Bronze

Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of other metals (such as aluminium, manganese, nickel or zinc) and sometimes non-metals or metalloids such as arsenic, phosphorus or silicon. These additions produce a range of alloys that may be harder than copper alone, or have other useful properties, such as stiffness, ductility, or machinability.

The archeological period in which bronze was the hardest metal in widespread use is known as the Bronze Age. The beginning of the Bronze Age in India and western Eurasia is conventionally dated to the mid-4th millennium BC, and to the early 2nd millennium BC in China;[1] everywhere it gradually spread across regions. The Bronze Age was followed by the Iron Age starting from about 1300 BC and reaching most of Eurasia by about 500 BC, although bronze continued to be much more widely used than it is in modern times.

Because historical pieces were often made of brasses (copper and zinc) and bronzes with different compositions, modern museum and scholarly descriptions of older objects increasingly use the more inclusive term "copper alloy" instead.[2]

HouMuWuDingFullView
Houmuwu ding (Chinese: 后母戊鼎; pinyin: Hòumǔwù dǐng), the largest ancient bronze ever found; 1300-1046 BC; National Museum of China (Beijing). This ding’s name is based on the inscription in the bronze interior wall, which reads Hòumǔwù, meaning “Queen Mother Wu”

Etymology

There are two basic theories as to the origin of the word.

Romance theory

The Romance theory goes with the word bronze (1730–40) was borrowed from French bronze (1511), itself borrowed from Italian bronzo "bell metal, brass" (13th century) (transcribed in Medieval Latin as bronzium) from either,

  • bróntion, back-formation from Byzantine Greek brontēsíon (11th century), perhaps from BrentḗsionBrindisi’, reputed for its bronze;[3][4] or originally,
  • in its earliest form from Old Persian birinj, biranj (برنج) "brass" (modern berenj), piring (پرنگ) "copper",[5] from which also came Serbo-Croatian pìrinač "brass",[6] Georgian brinǰao "bronze", Armenian płinj "copper".
Proto-Slavic theory

The Proto-Slavic theory reflects the philological issue that in the most of Slavonic languages word "bronza" corresponds perfectly to "war metal" (bron – defensive, zahot-worked metal; cf. zelé(želě)zoiron,) while at the early stages of the Bronze working it was used almost exclusively for military purposes.[7]

History

ALB - Hortfund Groß Gaglow
A hoard of bronze socketed axes from the Bronze Age found in modern Germany. This was the top tool of the period, and also seems to have been used as a store of value.
Magical Roman Nails
Roman bronze nails with magical signs and inscriptions, 3rd-4th century AD.

The discovery of bronze enabled people to create metal objects which were harder and more durable than previously possible. Bronze tools, weapons, armor, and building materials such as decorative tiles were harder and more durable than their stone and copper ("Chalcolithic") predecessors. Initially, bronze was made out of copper and arsenic, forming arsenic bronze, or from naturally or artificially mixed ores of copper and arsenic,[8] with the earliest artifacts so far known coming from the Iranian plateau in the 5th millennium BC.[9] It was only later that tin was used, becoming the major non-copper ingredient of bronze in the late 3rd millennium BC.[10]

Tin bronze was superior to arsenic bronze in that the alloying process could be more easily controlled, and the resulting alloy was stronger and easier to cast. Also, unlike arsenic, metallic tin and fumes from tin refining are not toxic. The earliest tin-alloy bronze dates to 4500 BC in a Vinča culture site in Pločnik (Serbia).[11] Other early examples date to the late 4th millennium BC in Egypt,[12] Susa (Iran) and some ancient sites in China, Luristan (Iran) and Mesopotamia (Iraq).

Ores of copper and the far rarer tin are not often found together (exceptions include Cornwall in Britain, one ancient site in Thailand and one in Iran), so serious bronze work has always involved trade. Tin sources and trade in ancient times had a major influence on the development of cultures. In Europe, a major source of tin was the British deposits of ore in Cornwall, which were traded as far as Phoenicia in the eastern Mediterranean.

In many parts of the world, large hoards of bronze artifacts are found, suggesting that bronze also represented a store of value and an indicator of social status. In Europe, large hoards of bronze tools, typically socketed axes (illustrated above), are found, which mostly show no signs of wear. With Chinese ritual bronzes, which are documented in the inscriptions they carry and from other sources, the case is very clear. These were made in enormous quantities for elite burials, and also used by the living for ritual offerings.

Transition to iron

Though bronze is generally harder than wrought iron, with Vickers hardness of 60–258 vs. 30–80,[13] the Bronze Age gave way to the Iron Age after a serious disruption of the tin trade: the population migrations of around 1200–1100 BC reduced the shipping of tin around the Mediterranean and from Britain, limiting supplies and raising prices.[14] As the art of working in iron improved, iron became cheaper and improved in quality. As cultures advanced from hand-wrought iron to machine-forged iron (typically made with trip hammers powered by water), blacksmiths learned how to make steel. Steel is stronger than bronze and holds a sharper edge longer.[15]

Bronze was still used during the Iron Age, and has continued in use for many purposes to the modern day.

Composition

Bronze bell with visible material structure
Bronze bell with a visible crystallite structure.

