Yain, 1999: 180, Waldbaum,
1980: 70-71), a semi-lunate disk, and fragments of another knife (Yain, 1999: 177). These finds
from Alaca Huyuk make up the vast majority of iron finds from the Early Bronze Age, and it is

Figure 1: Gold Handled Dagger from Alaca Huyuk- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaca_H%C3%B6y


clear due to the contexts of treasure hordes and royal or wealthy burial tombs that they are very
much luxury items (Waldbaum, 1980: 72). All of these artifacts are ceremonial in nature, and with
the exception of the dagger shown in Figure 1, all of the objects tested are meteoric iron
(Waldbaum, 1980: 72).
The next group of iron artifacts belong to the Middle Bronze Age, a period somewhat under
represented compared to the Early and Late Bronze Ages. From this time period spanning 20001600 BCE we have four artifacts, all from the same site of Alishar Huyuk. These artifacts include a
small piece of decorative iron inlay set in the bronze head of a pin, pieces of iron wire used to fasten
an arrowhead to a wooden shaft, and two unidentified and corroded iron fragments (Waldbaum,
1980: 74).
The final period of pre- Iron Age artifacts from Anatolia comes from the Late Bronze Age,
stretching 1600- 1200 BCE. Once again for this period, Alaca Huyuk is our main site for artifacts.
From Alaca Waldbaum categorized a number of iron artifacts, including armor fragments and a
plaque dating 1500-1300, as well as a stamp seal, two nails, a needle, an arrowhead, a dagger, a
bracelet, another plaque, miscellaneous fragments, a conical socketed handle, and an axe-like

object, spanning the length of the Late Bronze Age (Waldbaum, 1980: 76-77). Additionally, at
Bogazkoy two iron fragments were found from overlapping time periods, one from 1450-1300 and
the other from 1450-1350 (Waldbaum, 1980: 76-77). These fragments contained a cutting
implement from the Lower City level II, a find from level II-IIb, an axe from level Ib, and an
arrowhead and nail from level I, in addition to eight small pieces and twelve bloom fragments
found, eight of which were termed as slag, the first real proof for iron smelting, and were dated to
the 14th century BCE (Yain, 1999: 181-182). Unfortunately, although slag was found there was no
evidence for an actual iron workshop. The pieces of spiess found there, however, indicate that
although there may have been reasonable knowledge on how to work iron in the Hittite Empire,
there was actual quite a lack of knowledge for how to pick good ore, as evidenced by the large
amount of impurities these pieces contained (Muhly, 1985: 79). At Buyukkale a chisel, an ax-blade,
and two spear butts was found (Waldbaum, 1980: 76-77). As you can see from these pieces
belonging to the Late Bronze Age, iron working is beginning to become a more widespread
phenomenon, and we have the first real evidence for utilitarian tools being produced in iron at
Bogazkoy and Alaca (Waldbaum, 1980: 78). There is one more category of evidence that exists for
Anatolian iron working in the Bronze Age that has not yet been covered however, and that is Hittite
textual evidence.
Unfortunately for those studying the end of the Late Bronze Age, especially in Anatolia, the
written records are often insufficient due to a temporary deficiency in sources directly after the
Bronze Age collapse (Snodgrass, 1980: 335). Since this coincides with the beginning of the Iron
Age, it obviously complicates finding good information relating to iron working in the textual
evidences. That is not to say that textual evidence is nonexistent- texts dating to the Middle Bronze
Age attest that iron is still considered a precious and rare metal, used for ritual and royal contexts,
and that it is only then beginning to emerge as a prolific trade item (Waldbaum, 1980: 76). It is
these religious and royal purposes that are a constant throughout every mention of iron that we have
from Hittite sources, and commonly iron was used as a metaphor to the rule of a Hittite King,

saying things such as the King has the hardness and endurance of iron (Yain, 1999: 183). There
are also shapes and instructions for iron makers, detailing various objects (hearths, oxen, doors)
with their appropriate weights (typically of just one shekel), which reinforces a ceremonial or cultic
nature to these iron objects (Waldbaum, 1980: 81). Additionally, thanks to Hittite tax records and
letters such as the letter of Hattusili III (c.1282-1250 BCE) indicate clearly that iron was produced
throughout the empire, and not just at the capitol, even though the Hittite King clearly had direct
control, if not a monopoly, over the production of iron within the kingdom (Yain, 1999:183). Texts
also seem to indicate craft specialization occurring within the Hittite Empire. Copper, gold, and
silver smiths are all distinguished in Hittite writings, which implies that these sorts of distinctions
would carry over to the realms of bronze and iron, arguably two even more technical and intricate
domains (Muhly, 1985: 80). Another clue as to the importance and complicated nature of iron in
Hittite society is simply how many specialized terms they had for a variety of iron types, as
displayed in Figure 2 (Yain, 1999: 184). The fact that there is a word for hardened iron, or 'good
iron' as it were, is also indicative that the Hittites knew something about how to carburize iron to try
and turn it into steel, but due to inconsistency in found artifacts this is believed to be a relatively
rare or even accidental procedure (Yain, 1999: 183). We can also get hints as to iron's expanding

Iron (smelted)


Iron (meteoric)


Good Iron (steel?)


