Human prehistory is the period between the use of the first stone tools c. 3.3 million years ago by hominins and the invention of writing systems. The earliest writing systems appeared c. 5,300 years ago, but it took thousands of years for writing to be widely adopted, and it was not used in some human cultures until the 19th century or even until the present. The end of prehistory therefore came at very different dates in different places, and the term is less often used in discussing societies where prehistory ended relatively recently.

Sumer in Mesopotamia, the Indus valley civilization, and ancient Egypt were the first civilizations to develop their own scripts and to keep historical records; this took place already during the early Bronze Age. Neighboring civilizations were the first to follow. Most other civilizations reached the end of prehistory during the Iron Age. The three-age system of division of prehistory into the Stone Age, followed by the Bronze Age and Iron Age, remains in use for much of Eurasia and North Africa, but is not generally used in those parts of the world where the working of hard metals arrived abruptly with contact with Eurasian cultures, such as the Americas, Oceania, Australasia and much of Sub-Saharan Africa. These areas also, with some exceptions in Pre-Columbian civilizations in the Americas, did not develop complex writing systems before the arrival of Eurasians, and their prehistory reaches into relatively recent periods; for example 1788 is usually taken as the end of the prehistory of Australia.

The period when a culture is written about by others, but has not developed its own writing is often known as the protohistory of the culture. By definition,[1] there are no written records from human prehistory, so dating of prehistoric materials is crucial. Clear techniques for dating were not well-developed until the 19th century.[2]

This article is concerned with human prehistory, the time since behaviorally and anatomically modern humans first appeared until the beginning of recorded history. Earlier periods are also called "prehistoric"; there are separate articles for the overall history of the Earth and the history of life before humans.


Göbekli Tepe, Urfa
Massive stone pillars at Göbekli Tepe, in southeast Turkey, erected for ritual use by early Neolithic people 11,000 years ago
Caveman 6
A prehistoric man and boy
Prehistoric man
Man in wilderness
The term "prehistory" can refer to the vast span of time since the beginning of the Universe or the Earth, but more often it refers to the period since life appeared on Earth, or even more specifically to the time since human-like beings appeared.[3][4]
The date marking the end of prehistory is typically defined as the advent of the contemporary written historical record.[5][6] The date consequently varies widely from region to region depending on the date when relevant records become a useful academic resource.[7] For example, in Egypt it is generally accepted that prehistory ended around 3200 BCE, whereas in New Guinea the end of the prehistoric era is set much more recently, at around 1900 common era. In Europe the relatively well-documented classical cultures of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome had neighbouring cultures, including the Celts and to a lesser extent the Etruscans, with little or no writing, and historians must decide how much weight to give to the often highly prejudiced accounts of these "prehistoric" cultures in Greek and Roman literature.
Time periods
In dividing up human prehistory in Eurasia, historians typically use the three-age system, whereas scholars of pre-human time periods typically use the well-defined geologic record and its internationally defined stratum base within the geologic time scale. The three-age system is the periodization of human prehistory into three consecutive time periods, named for their respective predominant tool-making technologies:

History of the term

The notion of "prehistory" began to surface during the Enlightenment in the work of antiquarians who used the word 'primitive' to describe societies that existed before written records.[9] The first use of the word prehistory in English, however, occurred in the Foreign Quarterly Review in 1836.[10]

The use of the geologic time scale for pre-human time periods, and of the three-age system for human prehistory, is a system that emerged during the late nineteenth century in the work of British, German and Scandinavian archeologists, antiquarians and anthropologists.[8]

Means of research

The main source for prehistory is archaeology, but some scholars are beginning to make more use of evidence from the natural and social sciences.[11][12][13] This view has been articulated by advocates of deep history.

The primary researchers into human prehistory are archaeologists and physical anthropologists who use excavation, geologic and geographic surveys, and other scientific analysis to reveal and interpret the nature and behavior of pre-literate and non-literate peoples.[3] Human population geneticists and historical linguists are also providing valuable insight for these questions.[4] Cultural anthropologists help provide context for societal interactions, by which objects of human origin pass among people, allowing an analysis of any article that arises in a human prehistoric context.[4] Therefore, data about prehistory is provided by a wide variety of natural and social sciences, such as paleontology, biology, archaeology, palynology, geology, archaeoastronomy, comparative linguistics, anthropology, molecular genetics and many others.

Human prehistory differs from history not only in terms of its chronology but in the way it deals with the activities of archaeological cultures rather than named nations or individuals. Restricted to material processes, remains and artifacts rather than written records, prehistory is anonymous. Because of this, reference terms that prehistorians use, such as Neanderthal or Iron Age are modern labels with definitions sometimes subject to debate.

