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In the time around 7th century AD, the use of swords and shields was common in the middle east.

They should've required iron for that.

They didn't know much about smelting. So, how did they get the iron?

If there's any problem in my question please inform me. Thanks!

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    You might find this map interesting. May 16 '18 at 9:44
  • 7th century BCE or CE? Either way iron weapons and armour became common after 1200BCE, probably triggered by the late bronze age collapse 1300BCE making bronze essentially unavailable. Smelting knowledge to work iron spread quickly after 1200BCE.
    – PhillS
    May 16 '18 at 9:49
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    They didn't know much about smelting Why do you say this? Iron smelting may have been first discovered in the Middle East, thousands of years before the 7th century.
    – Semaphore
    May 16 '18 at 10:35
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    Trade with Britain is documented in the bronze age. Why would they have difficulty obtaining iron through trade?
    – MCW
    May 16 '18 at 12:48
  • Shields were mostly made of wood, with some metal parts like nails, rims, fasteners, etc. movies may put in sound effects of metal swords clanging on metal shields, but that doesn't make it correct.
    – MAGolding
    May 16 '18 at 21:03
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Turns out the answer to your question touches on the rise and fall of the Hittites, and the rise of the Phoenicians (and later Carthaginians).

Metals were a large part of the return cargo on the Phoenicians' trade routes at that time, and Iron ores in particular seem to have been one of the main cargoes that were carried back on the Sardinian branch of the network. (The Iberian branch was more into Silver ores)

enter image description here

The only major source before that appears to have been in the Taurus mountains in central Anatolia, which helps explain why polities based there (eg: Hittites) were the first to develop widespread use of iron weapons, and were militarily dominant until the Phonecians developed that alternate source for iron.

The Hittites at their Greatest Extent (14th Century BCE) enter image description here

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  • Your answer reflects exactly what I expected, but hadn't started the research yet.
    – Perry Webb
    Jul 19 at 0:11
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Some steel for edged weapons would have been imported from places like India.

See Wootz steel and Damascus steel (but ignore the irrelevant and misleading modern use of the term for pattern-welded steel)

The original wootz was imported from India to Damascus, where Middle Eastern bladesmiths forged them into swords

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