Copper Age state societies

The Chalcolithic or Copper Age is the transitional period between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age.[1] It is taken to begin around the mid-5th millennium BC, and ends with the beginning of the Bronze Age proper, in the late 4th to 3rd millennium BC, depending on the region.

Painting of a Copper Age walled settlement, Los Millares, Spain

The Chalcolithic is part of prehistory, but based on archaeological evidence, the emergence of the first state societies can be inferred, notably in the Fertile Crescent (Sumer, predynastic Egypt, Protominoan Crete), with late Neolithic societies of comparable complexity emerging in the Indus Valley (Mehrgarh) and in China.

The development of states—large-scale, populous, politically centralized, and socially stratified polities/societies governed by powerful rulers—marks one of the major milestones in the evolution of human societies. Archaeologists often distinguish between primary (or pristine) states and secondary states. Primary states evolved independently through largely internal developmental processes rather than through the influence of any other pre-existing state.

The earliest known primary states appeared in Mesopotamia c. 3700 BC,[citation needed], in Greece c. 3500 BC,[2] in Egypt c. 3300 BC,[citation needed] in the Indus Valley c. 3300 BC,[citation needed] and in China c. 1600 BC.[citation needed]

List of known politiesEdit

City period
Anau 4000 BC to 1000 BC
Anshan 4000 BC to 1000 BC
Bad-tibira 5000 BC to 2300 BC
Çatalhöyük 6700 BC to 5700 BC
Ebla 3500 BC to 1600 BC
Eridu 5400 BC to 2050 BC
Girsu 5000 to 2100 BC
Heliopolis (Lower Egypt) 3500 BC to 1st century BC
Isin 3500 to 2100 BC
Jericho Neolithic (first settlement) to 1400 BC
Kish 4000 to 2300 BC
Knossos 7000 to 1900 BC
Lagash 4000 to 2250 BC
Laish 4500 to 1350 BC
Mari 5000 to 1759 BC
Mehrgarh 5500 to 2500 BC
Nekhen (Upper Egypt) 3500 BC to Ptolemaic Dynasty
Nippur 5000 to 2450 BC
Susa 4200 to 2330 BC
Rakhigarhi 6500 BC to 1900 BC
Ugarit 6000 BC to 1190 BC
Ur 4000 to 2000 BC
Uruk 4000 to 3100 BC

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) ISBN 0-19-861263-X, p. 301: "Chalcolithic /,kælkəl'lɪθɪk/ adjective Archaeology of, relating to, or denoting a period in the 4th and 3rd millennium BCE, chiefly in the Near East and SE Europe, during which some weapons and tools were made of copper. This period was still largely Neolithic in character. Also called Eneolithic... Also called Copper Age - Origin early 20th cent.: from Greek khalkos 'copper' + lithos 'stone' + -ic".
  2. ^ "Chronology". Retrieved 2021-08-04.