What Was Metal Used for in Ancient Times?

Metal has been a valuable resource for humanity since ancient times. The use of metals has played a crucial role in shaping the course of human history.

From weapons to jewelry, metal has been used for a wide variety of purposes. In this article, we will explore the various uses of metal in ancient times.

What is Metal?

Metal is a solid material that is typically hard, shiny, and malleable. It is an element that is found naturally in the earth’s crust. Metals are generally good conductors of heat and electricity and have high melting points.

The Discovery of Metal

The discovery of metal dates back to the Neolithic period, around 6000 BCE. The first metals to be discovered were gold and copper. These precious metals were used to make ornaments and jewelry.


Copper was one of the first metals to be used by humans. It was widely used in ancient times because it could be easily shaped into tools and weapons. Copper was also used for making decorative objects such as jewelry and sculptures.


Bronze is an alloy that is made by combining copper with tin or other metals. Bronze was discovered around 3000 BCE and became widely used during the Bronze Age (3000 BCE-1200 BCE). Bronze was used for making weapons, armor, tools, and household items such as pots and pans.


Iron was discovered around 1500 BCE but did not become widely used until much later during the Iron Age (1200 BCE-500 CE). Iron was initially smelted from iron ores using charcoal as fuel in a process known as the bloomery process. Iron quickly replaced bronze as the most commonly used metal for weapons due to its superior strength.

Uses of Metal in Ancient Times

Weapons and Armor

One of the primary uses of metal in ancient times was for making weapons and armor. Copper, bronze, and iron were all used to make swords, spears, axes, and other weapons. Bronze and iron were also used to make armor such as helmets, breastplates, and shields.


Metal was also widely used for making tools. Copper was used for making hoes, sickles, and other farming tools.

Bronze was used for making chisels, saws, hammers, and other woodworking tools. Iron was used for making plows, scythes, and other agricultural tools.


Metal was also used for transportation in ancient times. Bronze and iron were used to make chariots and wagons. Iron was also used to make horseshoes which allowed horses to be used more effectively for transportation.


Precious metals such as gold and silver were used extensively for making jewelry in ancient times. Gold was highly valued due to its rarity and was often reserved for royalty or religious figures. Silver was more readily available but still considered a valuable metal.


In conclusion, metal played a crucial role in shaping human history during ancient times. From weapons to jewelry, metal was widely used for a wide variety of purposes.

The discovery of metals such as copper, bronze, and iron allowed humans to create new technologies that helped them thrive in their environment. Metal continues to be an important resource today with new uses being discovered all the time.