This is a really tricky question to answer because different societies, cultures and civilizations entered their Iron Ages at different times.
In very general terms, the Iron Age is the period in a civilization’s history when iron or steel is used to make weapons and cutting tools, replacing bronze. It follows the Bronze Age.
The Iron Age in Europe
- In the 11th century BC iron working started to be carried out in parts of Europe.
- The knowledge and techniques spread throughout the continent over the next 500 years.
- The period saw a change in the designs of tools, weapons and ornaments as iron and steel objects were hammered into shape, whereas bronze objects were cast.
- Many hill forts were constructed in Europe during the Iron Age.
- Written languages were developed during the Iron Age and the dead were more often buried than cremated (as was common during the Bronze Age).
The British Iron Age
- The Iron Age in Britain started in about 800 BC and ended with the Roman invasion. In the areas of Britain not under Roman rule, the Iron Age lasted for a longer period.
- Archaeologists have studied more than 100 British Iron Age sites.
- Some famous Iron Age hill forts in Britain are Maiden Castle, Cadbury Castle, Hod Hill and Danebury.
- The population of Britain in the Iron Age has been estimated to be between 2 and 4 million. The people, sometimes known as Britons, spoke Common Brittonic (a form of Celtic language). They lived in tribal societies and were commonly referred to as Celts.