Stone Age

The concept of a "Stone Age" is found useful in the archaeology of most of the world, though in the archaeology of the Americas it is called by different names and begins with a Lithic stage, or sometimes Paleo-Indian. The sub-divisions described below are used for Eurasia, and not consistently across the whole area.


Map of early human migrations, according to mitochondrial population genetics. Numbers are millennia before the present (accuracy disputed).

"Palaeolithic" means "Old Stone Age", and begins with the first use of stone tools. The Paleolithic is the earliest period of the Stone Age.

The early part of the Palaeolithic is called the Lower Palaeolithic, which predates Homo sapiens, beginning with Homo habilis (and related species) and with the earliest stone tools, dated to around 2.5 million years ago.[14] Evidence of control of fire by early humans during the Lower Palaeolithic Era is uncertain and has at best limited scholarly support. The most widely accepted claim is that H. erectus or H. ergaster made fires between 790,000 and 690,000 BP (before the present period) in a site at Bnot Ya'akov Bridge, Israel. The use of fire enabled early humans to cook food, provide warmth, and have a light source at night.

Early Homo sapiens originated some 200,000 years ago, ushering in the Middle Palaeolithic. Anatomic changes indicating modern language capacity also arise during the Middle Palaeolithic.[15] During the Middle Palaeolithic Era, there is the first definitive evidence of human use of fire. Sites in Zambia have charred bone and wood that have been dated to 61,000 BP. The systematic burial of the dead, music, early art, and the use of increasingly sophisticated multi-part tools are highlights of the Middle Paleolithic.

Throughout the Palaeolithic, humans generally lived as nomadic hunter-gatherers. Hunter-gatherer societies tended to be very small and egalitarian,[16] though hunter-gatherer societies with abundant resources or advanced food-storage techniques sometimes developed sedentary lifestyles with complex social structures such as chiefdoms,[17] and social stratification. Long-distance contacts may have been established, as in the case of Indigenous Australian "highways" known as songlines.[18]


The Mesolithic, or Middle Stone Age (from the Greek mesos, 'middle', and lithos, 'stone'), was a period in the development of human technology between the Palaeolithic and Neolithic periods of the Stone Age.

The Mesolithic period began at the end of the Pleistocene epoch, some 10,000 BP, and ended with the introduction of agriculture, the date of which varied by geographic region. In some areas, such as the Near East, agriculture was already underway by the end of the Pleistocene, and there the Mesolithic is short and poorly defined. In areas with limited glacial impact, the term "Epipalaeolithic" is sometimes preferred.

Regions that experienced greater environmental effects as the last ice age ended have a much more evident Mesolithic era, lasting millennia. In Northern Europe, societies were able to live well on rich food supplies from the marshlands fostered by the warmer climate. Such conditions produced distinctive human behaviours that are preserved in the material record, such as the Maglemosian and Azilian cultures. These conditions also delayed the coming of the Neolithic until as late as 4000 BCE (6,000 BP) in northern Europe.

Remains from this period are few and far between, often limited to middens. In forested areas, the first signs of deforestation have been found, although this would only begin in earnest during the Neolithic, when more space was needed for agriculture.

The Mesolithic is characterized in most areas by small composite flint tools: microliths and microburins. Fishing tackle, stone adzes and wooden objects, e.g. canoes and bows, have been found at some sites. These technologies first occur in Africa, associated with the Azilian cultures, before spreading to Europe through the Ibero-Maurusian culture of Northern Africa and the Kebaran culture of the Levant. However, independent discovery is not ruled out.


Malta Hagar Qim BW 2011-10-04 16-39-32
Entrance to the Ġgantija phase temple complex of Ħaġar Qim, Malta, 3900 BCE.[19]
Néolithique 0001
An array of Neolithic artifacts, including bracelets, axe heads, chisels, and polishing tools. Neolithic stone artifacts are by definition polished and, except for specialty items, not chipped.

"Neolithic" means "New Stone Age." Although there were several species of human beings during the Paleolithic, by the Neolithic only Homo sapiens sapiens remained.[20] (Homo floresiensis may have survived right up to the very dawn of the Neolithic, about 12,200 years ago.)[21] This was a period of primitive technological and social development. It began about 10,200 BCE in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world[22] and ended between 4,500 and 2,000 BCE. The Neolithic is a progression of behavioral and cultural characteristics and changes, including the use of wild and domestic crops and of domesticated animals.

Early Neolithic farming was limited to a narrow range of plants, both wild and domesticated, which included einkorn wheat, millet and spelt, and the keeping of dogs, sheep and goats. By about 6,900–6,400 BCE, it included domesticated cattle and pigs, the establishment of permanently or seasonally inhabited settlements, and the use of pottery. The Neolithic period saw the development of early villages, agriculture, animal domestication, tools and the onset of the earliest recorded incidents of warfare.[23] The Neolithic era commenced with the beginning of farming, which produced the "Neolithic Revolution". It ended when metal tools became widespread (in the Copper Age or Bronze Age; or, in some geographical regions, in the Iron Age).The term Neolithic is commonly used in the Old World, as its application to cultures in the Americas and Oceania that did not fully develop metal-working technology raises problems.

