In most regions of the Old World (but not in all of them) there was a period in which copper or bronze came into general
use as a material for tools and weapons, but iron was still practically unknown. This period is for convenience termed the Bronze Age (although strictly speaking the word bronze should refer only to true bronze, a mixed metal composed of copper, alloyed with a certain percentage of tin). The date and duration of the Bronze Age in different parts of the Old World vary greatly. As has already been stated, the earliest known use of copper was in the Near East-in Mesopotamia and Egypt-toward the middle of the 4th millennium B.C.
Considerable evidence points to the mountainous ore-bearing regions of Asia Minor, Armenia, and Caucasia as the probable area in which copper metallurgy was first discovered and developed. Copper was in widespread use in the Near East by 3000 B.C. and this may be considered a good rough date for the beginning of the Bronze Age in western Asia, although the general use of true bronze itself did not begin until six or seven centuries later.
The Bronze Age in Europe did not begin until 2000 B.C. or later, and it was more retarded or entirely absent in parts of Asia, most of Africa, and all of Oceania. The first use of iron for implements brought the Bronze Age everywhere to a close.