White Iron

Iron taken straight from the furnace (bloom)
Figure 2: Terms for iron found within the Hittite Language, (Yain, 1999: 184)
place in the trade networks of the Bronze Age near East. In Akkadian texts, Amutu refers to a very
expensive commodity that is commonly traded, worth up to eight times the weight of gold, used for
luxury and decorative purposes (Waldbaum, 1980: 75). It is believed that this is iron.
All of this information can help to paint us a rather detailed, if incomplete, picture of what
iron meant to the Hittite Empire and other Anatolian societies throughout the length of the Bronze
Age. During the Early Bronze Age, iron was a rare metal, mostly acquired from meteorites, that was

made into artifacts through a rather basic cold hammering technique. All of the contexts that we
have found iron in dating to the Early Bronze Age are special contexts- the tombs of the rich, the
royal, or pieces of treasure hordes. It is this context, combined with one shape in particular, that I
believe holds the key to understanding iron in the Early Bronze Age. The mace head found at Troy
was cold hammered from meteoric iron, and it shows a combination of two very important qualities.
The first is the material. Being crafted from meteoric iron, or iron that had fallen from the heavens,
must have some significance on the meaning of the artifact. The sky, widely viewed as the domain
of the gods, was giving the people on earth a metal that they could then use to fashion objects out
of. This leads me to think that iron in the Early Bronze Age, specifically meteoric iron, would have
a divinely inspired connotation. When this idea is combined with the shapes of what is crafted,
jewelry, a sword, decorative objects, but especially the mace head, we can begin to see a deeper
meaning. I would argue that since the mace head has had connotations of ruler ship and power
dating back to the Neolithic period, a mace head made from iron-from-the-sky would be used to
display a divine sanction on a ruler: this mace was a sign that the gods endorsed the wielders rule.
This idea can also be extrapolated to the other objects found. Jewelry and decorative objects would
be used to display divine favor from the gods onto whomever was wearing or using an object made
of meteoric iron, and I would propose that this is the origin of the later Hittite tradition of iron being
seen as a cultic or religious and ceremonial metal.
Although there is very little evidence we have found for iron in the Middle Bronze Age,
what evidence we do have from Alishar Huyuk seems to be what would be expected if the evidence
of iron artifacts from the Early and Late Bronze Ages were combined. The first utilitarian artifacts
begin to appear with the iron wiring that is used to attach an arrow head to a shaft, but it is found
alongside other decorative pieces such as the iron pins that were also found. Although the sample
size is sorely lacking, and analysis for meteoric versus telluric iron has not been conducted in order
to determine how well that legacy continues, it seems that iron is still by and large not a utilitarian
metal; rather, it is reserved still for those with wealth, and used as a decoration on artifacts of other

metals and materials.

The first real transition in the role that iron played in Anatolia came with the Late Bronze
Age, roughly from 1600 to 1200 BCE. Here is where the vast majority of all Bronze Age iron
artifacts date to, and it is during these years that iron began to become more popular, and to see
more experimentation. The first true utilitarian objects of iron begin to emerge in the form of seals
and stamps, arrowheads, blades, and axes, and we continue to see it used as a decorative object
similar to its earliest days in the form of bracelets and plaques. Texts dating from this period also
help us a great deal, and help to shed light on the many varieties of iron with different words for
different forms, as well as to give us clues as to what an economy that involved iron would have
looked like.
The letter from Hattusilis III to Shalmaneser I of Assyria mentioned on page four says that
good iron is not at present available in my storehouse in Kizzuwatna. I have already told you this
is a bad time for producing iron... I shall send it to you when they have finished
(www.historyworld.net). Not only does this tell us directly that iron production is dispersed
throughout the Hittite realm, but it gives us direct evidence for iron being used in the palatial gift
exchange system that characterized the Late Bronze Age trade system and economy. Clearly given
the value of what is believed to be iron (amutu) in Akkadian sources, iron would have been one of
the most prized gifts that could be given, even though carburization and tempering were techniques
still in their infancy. This means that objects of iron would have held a primarily ceremonial value,
even as we see rudimentary utilitarian objects begin to emerge around them. This high mobility of
iron would actually continue to characterize it, both as a luxury and elite item during the Bronze
Age, and later through trade as a commodity during the Iron Age.
When looking at transition between the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, specifically at iron
itself, it is often necessary to look elsewhere from Anatolia. Stratigraphy in Anatolia is hotly
debated from 1200-900 BCE, and until a more rigorous and inclusive chronology can emerge, much
of our knowledge about early iron working in the Iron Age comes from the Levant, an area that is