There are many different bronze alloys, but typically modern bronze is 88% copper and 12% tin.[16] Alpha bronze consists of the alpha solid solution of tin in copper. Alpha bronze alloys of 4–5% tin are used to make coins, springs, turbines and blades. Historical "bronzes" are highly variable in composition, as most metalworkers probably used whatever scrap was on hand; the metal of the 12th-century English Gloucester Candlestick is bronze containing a mixture of copper, zinc, tin, lead, nickel, iron, antimony, arsenic with an unusually large amount of silver – between 22.5% in the base and 5.76% in the pan below the candle. The proportions of this mixture suggests that the candlestick was made from a hoard of old coins. The Benin Bronzes are in fact brass, and the Romanesque Baptismal font at St Bartholomew's Church, Liège is described as both bronze and brass.

In the Bronze Age, two forms of bronze were commonly used: "classic bronze", about 10% tin, was used in casting; and "mild bronze", about 6% tin, was hammered from ingots to make sheets. Bladed weapons were mostly cast from classic bronze, while helmets and armor were hammered from mild bronze.

Commercial bronze (90% copper and 10% zinc) and architectural bronze (57% copper, 3% lead, 40% zinc) are more properly regarded as brass alloys because they contain zinc as the main alloying ingredient. They are commonly used in architectural applications.[17][18]

Bismuth bronze is a bronze alloy with a composition of 52% copper, 30% nickel, 12% zinc, 5% lead, and 1% bismuth. It is able to hold a good polish and so is sometimes used in light reflectors and mirrors.[19]

Plastic bronze is bronze containing a significant quantity of lead which makes for improved plasticity[20] possibly used by the ancient Greeks in their ship construction.[21]

Silicon bronze has a composition of Si: 2.80–3.80%, Mn: 0.50–1.30%, Fe: 0.80% max., Zn: 1.50% max., Pb: 0.05% max., Cu: balance.[22]

Other bronze alloys include aluminium bronze, phosphor bronze, manganese bronze, bell metal, arsenical bronze, speculum metal and cymbal alloys.

Properties

Norwid Relief
Detail of the relief memorial to Cyprian Kamil Norwid, Wawel Cathedral, Kraków, by Czesław Dźwigaj

Bronzes are typically very ductile alloys, considerably less brittle than cast iron. Typically bronze only oxidizes superficially; once a copper oxide (eventually becoming copper carbonate) layer is formed, the underlying metal is protected from further corrosion. This can be seen on statues from the Hellenistic period. However, if copper chlorides are formed, a corrosion-mode called "bronze disease" will eventually completely destroy it.[23] Copper-based alloys have lower melting points than steel or iron and are more readily produced from their constituent metals. They are generally about 10 percent denser than steel, although alloys using aluminium or silicon may be slightly less dense. Bronze is a better conductor of heat and electricity than most steels. The cost of copper-base alloys is generally higher than that of steels but lower than that of nickel-base alloys.

Copper and its alloys have a huge variety of uses that reflect their versatile physical, mechanical, and chemical properties. Some common examples are the high electrical conductivity of pure copper, low-friction properties of bearing bronze (bronze which has a high lead content— 6–8%), resonant qualities of bell bronze (20% tin, 80% copper), and resistance to corrosion by seawater of several bronze alloys.

The melting point of bronze varies depending on the ratio of the alloy components and is about 950 °C (1,742 °F). Bronze is usually nonmagnetic, but certain alloys containing iron or nickel may have magnetic properties.

Uses

Bronze, or bronze-like alloys and mixtures, were used for coins over a longer period. Bronze was especially suitable for use in boat and ship fittings prior to the wide employment of stainless steel owing to its combination of toughness and resistance to salt water corrosion. Bronze is still commonly used in ship propellers and submerged bearings.

In the 20th century, silicon was introduced as the primary alloying element, creating an alloy with wide application in industry and the major form used in contemporary statuary. Sculptors may prefer silicon bronze because of the ready availability of silicon bronze brazing rod, which allows colour-matched repair of defects in castings. Aluminium is also used for the structural metal aluminium bronze.

It is also widely used for casting bronze sculptures. Many common bronze alloys have the unusual and very desirable property of expanding slightly just before they set, thus filling in the finest details of a mould. Bronze parts are tough and typically used for bearings, clips, electrical connectors and springs.

Bronze also has very low friction against dissimilar metals, making it important for cannons prior to modern tolerancing, where iron cannonballs would otherwise stick in the barrel.[24] It is still widely used today for springs, bearings, bushings, automobile transmission pilot bearings, and similar fittings, and is particularly common in the bearings of small electric motors. Phosphor bronze is particularly suited to precision-grade bearings and springs. It is also used in guitar and piano strings.

Unlike steel, bronze struck against a hard surface will not generate sparks, so it (along with beryllium copper) is used to make hammers, mallets, wrenches and other durable tools to be used in explosive atmospheres or in the presence of flammable vapors. Bronze is used to make bronze wool for woodworking applications where steel wool would discolour oak.

Phosphor bronze is used for ships' propellers, musical instruments, and electrical contacts.[25] Bearings are often made of bronze for its friction properties. It can be filled with oil to make the proprietary Oilite and similar material for bearings. Aluminium bronze is very hard and wear-resistant, and is used for bearings and machine tool ways.[26]

Sculptures

Netuno19b
The Artemision Bronze representing either Poseidon or Zeus, c. 460 BC, National Archaeological Museum, Athens. This classical sculpture was found in a sunken ship off the coast of Cape Artemisium in 1928. The figure is more than 2 meters in height.