Luni sul Mignone monumental building
The monumental building at Luni sul Mignone in Blera, Italy, 3500 BCE.

Settlements became more permanent with some having circular houses with single rooms made of mudbrick. Settlements might have a surrounding stone wall to keep domesticated animals in and protect the inhabitants from other tribes. Later settlements have rectangular mud-brick houses where the family lived together in single or multiple rooms. Burial findings suggest an ancestor cult where people preserved skulls of the dead. The Vinča culture may have created the earliest system of writing.[24] The megalithic temple complexes of Ġgantija are notable for their gigantic structures. Although some late Eurasian Neolithic societies formed complex stratified chiefdoms or even states, states evolved in Eurasia only with the rise of metallurgy, and most Neolithic societies on the whole were relatively simple and egalitarian.[25] Most clothing appears to have been made of animal skins, as indicated by finds of large numbers of bone and antler pins which are ideal for fastening leather. Wool cloth and linen might have become available during the later Neolithic,[26][27] as suggested by finds of perforated stones that (depending on size) may have served as spindle whorls or loom weights.[28][29][30]


Los Millares recreacion cuadro
Artist's impression of a Copper Age walled city, Los Millares, Iberia

In Old World archaeology, the "Chalcolithic", "Eneolithic" or "Copper Age" refers to a transitional period where early copper metallurgy appeared alongside the widespread use of stone tools. During this period, some weapons and tools were made of copper. This period was still largely Neolithic in character. It is a phase of the Bronze Age before it was discovered that adding tin to copper formed the harder bronze. The Copper Age was originally defined as a transition between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age. However, because it is characterized by the use of metals, the Copper Age is considered a part of the Bronze Age rather than the Stone Age.

Chalcolithic copper mine in Timna Valley, Negev Desert, Israel

An archaeological site in Serbia contains the oldest securely dated evidence of copper making at high temperature, from 7,500 years ago. The find in June 2010 extends the known record of copper smelting by about 800 years, and suggests that copper smelting may have been invented in separate parts of Asia and Europe at that time rather than spreading from a single source.[31] The emergence of metallurgy may have occurred first in the Fertile Crescent, where it gave rise to the Bronze Age in the 4th millennium BCE (the traditional view), though finds from the Vinča culture in Europe have now been securely dated to slightly earlier than those of the Fertile Crescent. Timna Valley contains evidence of copper mining 9,000 to 7,000 years ago. The process of transition from Neolithic to Chalcolithic in the Middle East is characterized in archaeological stone tool assemblages by a decline in high quality raw material procurement and use. North Africa and the Nile Valley imported its iron technology from the Near East and followed the Near Eastern course of Bronze Age and Iron Age development. However the Iron Age and Bronze Age occurred simultaneously in much of Africa.

Bronze Age

Maler der Grabkammer des Sennudem 001
Ox-drawn plow, Egypt, c. 1200 BCE.

The Bronze Age is the earliest period in which some civilizations have reached the end of prehistory, by introducing written records. The Bronze Age or parts thereof are thus considered to be part of prehistory only for the regions and civilizations who adopted or developed a system of keeping written records during later periods. The invention of writing coincides in some areas with the early beginnings of the Bronze Age. Soon after the appearance of writing, people started creating texts including written accounts of events and records of administrative matters.

The term Bronze Age refers to a period in human cultural development when the most advanced metalworking (at least in systematic and widespread use) included techniques for smelting copper and tin from naturally occurring outcroppings of ores, and then combining them to cast bronze. These naturally occurring ores typically included arsenic as a common impurity. Copper/tin ores are rare, as reflected in the fact that there were no tin bronzes in Western Asia before 3000 BCE. The Bronze Age forms part of the three-age system for prehistoric societies. In this system, it follows the Neolithic in some areas of the world.

While copper is a common ore, deposits of tin are rare in the Old World, and often had to be traded or carried considerable distances from the few mines, stimulating the creation of extensive trading routes. In many areas as far apart as China and England, the valuable new material was used for weapons but for a long time apparently not available for agricultural tools. Much of it seems to have been hoarded by social elites, and sometimes deposited in extravagant quantities, from Chinese ritual bronzes and Indian copper hoards to European hoards of unused axe-heads.

By the end of the Bronze Age large states, which are often called empires, had arisen in Egypt, China, Anatolia (the Hittites) and Mesopotamia, all of them literate.