far more studied during this period. Whether it is due to the fact that many more digs have been
preformed in this area, or because the Levant actually was a hot spot for iron technology in the
Early Iron Age, many more artifacts of iron have emerged here than anywhere else during this
period. The Levant and Anatolia are not as isolated as might at first seem, and it may be that
through looking at the Southern Levant, specifically Taanach in Palestine and the region of Philistia,
we can uncover clues to help explain what exactly is happening in Anatolia during these supposed
'Anatolian Dark Ages'.
We consider the Iron Age to have officially begun when iron ceases to be treated as a truly
precious metal, rather, it replaces bronze as the most common metal used for utilitarian
constructions (tools and weapons) (Waldbaum, 1980: 82). This often does not fully happen until the
10th century, although it is important to note that this process is an extremely localized one, and it is
possible for some regions to be in the Iron Age, while others still rely primarily on bronze. The
Anatolian Early Iron Age, or Transitional Period, is most often dated to 1100-850 BCE, however at
the site of Urartu inland in Anatolia, the coming of the iron age may have been delayed by as much
as 200 years if current chronology is correct, a trend believed to be true to all of Anatolia; coastal
sites are the first to enter the true Iron Age, and are the first to make the conversion of most of their
artifacts to iron (Snodgrass, 1980: 357). The 'Anatolian Dark Ages' (1200-800) make it extremely
difficult to study technological development and the transmission of both cultural and technological
continuity however, and so much of the details of the time period are still obscure to us (Muhly,
1985: 70). Much of the work about the transitional period in Anatolia from sites that have been
studied in Cilicia, such as Tarsus, which was one of the first areas to enter the Iron Age in Anatolia,
reaching full iron working status (where the number of utilitarian iron artifacts finally becomes
greater than those of bronze, the culmination of a very long process of transmission) (Waldbaum,
1980: 82).
Around the time of the Late Bronze Age collapse c. 1200 BCE, bronze tools were still
preferred and used more throughout Anatolia, and would remain that way for 100-150 years

(Waldbaum, 1980: 83). That is not to say that the remnants of the Hittite Empire did not know about
or use iron, it simply had the same role as it had had in the Late Bronze Age. It was not until the
mid 11th century BCE that iron began to appear in larger quantities in Anatolia in the form of some
jewelry, such as bracelets, anklets, rings, necklace ends, and beads, but primarily tools and weapons
(Yain, 1999: 182). As the list shows, iron continued to be used for decorative purposes throughout
the transitional Iron Age (Waldbaum, 1980: 87), but the most commonly found artifact of the tools
and weapons is the single edged cutting knife, a rather simple construction made primarily of iron,
with one sharpened side and a handle (Waldbaum, 1980: 85). The most important part of this shift
towards iron for society as a whole is not military application as most people often think, rather it is
the application of iron as a utilitarian tool for things like plowshares (Muhly, 1985: 69).
Unfortunately, there is also very little known about the methods behind iron smithing in the
Transitional Iron Age. Few scientific tests (such as for meteoric or telluric iron) have been done on
artifacts that we have, and there have been a distinct lack of blacksmithing shops or smelting
locations uncovered in the archaeological record in Anatolia (Waldbaum, 1980: 88). The main
investigations for iron working methodology in the Early Iron Age are conducted to the south,
partially in Cilicia and Tarsus, but much more commonly in the Levant, where more concrete
evidence for smelting can be found already excavated. It is also clear that iron appears in greater
numbers earlier in the Levant, Cyprus, and Cilicia than in greater Anatolia, which means that the
Levant most likely held a position of great influence in the working of early iron (Snodgrass, 1980:
What makes the Levant extremely interesting as an epicenter for iron working in the Early
Iron Age is that there was very little iron used in the region during the Bronze Age, unlike we find
in Anatolia (Stech-Wheeler, Muhly, Maxwell-Hyslop, Maddin, 1981: 246). These iron artifacts
appear in greater numbers than anywhere else following very shortly after 1200 BCE; although this
does not necessarily mean Levantine priority in iron working and could be a result of high
archaeological interest in the area, the numbers with which artifacts are found more than likely

