Iron (sidêrou) is referred to in Critias 119e according to Bury’s translation: ‘they hunted after the bulls with staves and nooses but with no weapon of iron; and whatsoever bull they captured they led up to the pillar and cut its throat over the top of the pillar, raining down blood on the inscription’.
>If this reference was part of the original story told to Solon it adds further evidence that Plato’s description of Atlantis is that of a Late Bronze Age/Iron Age society. The context of this reference would appear to infer that the use of iron weapons was either normal at the time of Atlantis or just an anachronistic addition by Plato, which would have been well within the boundaries of the literary licence of that period. Alternatively, the passage might indicate that by tradition the use of iron for the killing of the bull was inappropriate.
Before man learned how to smelt iron the only source of the metal was from meteorites that were used to craft ornaments or weapons, such as the beautifully crafted knife buried with Tutankhamun. It is also reported that meteoric iron was used to fashion a Bronze Age arrowhead from a meteor that landed 3,500 years ago(d). Although the use of meteoric iron can be traced back to 3200 BC(b) in Egypt, elsewhere, the first mention of smelted iron in the Aegean and the Middle East is dated to around 1200 BC.
Number 9 of Ignatius Donnelly‘s thirteen propositions claims the Atlanteans were the first manufacturers of iron.<
Jürgen Spanuth commented that “If, as Plato maintains, the legend of Atlantis is in every respect a historically accurate and valuable report, then the events he describes must have taken place towards the end of the thirteenth century, at the time of the introduction of iron, when copper and tin were still largely used.” [017.27]
Bauval & Hancock in their Keeper of Genesis[1050.104] recount the strange tale of an iron plate removed from the Great Pyramid at Giza in1837 and believed at the time that it had been included in the structure of the Pyramid when it was built. It took over a century before it was subjected to rigorous scientific testing by Dr. M.P. Jones and Dr. Sayed El Gayer, who concluded that the item “is very ancient” and that “the metallurgical evidence supports the archaeological evidence which suggests that the plate was incorporated within the Pyramid at the time that structure was being built”, generally thought to be around 2550 BC. Their conclusions were rejected by the British Museum, presumably because their acceptance conflicted with the conventional date for the start of the Iron Age in Egypt around a millennium later. However, I note that pieces of iron were found in the Black Pyramid of Abusir, which probably dates before 2000 BC(a).