The Assyrian king Sennacherib (704–681 BC) claims to have been the first to cast monumental bronze statues (of up to 30 tonnes) using two-part moulds instead of the lost-wax method.[27]

Bronze statues were regarded as the highest form of sculpture in Ancient Greek art, though survivals are few, as bronze was a valuable material in short supply in the Late Antique and medieval periods. Many of the most famous Greek bronze sculptures are known through Roman copies in marble, which were more likely to survive.

In India, bronze sculptures from the Kushana (Chausa hoard) and Gupta periods (Brahma from Mirpur-Khas, Akota Hoard, Sultanganj Buddha) and later periods (Hansi Hoard) have been found.[28] Indian Hindu artisans from the period of the Chola empire in Tamil Nadu used bronze to create intricate statues via the lost wax casting method with ornate detailing depicting the deities of Hinduism. The art form survives to this day, with many silpis, craftsmen, working in the areas of Swamimalai and Chennai.

In antiquity other cultures also produced works of high art using bronze. For example: in Africa, the bronze heads of the Kingdom of Benin; in Europe, Grecian bronzes typically of figures from Greek mythology; in east Asia, Chinese ritual bronzes of the Shang and Zhou dynasty—more often ceremonial vessels but including some figurine examples. Bronze sculptures, although known for their longevity, still undergo microbial degradation; such as from certain species of yeasts.[29]

Bronze continues into modern times as one of the materials of choice for monumental statuary.

Mirrors

Before it became possible to produce glass with acceptably flat surfaces, bronze was a standard material for mirrors. The reflecting surface was typically made slightly convex so that the whole face could be seen in a small mirror. Bronze was used for this purpose in many parts of the world, probably based on independent discoveries.

Bronze mirrors survive from the Egyptian Middle Kingdom (2040–1750 BC). In Europe, the Etruscans were making bronze mirrors in the sixth century BC, and Greek and Roman mirrors followed the same pattern. Although other materials such as speculum metal had come into use, bronze mirrors were still being made in Japan in the eighteenth century AD.

Musical instruments

Picsingingbowls
Singing bowls from the 16th to 18th centuries. Annealed bronze continues to be made in the Himalayas

Bronze is the preferred metal for bells in the form of a high tin bronze alloy known colloquially as bell metal, which is about 23% tin.

Nearly all professional cymbals are made from bronze, which gives a desirable balance of durability and timbre. Several types of bronze are used, commonly B20 bronze, which is roughly 20% tin, 80% copper, with traces of silver, or the tougher B8 bronze which is made from 8% tin and 92% copper. As the tin content in a bell or cymbal rises, the timbre drops.[30]

Bronze is also used for the windings of steel and nylon strings of various stringed instruments such as the double bass, piano, harpsichord, and guitar. Bronze strings are commonly reserved on pianoforte for the lower pitch tones, as they possess a superior sustain quality to that of high-tensile steel.[31]

Bronzes of various metallurgical properties are widely used in struck idiophones around the world, notably bells, singing bowls, gongs, cymbals, and other idiophones from Asia. Examples include Tibetan singing bowls, temple bells of many sizes and shapes, gongs, Javanese gamelan, and other bronze musical instruments. The earliest bronze archeological finds in Indonesia date from 1–2 BC, including flat plates probably suspended and struck by a wooden or bone mallet.[31][32] Ancient bronze drums from Thailand and Vietnam date back 2,000 years. Bronze bells from Thailand and Cambodia date back to 3,600 BC.

Some companies are now making saxophones from phosphor bronze (3.5 to 10% tin and up to 1% phosphorus content).[33] Bell bronze is used to make the tone rings of many professional model banjos. The tone ring is a heavy (usually 3 lbs.) folded or arched metal ring attached to a thick wood rim, over which a skin, or most often, a plastic membrane (or head) is stretched – it is the bell bronze that gives the banjo a crisp powerful lower register and clear bell-like treble register, especially in bluegrass music.

Coins and medals

Bronze has also been used in coins; most “copper” coins are actually bronze, with about 4 percent tin and 1 percent zinc.[34]

As with coins, bronze has been used in the manufacture of various types of medals for centuries, and are known in contemporary times for being awarded for third place in sporting competitions and other events. The later usage was in part attributed to the choices of gold, silver and bronze to represent the first three Ages of Man in Greek mythology: the Golden Age, when men lived among the gods; the Silver age, where youth lasted a hundred years; and the Bronze Age, the era of heroes, and was first adopted at the 1904 Summer Olympics. At the 1896 event, silver was awarded to winners and bronze to runners-up, while at 1900 other prizes were given, not medals.

