The Bronze Age marked the first time humans started to work with metal. Bronze tools and weapons soon replaced earlier stone versions. Ancient Sumerians in the Middle East may have been the first people to enter the Bronze Age. Humans made many technological advances during the Bronze Age, including the first writing systems and the invention of the wheel. In the Middle East and parts of Asia, the era lasted from roughly 3300 to 1200 B.C., ending abruptly with the near-simultaneous collapse of several prominent Bronze Age civilizations.