The end of the Bronze Age
Was it climate change?
Between about 1200 and about 1000 BC, not so much trade was going on. We don’t know what caused this economic collapse, but it is possible that a climate change was involved. Maybe the weather got a little warmer for a while, or a little cooler.
What happened to the economy?
Whatever the reason, people went on farming their land and growing barley and lentils and making pottery, but they stopped sailing and riding around on horses and trading with each other. Maybe with all the wars that were going on it was too dangerous for traders to travel, or maybe people were too poor to buy things.
Iron tools and the Dark Age economy
But the news wasn’t all bad. A lot more people began to use iron tools instead of stone or wooden ones at this time, which is why we sometimes call this time the beginning of the Iron Age. The Dark Age economy started to pick up as iron made new inventions possible.
The alphabet takes over
But pretty much anyone could learn to read and write with the new alphabet, and soon many more business-people (men and women) were using writing to keep their accounts, to send messages to their partners, and to keep track of the laws.
Did you find out what you wanted to know about the Dark Age economy in West Asia? Let us know in the comments!
Ancient Near Eastern History and Culture, by William H. Stiebing (2002). Expensive, and hard to read, but it’s a good up to date account.