See also

References

  1. ^ Robert L. Thorp, China in the Early Bronze Age: Shang Civilization, University of Pennsylvania Press (2013).
  2. ^ "British Museum, "Scope Note" for "copper alloy"". British Museum. Archived from the original on 18 August 2014. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  3. ^ Henry and Renée Kahane, "Byzantium's Impact on the West: The Linguistic Evidence", Illinois Classical Studies 06 (2) 1981, p. 395.
  4. ^ Originally M.P.E. Berthelot, "Sur le nom du bronze chez les alchimistes grecs", in Revue archéologique, 1888, pp. 294–98.
  5. ^ Originally Karl Lokotsch, Etymologisches Wörterbuch der europäischen Wörter orientalischen Ursprungs. (Heidelberg: Carl Winter’s Universitätsbuchhandlung, 1927), p. 1657.
  6. ^ Wolfgang Pfeifer, ed., Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Deutschen, s.v. "Bronze" (Munich: Deutscher Taschenbucher Vertrag, 2005).
  7. ^ Hedden, Thomas Dexter. The Names of the Metals in Slavic and Baltic and Their Significance for the Ethnogenesis of the Slavs, University of California in Berkeley, 1988, pt. 1, pp. 39–51, 168–88.
  8. ^ Tylecote, R.F. (1992). A History of Metallurgy, Second Edition. London: Maney Publishing, for the Institute of Materials. ISBN 978-1-902653-79-2. Archived from the original on 2015-04-02.
  9. ^ Thornton, C.; Lamberg-Karlovsky, C.C.; Liezers, M.; Young, S.M.M. (2002). "On pins and needles: tracing the evolution of copper-based alloying at Tepe Yahya, Iran, via ICP-MS analysis of Common-place items". Journal of Archaeological Science. 29 (12): 1451–60. doi:10.1006/jasc.2002.0809.
  10. ^ Kaufman, Brett. "Metallurgy and Archaeological Change in the Ancient Near East". Backdirt: Annual Review. 2011: 86.
  11. ^ Radivojević, Miljana; Rehren, Thilo (December 2013). "Tainted ores and the rise of tin bronzes in Eurasia, c. 6500 years ago". Antiquity Publications Ltd. Archived from the original on 2014-02-05.
  12. ^ History of Africa#Metallurgy
  13. ^ Smithells Metals Reference Book, 8th Edition, ch. 22
  14. ^ Clayton E. Cramer. What Caused The Iron Age? Archived 2010-12-28 at the Wayback Machine claytoncramer.com. December 10, 1995
  15. ^ Oleg D. Sherby and Jeffrey Wadsworth. Ancient Blacksmiths, the Iron Age, Damascus Steels, and Modern Metallurgy Archived 2007-06-26 at the Wayback Machine. Tbermec 2000, Las Vegas, Nevada December 4–8, 2000. Retrieved on 2012-06-09.
  16. ^ Knapp, Brian. (1996) Copper, Silver and Gold. Reed Library, Australia.
  17. ^ "Copper alloys". Archived from the original on 11 September 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  18. ^ "CDA UNS Standard Designations for Wrought and Cast Copper and Copper Alloys: Introduction". Archived from the original on 24 September 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  19. ^ "Bismuth Bronze". Archived from the original on 16 March 2015. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  20. ^ plastic bronze definition of plastic bronze in the Free Online Encyclopedia
  21. ^ Adams, Jonathan R. (2012). "The Belgammel Ram, a Hellenistic-Roman BronzeProembolionFound off the Coast of Libya: test analysis of function, date and metallurgy, with a digital reference archive" (PDF). International Journal of Nautical Archaeology. 42 (1): 60–75. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.738.4024. doi:10.1111/1095-9270.12001. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-08-28.
  22. ^ ASTM B124 / B124M – 15. ASTM International. 2015.
  23. ^ "Bronze Disease, Archaeologies of the Greek Past". Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  24. ^ A. Alavudeen; N. Venkateshwaran; J. T. Winowlin Jappes (1 January 2006). A Textbook of Engineering Materials and Metallurgy. Firewall Media. pp. 136–. ISBN 978-81-7008-957-5. Archived from the original on 10 June 2016. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  25. ^ Resources: Standards & Properties – Copper & Copper Alloy Microstructures: Phosphor Bronze Archived 2015-12-08 at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ Resources: Standards & Properties – Copper & Copper Alloy Microstructures: Aluminum Bronzes Archived 2013-12-05 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ for a translation of his inscription see the appendix in Stephanie Dalley, (2013) The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon: an elusive World Wonder traced, OUP. ISBN 978-0-19-966226-5
  28. ^ Indian bronze masterpieces: the great tradition: specially published for the Festival of India, Asharani Mathur, Sonya Singh, Festival of India, Brijbasi Printers, Dec 1, 1988
  29. ^ Francesca Cappitelli; Claudia Sorlini (2008). "Microorganisms Attack Synthetic Polymers in Items Representing Our Cultural Heritage". Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 74 (3): 564–69. doi:10.1128/AEM.01768-07. PMC 2227722. PMID 18065627.
  30. ^ Von Falkenhausen, Lothar (1993). Suspended Music: Chime-Bells in the Culture of Bronze Age China. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. p. 106. ISBN 978-0-520-07378-4. Archived from the original on 2016-05-26.
  31. ^ a b McCreight, Tim. Metals technic: a collection of techniques for metalsmiths. Brynmorgen Press, 1992. ISBN 0-9615984-3-3
  32. ^ LaPlantz, David. Jewelry – Metalwork 1991 Survey: Visions – Concepts – Communication: S. LaPlantz: 1991. ISBN 0-942002-05-9
  33. ^ "www.sax.co.uk". Archived from the original on 11 August 2014. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
  34. ^ "bronze | alloy". Archived from the original on 2016-07-30. Retrieved 2016-07-21.