indicate a higher concentration than other regions, such as Anatolia, Egypt, or Mesopotamia (StechWheeler, Muhly, Maxwell-Hyslop, Maddin, 1981: 246). The site of Taanach, eight kilometers south
south-east of Megiddo, serves as an excellent type site for iron working that is present in the
Levant, especially in contrast with the work of their neighbors, the Philistines. The largest group of
iron artifacts at Taanach comes from two rooms comprising a 'cultic building' and a courtyard to the
east, containing such objects as plowshares and points, sickle blades, armor scales, and unfinished
tools, all in iron and dated to 1200-900 (Stech-Wheeler, Muhly, Maxwell-Hyslop, Maddin, 1981:
248-250). Upon inspection, all of this iron working was found to be well forged bloomery iron, with
very little sponginess or visible slag- this means that the iron was worked very carefully with a
prolonged forging process, and that there was a deliberate manipulation and carburization of the
iron to produce steel (Stech-Wheeler, Muhly, Maxwell-Hyslop, Maddin, 1981: 254). An axe from
Tel Qiri was also investigated as a complimentary local piece; it was found to be carburized,
lending support to the knowledge of metal working found at Taanach being wider spread (StechWheeler, Muhly, Maxwell-Hyslop, Maddin, 1981: 255). Although steel is known in vary degrees
throughout the eastern Mediterranean, it is difficult to place chronologically in Anatolia due to the
chronological ambiguity of the 'Dark Age' (Muhly, 1985: 81). One thing is certain, however, and
that is that steel was being consciously produced by the 10th century BCE in the Levant at the
absolute latest, and very likely before then, and that steel production here occurs before any current
evidence for intentional steel production in Anatolia (Stech-Wheeler, Muhly, Maxwell-Hyslop,
Maddin, 1981: 255).
Iron artifacts have also been examined from other Levantine sites, such as Tel Qasile,
Ashdod, Tel Jemmeh, and Tell Fara South, cities in the influence of the Philistines. Only one
significant instance of intentional carburization has been found, on a dagger from Tell Fara South,
found in Tomb 240 (Stech-Wheeler, Muhly, Maxwell-Hyslop, Maddin, 1981: 257-258). This seems
to imply that the Philistines are working with non-regularly carburized iron, an inferior technology
to the carburized iron of their neighbors in Palestine. With this in mind, it is quite strange that much

of our 12th and 11th century iron in the region comes from Philistia, at coastal locations, rather than
inland, and appears for the first time in significant quantities alongside of Philistine material culture,
and it did not take long for the Canaanites, who had historically been large importers of metals,
especially bronze, to begin their trade with the Philistines, as indicated by the similarity in types of
artifacts present between the Philistines and Canaanites- both had iron weapons (Stech-Wheeler,
Muhly, Maxwell-Hyslop, Maddin, 1981: 262). Although iron working arrives in force with the
Philistines to the region, no evidence for iron workshops has been found in Philistia. All of the
metallurgical sites excavated have been for bronze and copper working, recycling the metals from
older artifacts to create new objects as indicated by their lower tin content (Stech-Wheeler, Muhly,
Maxwell-Hyslop, Maddin, 1981: 259). This shows that it is actually rather unlikely that the Sea
Peoples themselves knew how to work iron especially well, rather they carried iron artifacts and
tools with them where they went, inspiring local populations to take on iron working, or to buy it

Figure 3: Map of Philistia- Iron would come to the region through the
Philistines, and spread primarily north through Canaan and Northeast
into Israel -http://www.bible-history.com/maps/images/joshua_philistia.jpg
from the Sea People tribes who presumably could acquire more of the artifacts (Stech-Wheeler,

Muhly, Maxwell-Hyslop, Maddin, 1981: 263).

