Iron Age China
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Ancient Near East (1200 BC – 500 BC)
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|↓ Ancient history|
The Iron Age in China began in ca. 600 BC and is taken to last until the rise of the Qin Dynasty in the 3rd century BC, ushering in the Early Imperial period. This corresponds to the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods of Chinese history.
The Iron Age in East Asia began when cast-iron1 objects appeared in Yangzi Valley toward the end of the 6th century BC.2 The few objects were found at Changsha and Nanjing. According to the mortuary evidence suggests that the initial use of iron in Guangdong belongs to the mid to late Warring States period (from about 350 BC).
The techniques used in Lingnan is a combination of bivalve moulds of distinct southern tradition and the incorporation of piece mould technology from the Zhongyuan. The products of the combination of these two periods are bells, vessels, weapons and ornaments and the sophisticated cast.
As in the Ancient Near East, there are isolated finds of iron artefacts that predate the Iron Age proper; in 1972, near the city of Gaocheng (藁城) in Shijiazhuang (now Hebei province), an iron-bladed bronze tomahawk (铁刃青铜钺) dating back to the 14th century BC was excavated. After a scientific examination, the iron was shown to be made from meteoric iron.