External links

Ancient Near East

The ancient Near East was the home of early civilizations within a region roughly corresponding to the modern Middle East: Mesopotamia (modern Iraq, southeast Turkey, southwest Iran, northeastern Syria and Kuwait), ancient Egypt, ancient Iran (Elam, Media, Parthia and Persia), Anatolia/Asia Minor and Armenian Highlands (Turkey's Eastern Anatolia Region, Armenia, northwestern Iran, southern Georgia, and western Azerbaijan), the Levant (modern Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, and Jordan), Cyprus and the Arabian Peninsula. The ancient Near East is studied in the fields of Near Eastern archaeology and ancient history.

The history of the ancient Near East begins with the rise of Sumer in the 4th millennium BC, though the date it ends varies. The term covers the Bronze Age and the Iron Age in the region, until either the conquest by the Achaemenid Empire in the 6th century BC, that by Macedonian Empire in the 4th century BC, or the Muslim conquests in the 7th century AD.

The ancient Near East is considered one of the cradles of civilization. It was here that intensive year-round agriculture was first practiced, leading to the rise of the first dense urban settlements and the development of many familiar institutions of civilization, such as social stratification, centralized government and empires, organized religion and organized warfare. It also saw the creation of the first writing system, the first alphabet (Abjad), the first currency in history, and law codes, early advances that laid the foundations of astronomy and mathematics, and the invention of the wheel.

During the period, states became increasingly large, until the region became controlled by militaristic empires that had conquered a number of different cultures.

Brass

Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, in proportions which can be varied to achieve varying mechanical and electrical properties. It is a substitutional alloy: atoms of the two constituents may replace each other within the same crystal structure. In contrast, bronze is an alloy of copper and tin.Both bronze and brass may include small proportions of a range of other elements including arsenic, lead, phosphorus, aluminium, manganese, and silicon. The distinction is largely historical. Modern practice in museums and archaeology increasingly avoids both terms for historical objects in favour of the all-embracing "copper alloy".Brass is used for decoration for its bright gold-like appearance; for applications where low friction is required such as locks, gears, bearings, doorknobs, ammunition casings and valves; for plumbing and electrical applications; and extensively in brass musical instruments such as horns and bells where a combination of high workability (historically with hand tools) and durability is desired. It is also used in zippers. Brass is often used in situations in which it is important that sparks not be struck, such as in fittings and tools used near flammable or explosive materials.

Bronze Age

The Bronze Age is a historical period characterized by the use of bronze, and in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the three-age Stone-Bronze-Iron system, as proposed in modern times by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen, for classifying and studying ancient societies.

An ancient civilization is defined to be in the Bronze Age either by producing bronze by smelting its own copper and alloying with tin, arsenic, or other metals, or by trading for bronze from production areas elsewhere. Bronze itself is harder and more durable than other metals available at the time, allowing Bronze Age civilizations to gain a technological advantage.

Copper-tin ores are rare, as reflected in the fact that there were no tin bronzes in Western Asia before trading in bronze began in the third millennium BC. Worldwide, the Bronze Age generally followed the Neolithic period, with the Chalcolithic serving as a transition. Although the Iron Age generally followed the Bronze Age, in some areas (such as Sub-Saharan Africa), the Iron Age intruded directly on the Neolithic.Bronze Age cultures differed in their development of the first writing. According to archaeological evidence, cultures in Mesopotamia (cuneiform script) and Egypt (hieroglyphs) developed the earliest viable writing systems.

Bronze Star Medal

The Bronze Star Medal, unofficially the Bronze Star, is a United States decoration awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces for either heroic achievement, heroic service, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service in a combat zone.

When the medal is awarded by the Army and Air Force for acts of valor in combat, the "V" Device is authorized for wear on the medal. When the medal is awarded by the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard for acts of valor or meritorious service in combat, the Combat "V" is authorized for wear on the medal.

Officers from the other Uniformed Services of the United States are eligible to receive this award, as are foreign soldiers who have served with or alongside a service branch of the United States Armed Forces.Civilians serving with U.S. military forces in combat are also eligible for the award. For example, UPI reporter Joe Galloway was awarded the Bronze Star with "V" Device during the Vietnam War for rescuing a badly wounded soldier under fire in the Battle of la Drang, in 1965. Another civilian recipient was writer Ernest Hemingway.

Bronze medal

A bronze medal in sports and other similar areas involving competition is a medal made of bronze awarded to the third-place finisher of contests or competitions such as the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, etc. The outright winner receives a gold medal and the second place a silver medal. More generally, bronze is traditionally the most common metal used for all types of high-quality medals, including artistic ones. The practice of awarding bronze third place medals began at the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis, Missouri, before which only first and second places were awarded.

Bronze sculpture

Bronze is the most popular metal for cast metal sculptures; a cast bronze sculpture is often called simply a "bronze". It can be used for statues, singly or in groups, reliefs, and small statuettes and figurines, as well as bronze elements to be fitted to other objects such as furniture. It is often gilded to give gilt-bronze or ormolu.

Common bronze alloys have the unusual and desirable property of expanding slightly just before they set, thus filling the finest details of a mould. Then, as the bronze cools, it shrinks a little, making it easier to separate from the mould. Their strength and ductility (lack of brittleness) is an advantage when figures in action are to be created, especially when compared to various ceramic or stone materials (such as marble sculpture). These qualities allow the creation of extended figures, as in Jeté, or figures that have small cross sections in their support, such as the equestrian statue of Richard the Lionheart.But the value of the bronze for uses other than making statues is disadvantageous to the preservation of sculptures; few large ancient bronzes have survived, as many were melted down to make weapons or ammunition in times of war or to create new sculptures commemorating the victors, while far more stone and ceramic works have come through the centuries, even if only in fragments. As recently as 2007 several life sized bronze sculptures by John Waddell were stolen, probably due to the value of the metal after the work has been melted.

