How Was Iron Used in Ancient Times?

Iron is one of the most abundant metals in Earth’s crust and has been used by humans for thousands of years. In ancient times, iron was a precious commodity known for its strength and durability. Let’s take a look at how iron was used in ancient times.

The discovery of iron

Iron was first discovered in meteorites that had fallen to Earth. These meteorites were made up of mostly iron and nickel, and ancient people who found them quickly realized their value. However, it wasn’t until around 1500 BCE that humans learned how to extract iron from the ground.

Iron weapons and tools

Once humans learned how to extract iron from the ground, they began using it to make weapons and tools. Iron tools were stronger than those made of bronze or copper, which gave them an advantage in agriculture and construction.

Iron weapons were also superior to those made from other materials such as stone or wood. The Hittites, for example, were known for their superior iron weapons which helped them become a powerful empire in the ancient world.

The Iron Age

The widespread use of iron marked the beginning of the Iron Age which lasted from around 1200 BCE to 500 BCE. During this time, many civilizations thrived due to their ability to produce and use iron.

The Assyrians were among the first civilizations to use iron extensively in warfare. They used it to make weapons such as swords, spears, and arrows that were much stronger than those made from other materials.

Iron production

The process of extracting iron from the ground was not an easy one. It involved heating ore in a furnace with charcoal which produced molten iron that could then be shaped into various objects.

In some parts of the world such as India, traditional methods of producing iron are still used today. These methods involve heating ore with charcoal in a clay furnace and using bellows to increase the temperature.


Iron has played a vital role in human history, from its discovery in meteorites to its widespread use during the Iron Age. Its strength and durability made it a valuable commodity for weapons and tools, which helped civilizations thrive. Today, iron continues to be an important metal used in everything from construction to transportation.