The Iron Age: farmers and fighters


Danish farmers and Roman imports

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During the Iron Age, technological and social changes occurred faster than ever before. The introduction of iron spurred enormous advances in weapons, crafts and agriculture. Contact with the powerful Roman Empire was another major catalyst that led to major developments in important areas such as agriculture, craftsmanship, trade, the military and religion.

The transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age around 500 AD marks one of the biggest technological revolutions in Denmark's pre-history. Neither copper nor tin, the metals that make up bronze, are found in Denmark. Because of that, Denmark relied on contacts with people to the south during the Bronze Age. But during the Iron Age, people in Denmark could exploit their own deposits of bog iron ore. Iron forced bronze aside as the most important metal for making tools and weapons - forged iron was stronger and lighter than cast bronze, and iron allowed for improvements to be made to weapons and agricultural tools. As forging techniques improved so too did the items made with iron.

Life-giving agriculture
Throughout the Iron Age, life for most people revolved around the soil. Most were farmers, and since a failed harvest would spell famine and starvation, many also raised grazing animals such as cattle, pigs and sheep for food. Animals also…

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