Canaan

Canaan (; Northwest Semitic: knaʿn; Phoenician: 𐤊𐤍𐤏𐤍 Kenāʿan; Hebrew: כְּנָעַן Kena‘an) was a Semitic-speaking region in the Ancient Near East during the late 2nd millennium BC. The name Canaan appears throughout the Bible, where it corresponds to the Levant, in particular to the areas of the Southern Levant that provide the main setting of the narrative of the Bible: i.e., the area of Phoenicia, Philistia, Israel, and other nations.

The word Canaanites serves as an ethnic catch-all term covering various indigenous populations—both settled and nomadic-pastoral groups—throughout the regions of the southern Levant or Canaan. It is by far the most frequently used ethnic term in the Bible. In the Book of Joshua, Canaanites are included in a list of nations to exterminate, and later described as a group which the Israelites had annihilated, although the extent of this narrative is clarified by later biblical texts such as the Book of Isaiah. Biblical scholar Mark Smith notes that archaeological data suggests "that the Israelite culture largely overlapped with and derived from Canaanite culture... In short, Israelite culture was largely Canaanite in nature. The name "Canaanites" (כְּנָעַנִיְם kena‘anim, כְּנָעַנִי kena‘anī) is attested, many centuries later, as the endonym of the people later known to the Ancient Greeks from c. 500 BC as Phoenicians, and following the emigration of Canaanite-speakers to Carthage (founded in the 9th century BC), was also used as a self-designation by the Punics (chanani) of North Africa during Late Antiquity.

Canaan had significant geopolitical importance in the Late Bronze Age Amarna period (14th century BC) as the area where the spheres of interest of the Egyptian, Hittite, Mitanni and Assyrian Empires converged. Much of modern knowledge about Canaan stems from archaeological excavation in this area at sites such as Tel Hazor, Tel Megiddo, and Gezer.

Chalcolithic

The Chalcolithic (English: ), a name derived from the Greek: χαλκός khalkós, "copper" and from λίθος líthos, "stone" or Copper Age, also known as the Eneolithic or Aeneolithic (from Latin aeneus "of copper") is an archaeological period which researchers usually regard as part of the broader Neolithic (although scholars originally defined it as a transition between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age). In the context of Eastern Europe, archaeologists often prefer the term "Eneolithic" to "Chalcolithic" or other alternatives.

In the Chalcolithic period, copper predominated in metalworking technology. Hence it was the period before it was discovered that adding tin to copper formed bronze (a harder and stronger metal). The archaeological site of Belovode, on Rudnik mountain in Serbia has the oldest securely-dated evidence of copper smelting, from 7000 BP (c. 5000 BC).The Copper Age in the Ancient Near East began in the late 5th millennium BC and lasted for about a millennium before it gave rise to the Early Bronze Age.

The transition from the European Copper Age to Bronze Age Europe occurs about the same time, between the late 5th and the late 3rd millennia BC.

Iron Age

The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age system, preceded by the Stone Age (Neolithic) and the Bronze Age. It is an archaeological era in the prehistory and protohistory of Europe and the Ancient Near East, and by analogy also used of other parts of the Old World.

The three-age system was introduced in the first half of the 19th century for the archaeology of Europe in particular, and by the later 19th century expanded to the archaeology of the Ancient Near East. Its name harks back to the mythological "Ages of Man" of Hesiod. As an archaeological era it was first introduced for Scandinavia by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen in the 1830s. By the 1860s, it was embraced as a useful division of the "earliest history of mankind" in general and began to be applied in Assyriology. The development of the now-conventional periodization in the archaeology of the Ancient Near East was developed in the 1920s to 1930s.

As its name suggests, Iron Age technology is characterized by the production of tools and weaponry by ferrous metallurgy (ironworking), more specifically from carbon steel.

The duration of the Iron Age varies depending on the region under consideration. It is defined by archaeological convention, and the mere presence of some cast or wrought iron is not sufficient to represent an Iron Age culture; rather, the "Iron Age" begins locally when the production of iron or steel has been brought to the point where iron tools and weapons superior to their bronze equivalents become widespread. For example, Tutankhamun's meteoric iron dagger comes from the Bronze Age. In the Ancient Near East, this transition takes place in the wake of the so-called Bronze Age collapse, in the 12th century BC. The technology soon spreads throughout the Mediterranean region and to South Asia.

Its further spread to Central Asia, Eastern and Central Europe is somewhat delayed, and Northern Europe is reached still later, by about 500 BC.

The Iron Age is taken to end, also by convention, with the beginning of the historiographical record.

This usually does not represent a clear break in the archaeological record; for the Ancient Near East the establishment of the Achaemenid Empire c. 550 BC (considered historical by virtue of the record by Herodotus) is usually taken as a cut-off date, and in Central and Western Europe the Roman conquests of the 1st century BC serve as marking for the end of the Iron Age. The Germanic Iron Age of Scandinavia is taken to end c. AD 800, with the beginning of the Viking Age.

