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Apollo Antiquities Gallery UK
After the Stone Age period, our ancestors developed a way of making bronze by mixing copper with tin. Bronze was much harder than either copper or tin, and therefore more suitable for tools and weapons. Early Bronze Age artefacts have a very high copper content, and are softer and therefore more worn or have a pitted surface. In the late Bronze Age lead was also sometimes added.
The British Bronze Age period started around 2500 years BC to 800 years BC. At this time saw the arrival of the Beaker Peoples from the low countries of present day mainland Europe. At the start of this period stone items were still being used from the earlier age. Britain was very resourceful with an abundance of tin from Cornwall, and copper from Ireland. Copper was used on it's own for personal ornaments, and by the late Bronze Age, gold was also being used, again as ornaments, or sometimes on weapons. However, anything other than bronze artefacts from this period are very rare indeed, and are not often seen in the market place. Bronze Age hoards of axe heads and weapons do turn up from time to time.
The bronze workers would often bury many items together for safekeeping. These were usually broken or damaged items which would have, if recovered in antiquity, been either recast, or traded for other items. Bronze Age artefacts are also discovered which would have been used as burial items. The most popular Bronze Age items have a smooth even patina, and are preferably undamaged. The palstave type axe is usually more desirable to collectors than the looped and socketed type.