A new study of many of the oldest iron objects ever found has discovered that they are all made with metal from meteorites. Archaeologists think that the technology of smelting iron from terrestrial iron ores was invented in the Near East around B. But some ancient iron objects are much older than that — including the oldest iron objects known, a handful of iron beads found in a tomb at Gerzeh in northern Egypt that are dated to B. The analyzer is able to determine the chemical composition of an object with a non-destructive scan of the surface.
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The Iron Age was a period in human history that started between B. During the Iron Age, people across much of Europe, Asia and parts of Africa began making tools and weapons from iron and steel. For some societies, including Ancient Greece, the start of the Iron Age was accompanied by a period of cultural decline. Humans may have smelted iron sporadically throughout the Bronze Age , though they likely saw iron as an inferior metal.
It is a metal that belongs to the first transition series and group 8 of the periodic table. It is by mass the most common element on Earth , right in front of oxygen It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust. In its metallic state, iron is rare in the Earth's crust , limited mainly to deposition by meteorites. Humans started to master that process in Eurasia by about BCE, [ not verified in body ] and the use of iron tools and weapons began to displace copper alloys , in some regions, only around BCE.