In South Asia, the Iron Age is taken to begin with the ironworking Painted Gray Ware culture and to end with the reign of Ashoka (3rd century BC). The use of the term "Iron Age" in the archaeology of South, East and Southeast Asia is more recent, and less common, than for western Eurasia; at least in China prehistory had ended before iron-working arrived, so the term is infrequently used. The Sahel (Sudan region) and Sub-Saharan Africa are outside of the three-age system, there being no Bronze Age, but the term "Iron Age" is sometimes used in reference to early cultures practicing ironworking such as the Nok culture of Nigeria.

Minoan civilization

The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age Aegean civilization on the island of Crete and other Aegean Islands which flourished from c. 2700 to c. 1450 BC, before a late period of decline, finally ending around 1100 BC. It preceded and was absorbed by the Mycenaean civilization of ancient Greece. The civilization was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century through the work of British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans. The name "Minoan" derives from the mythical King Minos and was coined by Evans, who identified the site at Knossos with the labyrinth and the Minotaur. The Minoan civilization has been described as the earliest of its kind in Europe, with historian Will Durant calling the Minoans "the first link in the European chain".The Minoan civilization is particularly notable for its large and elaborate palaces, some of which were up to four stories high, featured elaborate plumbing systems and were decorated with frescoes. The most notable Minoan palace is that of Knossos, followed by that of Phaistos. The Minoan period saw extensive trade between Crete, Aegean and Mediterranean settlements, particularly the Near East. Through their traders and artists, the Minoans' cultural influence reached beyond Crete to the Cyclades, the Old Kingdom of Egypt, copper-bearing Cyprus, Canaan and the Levantine coast and Anatolia. Some of the best Minoan art is preserved in the city of Akrotiri on the island of Santorini, which was destroyed by the Minoan eruption.

The Minoans primarily wrote in the undeciphered Linear A, encoding a language hypothetically labelled Minoan. The reasons for the slow decline of the Minoan civilization, beginning around 1550 BC, are unclear; theories include Mycenaean invasions from mainland Greece and the major volcanic eruption of Santorini.

Nordic Bronze Age

The Nordic Bronze Age (also Northern Bronze Age, or Scandinavian Bronze Age) is a period of Scandinavian prehistory from c. 1700–500 BC. The Bronze Age culture of this era succeeded the Nordic Stone Age culture (Late Neolithic) and was followed by the Pre-Roman Iron Age. The archaeological legacy of the Nordic Bronze Age culture is rich, but the ethnic and linguistic affinities of it are unknown, in the absence of written sources. Some scholars also include sites in what is now Finland, Estonia, northern Germany and Pomerania, as part of its cultural sphere.

Oak leaf cluster

An oak leaf cluster is a miniature bronze or silver twig of four oak leaves with three acorns on the stem that is authorized by the United States Armed Forces as a ribbon device for a specific set of decorations and awards of the Department of Defense, Department of the Army, and Department of the Air Force to denote subsequent decorations and awards.The bronze oak leaf cluster represents one additional award, while the silver oak leaf cluster is worn in lieu of five bronze oak leaf clusters.

Percy Jackson

Perseus "Percy" Jackson is a fictional character, the title character and narrator of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson & the Olympians series. He is also one of seven main protagonists of the sequel series The Heroes of Olympus, appearing in every book except The Lost Hero, and appears in the ongoing Trials of Apollo series, making him one of the few characters to appear in all three series of the Camp Half-Blood chronicles. He has also been a narrator and protagonist in Riordan's Greco-Roman/Egyptian crossover stories, part of the Demigods and Magicians collection. The character serves as the narrator in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods and Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes, also by Rick Riordan.

Percy Jackson is played by Logan Lerman in the film adaptations of the novels and by Chris McCarrell on the musical.

Prehistory

Human prehistory is the period between the use of the first stone tools c. 3.3 million years ago by hominins and the invention of writing systems. The earliest writing systems appeared c. 5,300 years ago, but it took thousands of years for writing to be widely adopted and it was not used in some human cultures until the 19th century or even until the present. The end of prehistory therefore came at very different dates in different places, and the term is less often used in discussing societies where prehistory ended relatively recently.

Sumer in Mesopotamia, the Indus valley civilization and ancient Egypt were the first civilizations to develop their own scripts, and to keep historical records; this took place already during the early Bronze Age. Neighboring civilizations were the first to follow. Most other civilizations reached the end of prehistory during the Iron Age. The three-age system of division of prehistory into the Stone Age, followed by the Bronze Age and Iron Age, remains in use for much of Eurasia and North Africa, but is not generally used in those parts of the world where the working of hard metals arrived abruptly with contact with Eurasian cultures, such as the Americas, Oceania, Australasia and much of Sub-Saharan Africa. These areas also, with some exceptions in Pre-Columbian civilizations in the Americas, did not develop complex writing systems before the arrival of Eurasians, and their prehistory reaches into relatively recent periods; for example 1788 is usually taken as the end of the prehistory of Australia.

The period when a culture is written about by others, but has not developed its own writing is often known as the protohistory of the culture. By definition, there are no written records from human prehistory, so dating of prehistoric materials is crucial. Clear techniques for dating were not well-developed until the 19th century.This article is concerned with human prehistory, the time since behaviorally and anatomically modern humans first appeared until the beginning of recorded history. Earlier periods are also called "prehistoric"; there are separate articles for the overall history of the Earth and the history of life before humans.

