In archaeology, the Iron Age was the stage in the development of any people in which tools and weapons was made of iron. The adoption of this material coincided with other changes in some past societies often including differing agricultural practices, religious beliefs and artistic styles, although this was not always the case. Its date and context vary depending on the country or geographical region.
The Iron Age begins between the 20th and 12th century BC with the migration of Indo-European peoples southwards, westwards, and eastwards, from a region located between eastern Europe and western Asia, probably near the Caucasus. These warlike peoples introduced iron and horse into the Middle East, Near East, and Mediterranean areas, where old civilizations had arisen, conquering them and altering cultures.
During the Iron Age, the best tools and weapons were made from steel, an alloy consisting of iron with a carbon content between 0.02% and 1.7% by weight. Steel weapons and tools were nearly the same weight as those of bronze, but stronger. Iron is by itself an adequately strong metal without additional alloys. Bronze, on the other hand, requires copper and tin which are less common than iron. Additionally, iron can be sharpened by grinding whereas bronze must be reforged.