The Aegean was the conduit for the developments in metallurgy, which ushered in the European Bronze Age at the end of the 4th millennium BCE. Almost two millennia later, it would repeat the service, relaying ironworking technology from its hearth in either Anatolia or northern India. It took some 1,500 years for bronze metalworking to disperse to Europe’s fringe. Ironworking spread more rapidly, taking roughly half that time to penetrate to Scandinavia. The dominant Bronze Age culture for most of Europe was Urnfield, named for its trademark cremated interment of human remains. The Urnfield peoples, as demonstrated by their buried artefacts, were warlike, using slashing swords with flanged grips. They cultivated mainly wheat and barley, growing enough to store substantial surpluses. They domesticated cattle, sheep and goats, but pigs had the highest status: their remains are found exclusively in the most imposing burials.
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