The discovery and use of iron to make tools and weapons was one of the most important advances in civilization. Some historians consider the use of iron to be one of the distinguishing characteristics separating civilization from barbarism because the new tools were less brittle, could hold better edges, and held edges for a longer time without resharpening.Most importantly, iron ore was much easier to locate than copper and tin, making iron tools cheaper and more readily available. By 1000 B.C., iron tools were being made that were as good as the best ones of bronze; by 500 B.C., iron had largely supplanted bronze from Europe and Asia. The expanse and scarcity of bronze had restricted its use to the elite and wealthy. Iron tools and weapons were available to nearly everyone.