EARLY BRONZE AGE (2900 - 2000BC)
The Greek Bronze Age or the Early Helladic Era started around 2800 BC and lasted till 1050 BC in Crete while in the Aegean islands it started in 3000 BC. The Bronze Age in Greece is divided into periods such as Helladic I, II. The information that is available today on the Bronze Age in Greece is from the architecture, burial styles and lifestyle. The colonies were made of 300 to 1000 people.
The Bronze Age is known as so because of the invention and introduction of the metal bronze. This metal made its entry into Greece in 3000 BC, but it did not make its impact as soon as it arrived. The people from Dimini from the Neolithic era that had settled in Greece slowly started the use of Bronze. Knives and swords were carved from the metal. This metal was more easy to use than stone, bone or wood. Metals such as gold, silver and lead arrived at the same time as bronze.
The class system in society started with the arrival of metal depending on their value and availability. Bronze was expensive and copper was to be brought from other areas. The richer class could afford the metals and this was proved by the excavations found wherein people where buried with metal jewelry.
An excellent example of the Early Bronze Age in Greece is the excavation of the Lerna village. The houses roofs were made with clay tiles and wall with stones. Baskets were sealed with marks pressed on them. This proves that even then people did care for their belongings. Fences of stonewalls were made to protect their houses. But evidence shows that Lerna was attacked by some colonies and burnt the whole town.
The Bronze Age was also characterized by the burial systems. They were simple pits or graves carved into rocks. These graves were either for one person or a complete family. These burial pits and the remains give us important information on the nutrition and diseases of those eras. Also they give us an insight on the people's minds on their beliefs on human behavior and after life.
The economy of the villages depended on production of tools, weapons, agriculture and art and architecture. In crops they grew cereals and legumes that was there from the Neolithic Era. Also they introduced olive trees and wine. In animal husbandry they reared sheep's and goats. The need for more metals and goods lead to introduction of different colonies and barter creating set-up for trade. Major production that contributed to the economy included pottery, stone carving, textile and metal carving.
Arts and crafts included ceramic pottery, which were painted in earthy colors. Manufacture of tools was from bone, metals and stones using advanced technology. Figurines reflected the social and lifestyle habits. Weaving also constituted an important part, but the remains were lost in time because they were of perishable nature.
The Early Bronze Age paved the way for Minoans and the Mycenaean Greeks, which was characterized by its prosperity and the rich empires.