The Iron Age is usually considered by archaeologists to be the period of some centuries immediately following the time when iron began to replace bronze as the principal material for implements and weapons. In one sense, we are still living in the Iron Age, but the term is actually seldom used in connection with any specific culture which is later in date than the beginning of the Christian Era, except in referring to primitive peoples, living in remote regions.
Rare examples of early ornaments made of meteoric iron are known, and at least two cases of objects made of iron that was not meteoric (and hence may have been smelted) have been reported in Mesopotamia from levels dating before 2500 B.C. The first certain development of iron metallurgy on any scale, however, began in Asia Minor about the 14th century B.C. and in Europe in the Hallstatt region of Austria in the 11th or loth century B.C. Iron did not penetrate to large parts of Asia and Africa until many centuries later and did not form part of any culture in the New World until introduced from Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries A.D.