Most discussed possible causes for Bronze Age Collapse are

  • Climate change
    • Droughts (either natural, or caused by deforestation)
    • Volcanic eruption
  • Sea People

But Bonze Age Collapse is also begining of Iron age. It seem rather obvious question to ask if the main cause was the iron itself?

At high-shool I heave heard that Dorians who invaded Mycenean Greece and Crete were equipped by iron weapons. But I never saw this discussed more broadly in context of Bronze Age Collapse in general (Egypt, Hittite, Assyria ...).

Were military and socio-economic changes caused by spread of iron technology (similarly as European colonialism and industrial revolution, end of feudalism are strongly connected to technological disruption and caused collapse of large empires - Ottoman, Mugdal India, Qing China ... )

I don't speak so much about iron weapons being superior to bronze weapons, or about invaders (sea people) heaving particularly good iron weapons.

What I find more reasonable, is to consider that centralized power-structure of these societies was build around control of these rare resources (bronze,copper,tin). When iron started to spread, they loose "monopoly on power" and failed to adjust.


The conection of Broze age collapse with ironworking is discussed to some degree https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Late_Bronze_Age_collapse#Ironworking

Nevertheless, considering how obvious this question is for an outsider (i.e. not profesional archeologist or historian) I would assume, historians would spend more time explaining why this is not the primary hypothesis.

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    How is your question not answered by the Wikipedia article on {Late bronze Age Collapse](en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Late_Bronze_Age_collapse#Ironworking)? – Pieter Geerkens May 23 '20 at 22:52
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    The transitions between the raw materials for tool making are not hard ones. They are gradual, differ geographically, some materials never get into broader use in places (e.g. bronze in Egypt). I mean, the question is cool with many facets, but books have already been written. It's complex, i'd stay with the current working hypotheses ... – user43870 May 23 '20 at 22:53
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    The transition from the Late Bronze Age to the Iron Age is generally suggested as one of the factors in the collapse. However, few of the societies that were hit hardest actually controlled access to copper,or (more especially) tin. In fact, the Wikipedia page on the Late Bronze Age collapse includes a section on the possible causes, and the transition to the Iron Age is indeed listed there. – sempaiscuba May 23 '20 at 22:54
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    One should also mention that the "bronze age collapse" (I hate the term) is a regional, mostly Aegan/Near East thing. – user43870 May 23 '20 at 23:00
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    @Alex The Wikipedia article addresses that under "Changes in warfare" (although the question explicitly states it isn't about whether iron weapons were superior).. However, the title actually asks why Iron isn't cited more as a cause. As the Wikipedia article shows, the transition from the Late Bronze Age to the Iron Age is generally cited as a possible cause for the collapse. Finally, the last paragraph contains an assertion without any supporting evidence. As I noted above, few of the societies that were hardest hit actually controlled access to copper,or (more especially) tin. – sempaiscuba May 24 '20 at 3:48