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Societies in the region laid the foundations for astronomy, mathematics and astrology.

The archetypal Bronze Age divisions of the Near East have a well-established triadic clearness of expression.

The period dates and phases below are solely applicable to the Near East and thus not applicable universally. The usual tripartite division into an Early, Middle and Late Bronze Age is not used.

The Oxus civilization–1700 BC and centered on the upper Amu Darya (Oxus). In the 14th century BC, the Hittite Kingdom was at its height, encompassing central Anatolia, southwestern Syria as far as Ugarit, and upper Mesopotamia.

In the Early Bronze Age the culture of the Kopet Dag oases and Altyndepe developed a proto-urban society. After 1180 BC, amid general turmoil in the Levant conjectured to have been associated with the sudden arrival of the Sea Peoples, the kingdom disintegrated into several independent "Neo-Hittite" city-states, some of which survived until as late as the 8th century BC.

The Akkadian and Sumerian traditions played a major role in later Assyrian and Babylonian culture, even though Babylonia (unlike the more militarily powerful Assyria) itself was founded by non-native Amorites and often ruled by other non-indigenous peoples, such as Kassites, Arameans and Chaldeans, as well as its Assyrian neighbours.

Elam was a pre-Iranic ancient civilization located to the east of Mesopotamia.

Tin must be mined (mainly as the tin ore cassiterite) and smelted separately, then added to molten copper to make bronze alloy.

The Bronze Age was a time of extensive use of metals and of developing trade networks (See Tin sources and trade in ancient times).

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.