Ignatius Donnelly

Three Ages of European Development

Europe has witnessed three distinct ages of human development, each marked by significant advancements in technology and culture:

  1. The Stone Age: This era is divided into two periods:
  • An early phase characterized by rough stone tools.
  • A later phase where tools were polished and refined.
  1. The Bronze Age: Marked by the use of bronze (a blend of copper and tin) for tools and weapons, this period indicates a higher level of civilization and metallurgical skill.
  2. The Iron Age: When iron became the dominant material for tools and weapons, although bronze continued to be used for decorative purposes. This age overlaps with what we consider the Historical Period and continues into our present civilization.

The Puzzling Bronze Age

The Bronze Age in Europe presents a complex problem for scientists. Bronze artifacts are widespread, especially in Ireland and Scandinavia, and suggest a high level of refinement and civilization among their creators. There is ongoing debate about who these people were and where they originated.

  • Absence of a Copper Age in Europe: The natural progression would suggest an initial period where copper and tin were used separately before the discovery of bronze. However, evidence of such a period is largely missing in Europe. This absence leads to the hypothesis that the knowledge of making bronze was introduced to Europe from elsewhere.

The Copper Age in America

Evidence points to a Copper Age in America, particularly around Lake Superior, where ancient mines suggest extensive copper extraction long before the development of bronze. This area is unique in having traditions and evidence of early copper tool manufacturing.

Theories on the Origin of Bronze Age Knowledge

  1. Phoenician Influence: It was once believed that the Phoenicians brought bronze to Europe, but recent arguments challenge this view. Differences in ornamentation, burial practices, and the known use of iron by the Phoenicians suggest otherwise.
  2. Indigenous Invention: Some propose that the knowledge of bronze-making could have developed independently in Europe, but the lack of a preceding Copper Age makes this unlikely.
  3. Atlantis: A plausible theory is that the advanced metallurgical skills of the Bronze Age were inherited from Atlantis. Plato describes Atlantis as a highly civilized society skilled in metalworking and possessing vast fleets, which could explain the widespread distribution of bronze artifacts in Europe.

Supporting Evidence from Various Regions

  1. Bronze Artifacts in Europe: The similarity of bronze implements across Europe suggests a common source. The distribution pattern indicates a maritime origin, with artifacts found in regions like Denmark, Ireland, and Switzerland, far from each other and from known centers of early metallurgy.
  2. Comparison with American Artifacts: There are striking similarities between European bronze tools and those found in ancient American sites, suggesting a shared or connected origin.
  3. Cultural and Technological Connections: Many European Bronze Age artifacts share designs and motifs with those found in America, such as the spiral patterns and specific forms of tools and weapons.

The Role of Atlantis

Atlantis, as described by Plato, fits the profile of a civilization advanced enough to develop and spread bronze technology. Its geographical position and described capabilities in trade and metallurgy align with the archaeological findings in Europe and the Americas.

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