Saina Nehwal

Saina Nehwal (pronunciation , born 17 March 1990) is an Indian professional badminton singles player. A former world no. 1, she has won over 24 international titles, which include eleven Superseries titles. Although she reached the world's 2nd in the 2009, it was only in 2015 that she was able to attain the world no. 1 ranking, thereby becoming the only female player from India and overall the second Indian player – after Prakash Padukone – to achieve this feat. She has represented India three times in the Olympics, winning a bronze medal in her second appearance.Nehwal has achieved several milestones in badminton for India. She is the only Indian to have won at least one medal in every BWF major individual event, namely the Olympics, the BWF World Championships, and the BWF World Junior Championships. She is the first Indian badminton player to have won an Olympic medal, along with being the only Indian to have won the BWF World Junior Championships or to have reached to the final of the BWF World Championships. In 2006, Nehwal became the first Indian female and the youngest Asian to win a 4-star tournament. She also has the distinction of being the first Indian to win a Super Series title. In the 2014 Uber Cup, she captained the Indian team and remained undefeated, helping India to win bronze medal. It was India's first medal in any BWF major team event. Nehwal became the first Indian to win two singles gold medals (2010 and 2018) in Commonwealth Games.

Considered one of the most successful Indian sportspersons, she is credited for increasing the popularity of badminton in India. In 2016, the Government of India (GoI) conferred the Padma Bhushan – India's third highest civilian award – on her. Previously, the nation's top two sporting honours, namely the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and the Arjuna Award, were also conferred on her by the Government of India. Nehwal is a philanthropist and was ranked 18th on the list of most charitable athletes.

Service star

A service star is a miniature bronze or silver five-pointed star ​3⁄16 inch (4.8 mm) in diameter that is authorized to be worn by members of the seven uniformed services of the United States on medals and ribbons to denote an additional award or service period. The service star may also be referred to as a campaign star or battle star depending on which award is authorized the star and the manner in which the device is used for the award.Service stars, campaign stars, and battle stars are worn with one point of the star pointing up on the suspension ribbon of a medal or service ribbon. A silver star is worn instead of five bronze stars. A service star is sometimes mistaken for a Bronze Star (Bronze Star Medal) or Silver Star (Silver Star Medal). The service star is also similar to the gold and silver ​5⁄16 Inch Stars which may be authorized to be worn on specific individual decorations of certain services to denote additional decorations.

Shang dynasty

The Shang dynasty (Chinese: 商朝; pinyin: Shāngcháo) or Yin dynasty (殷代; Yīndài), according to traditional historiography, ruled in the Yellow River valley in the second millennium BC, succeeding the Xia dynasty and followed by the Zhou dynasty. The classic account of the Shang comes from texts such as the Book of Documents, Bamboo Annals and Records of the Grand Historian. According to the traditional chronology based on calculations made approximately 2,000 years ago by Liu Xin, the Shang ruled from 1766 to 1122 BC, but according to the chronology based upon the "current text" of Bamboo Annals, they ruled from 1556 to 1046 BC. The Xia–Shang–Zhou Chronology Project dated them from c. 1600 to 1046 BC.

The Shang dynasty is the earliest dynasty of traditional Chinese history supported by archaeological evidence. Excavation at the Ruins of Yin (near modern-day Anyang), which has been identified as the last Shang capital, uncovered eleven major royal tombs and the foundations of palaces and ritual sites, containing weapons of war and remains from both animal and human sacrifices. Tens of thousands of bronze, jade, stone, bone, and ceramic artifacts have been found.

The Anyang site has yielded the earliest known body of Chinese writing, mostly divinations inscribed on oracle bones – turtle shells, ox scapulae, or other bones. More than 20,000 were discovered in the initial scientific excavations during the 1920s and 1930s, and over four times as many have been found since. The inscriptions provide critical insight into many topics from the politics, economy, and religious practices to the art and medicine of this early stage of Chinese civilization.

The Thinker

The Thinker (French: Le Penseur) is a bronze sculpture by Auguste Rodin, usually placed on a stone pedestal. The work shows a nude male figure of over life-size sitting on a rock with his chin resting on one hand as though deep in thought, often used as an image to represent philosophy. There are about 28 full-sized castings, in which the figure is about 186 cm high, though not all were made during Rodin's lifetime and under his supervision. There are various other versions, as well, several in plaster, and studies and posthumous castings exist in a range of sizes. Rodin first conceived the figure as part of his work The Gates of Hell commissioned in 1880, but the first of the familiar monumental bronze castings did not appear until 1904.

Tumulus

A tumulus (plural tumuli) is a mound of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves. Tumuli are also known as barrows, burial mounds or kurgans, and may be found throughout much of the world. A cairn, which is a mound of stones built for various purposes, may also originally have been a tumulus.

Tumuli are often categorised according to their external apparent shape. In this respect, a long barrow is a long tumulus, usually constructed on top of several burials, such as passage graves. A round barrow is a round tumulus, also commonly constructed on top of burials. The internal structure and architecture of both long and round barrows has a broad range, the categorization only refers to the external apparent shape.

The method of inhumation may involve a dolmen, a cist, a mortuary enclosure, a mortuary house, or a chamber tomb. Examples of barrows include Duggleby Howe and Maeshowe.

The word tumulus is Latin for 'mound' or 'small hill', which is derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *teuh2- with extended zero grade *tum-, 'to bulge, swell' also found in tumor, thumb, thigh, and thousand.

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