With this supporting evidence from the lower Levant and the Philistines, we can see how
iron had evolved from a good used only by the most wealthy and elite people, highly integrated
with the system of the Late Bronze Age palatial gift exchange system, to a decentralized commodity
that was being used more and more for everyday tasks by the average person (Stech-Wheeler,
Muhly, Maxwell-Hyslop, Maddin, 1981: 265). Traditional views say that due to the loss of the Late
Bronze Age trade networks with the collapse, iron was used as a replacement to bronze due to local
availability and a lack of tin and copper being moved throughout the Mediterranean (Waldbaum,
1980: 83). We are now at a point where I believe it is possible to revise this line of thinking to brink
the advent of the iron age in the Levant, but especially in Anatolia, into a more complete picture. If
iron was used as a substitute good purely due to local availability and a lack of materials for making
bronze, then the observation that the advent of the Iron Age and the local availability of iron have
nothing to do with one another that Snodgrass makes makes no sense. He says that technology is
altogether more important than ideas- locations that have no natural iron ore deposits can be found
to enter the Iron Age before locations that have plentiful access to iron, most notably central
Anatolia (Snodgrass, 1980: 339). I agree with this interpretation much more, and it ties in nicely
with what has already been observed with the Philistines.
The Sea Peoples are instrumental to understanding how various societies around the Eastern
Mediterranean entered the Iron Age, because it was these groups of people that helped to introduce
iron to locations where they settled. Cyprus and Cilicia have been put forward previously by Dr.
Killebrew as an origin point for the Philistines, who were a group contained within the whole of the
Sea Peoples. Due to early experimentation with iron in Anatolia and Cyprus, the Philistines could
have brought iron work with them (uncarburized iron rather than steel, as shown with the iron
artifacts from Philistia other than the dagger from Tell Farah South). This uncarburized iron in
Philistia matches the typically uncarburized iron that is found in Cilicia and the whole of Anatolia,
meaning that similar methods of production would have been used and a technological continuity is

possible to imagine. These iron pieces would have been traded locally for a variety of other objects,
and so would have made their way up shore and into Canaan, as well as more slowly inland into
Israel and Palestine, where iron began to be carburized and turned into steel at sites such as
Taanach, described above.
Further evidence to support the Sea People's as conduits for the transfer of iron exist when
one examines the record of iron objects found in Egypt during the Early Iron Age. Iron in Egypt is
very rare from 1200-1000, confined to the Lower Nile, and what iron is found is almost exclusively
iron of foreign manufacture (Stech-Wheeler, Muhly, Maxwell-Hyslop, Maddin, 1981: 263). We also
know, due to the Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III, that the Egyptians fought with and repelled Sea
People incursions during the Early Iron Age, when other cultures in the Mediterranean were being
overrun. Since Egypt was one of the only regions we have knowledge of to have successfully
repelled Sea People invasions, they remained outside of extensive contact with those peoples for the
longest, and they are also one of the most delayed in adopting extensive iron working technology,
even though they are situated directly on the coast and have historically been very active in
Mediterranean trade systems. This connection fits in with other evidences for Sea People interaction
with the spread of iron as a material too well to simply be coincidence.
Finally, it is also extremely telling that coastal areas were the first regions to fully embrace
the Iron Age and replace the majority of their tools of bronze with iron. Coastal regions are
inherently more successful traders, and it does not make sense for all trade to break down upon the
Bronze Age collapse, simply palatial trade is gone- small scale entrepreneur ism would almost
certainly have survived. If Waldbaum and the traditional theory of scarcity of resources dictation the
adoption of iron were correct, then why would regions who have the most contact with outsiders
and the most available means to get in and copper be the first to adopt iron working? If scarcity of
bronze determined adoption of iron, one would expect the centers of the Early Iron Age to emerge
in regions entirely cut off from easy trade or transportation networks, such as the very center of
Anatolia- instead, we see these regions lagging behind by up to 200 years.

Sea Peoples are then left as the primary catalyst for the adoption of iron working by
societies in the Eastern Mediterranean. Although they did not always bring the technology itself
with them rather than just the material, as show in the case of the Philistines, even finished goods of
iron could be enough to inspire local experimentation with a metal that had traditionally been
relegated to the role of decorative and royal purposes (in Anatolia) or not given much attention in
society before at all (in the case of the southern Levant). This explains the sudden influx of iron
around the turn of the 12th century in the Levant, and accounts for the seemingly oceanic based
expansion of Iron Age societies, who tended to live on coastlines, and the gradual infusion of iron
as a technology further inland. Iron would have been available to be traded as well, and these
coastal sites would provide excellent shipping centers for iron blooms taken from the sites where
they were mined and smelted, to the sites where they would be worked into shape and used. It is
also important to remember that the introduction of iron working to a society was far too regionally
distinct to have a direct influence on contemporary history, and the benefits are felt only over
extended periods of time (Snodgrass, 1980: 369). Because of this, iron did not facilitate any large
conquests of neighboring tribes or societies due to an unequal distribution of the technology, rather
iron would have been primarily spread through trade and cultural diffusion, originating from
oceangoing locations and introduced most likely through influences of Sea Peoples, and expanding
outward from there.

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