An Age of Bronze
The ancestors of the Ancient Greeks would start to shift into a period which would see the development of civilisation. The metal bronze would give its name to the period, as this new metal would come to replace more primitive materials for making tools and weapons. Its invention remains somewhat of a mystery, but this new technology would spread afar and alter trading relations. Societies that formed would become more complex, forming around power bases, while also seeing interregional trade and diplomacy become more important.
For thousands of years these societies would be remembered and celebrated by ancient poets and authors. Much of the historical detail would be shrouded in myth, with the tales seen as nothing more than stories. Though, at the end of the 19th and start of the 20th century, the civilisations that had dominated the Greek world were re-discovered and allowed some elements of the myths to be reconciled with tangible evidence.
The first to be rediscovered was that of the Mycenaeans by a German named Heinrich Schliemann, who had also uncovered the city of Troy of Homer’s Iliad. This would then lead to more Bronze Age sites of the period to be explained in a larger context. Though even with what has been uncovered from Schliemann’s discovery until now, we are still in the dark on much of the history of the Mycenaeans.
An Englishman named Arthur Evans would then go on to uncover what would become the oldest known civilisation in Europe. The Minoans, coined after the name of the mythical king Minos, were centred on the Island of Crete and would influence a large area of the Cyclades.
Here are some interesting links on bronze.