Iron Age

The Iron Age is not part of prehistory for all civilizations who had introduced written records during the Bronze Age. Most remaining civilizations did so during the Iron Age, often through conquest by the empires, which continued to expand during this period. For example, in most of Europe conquest by the Roman Empire means that the term Iron Age is replaced by "Roman", "Gallo-Roman" and similar terms after the conquest.

In archaeology, the Iron Age refers to the advent of ferrous metallurgy. The adoption of iron coincided with other changes in some past cultures, often including more sophisticated agricultural practices, religious beliefs and artistic styles, which makes the archaeological Iron Age coincide with the "Axial Age" in the history of philosophy. Although iron ore is common, the metalworking techniques necessary to use iron are very different from those needed for the metal used earlier, and iron was slow-spreading and for long mainly used for weapons, while bronze remained typical for tools, as well as art.


All dates are approximate and conjectural, obtained through research in the fields of anthropology, archaeology, genetics, geology, or linguistics. They are all subject to revision due to new discoveries or improved calculations. BP stands for "Before Present (1950)." BCE stands for Before Common Era".

Lower Paleolithic
Middle Paleolithic
Upper Paleolithic
  • c. 45,000 BP / 43,000 BCE – Beginnings of Châtelperronian culture in France.
  • c. 40,000 BP / 38,000 BCE – First human settlement in the southern half of the Australian mainland, by indigenous Australians (including the future sites of Sydney,[37][38] Perth,[39] and Melbourne.[40])
  • c. 32,000 BP / 30,000 BCE – Beginnings of Aurignacian culture, exemplified by the cave paintings ("parietal art") of Chauvet Cave in France.
  • c. 30,500 BP / 28,500 BCE – New Guinea is populated by colonists from Asia or Australia.[41]
  • c. 30,000 BP / 28,000 BCE – A herd of reindeer is slaughtered and butchered by humans in the Vezere Valley in what is today France.[42]
  • c. 28,000–20,000 BP – Gravettian period in Europe. Harpoons, needles, and saws invented.
  • c. 26,500 BP – Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Subsequently, the ice melts and the glaciers retreat again (Late Glacial Maximum). During this latter period human beings return to Western Europe (see Magdalenian culture) and enter North America from Eastern Siberia for the first time (see Paleo-Indians, pre-Clovis culture and Settlement of the Americas).
  • c. 26,000 BP / 24,000 BCE – People around the world use fibers to make baby-carriers, clothes, bags, baskets, and nets.[43]
  • c. 25,000 BP / 23,000 BCE – A settlement consisting of huts built of rocks and mammoth bones is founded near what is now Dolní Věstonice in Moravia in the Czech Republic. This is the oldest human permanent settlement that has been found by archaeologists.[44]
  • c. 23,000 BP / 21,000 BCE – Small-scale trial cultivation of plants in Ohalo II, a hunter-gatherers' sedentary camp on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, Israel.[45]
  • c. 16,000 BP / 14,000 BCE – Wisent sculpted in clay deep inside the cave now known as Le Tuc d'Audoubert in the French Pyrenees near what is now the border of Spain.[46]
  • c. 14,800 BP / 12,800 BCE – The Humid Period begins in North Africa. The region that would later become the Sahara is wet and fertile, and the Aquifers are full.[47]
  • c. 9,400–9,200 BCE – Figs of a parthenocarpic (and therefore sterile) type are cultivated in the early Neolithic village Gilgal I (in the Jordan Valley, 13 km north of Jericho). The find predates the domestication of wheat, barley, and legumes, and may thus be the first known instance of agriculture.[48]
  • c. 9,000 BCE – Circles of T-shaped stone pillars erected at Göbekli Tepe in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey during pre-pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) period. As yet unexcavated structures at the site are thought to date back to the epipaleolithic.
  • c. 8,000 BC / 7000 BCE – In northern Mesopotamia, now northern Iraq, cultivation of barley and wheat begins. At first they are used for beer, gruel, and soup, eventually for bread.[49] In early agriculture at this time the planting stick is used, but it is replaced by a primitive plow in subsequent centuries.[50] Around this time, a round stone tower, now preserved at about 8.5 meters high and 8.5 meters in diameter is built in Jericho.[51]
  • c. 3,700 BCE – Cuneiform writing appears in Sumer, and records begin to be kept. According to the majority of specialists, the first Mesopotamian writing was a tool that had little connection to the spoken language.[52]
  • c. 3,300 BCE – Approximate date of death of "Ötzi the Iceman", found preserved in ice in the Ötztal Alps in 1991. A copper-bladed axe, which is a characteristic technology of this era, was found with the corpse.
  • c. 3,000 BCE – Stonehenge construction begins. In its first version, it consisted of a circular ditch and bank, with 56 wooden posts.[53]

By region

Old World
New World

See also


  1. ^ "Dictionary Entry". Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  2. ^ Graslund, Bo. 1987. The birth of prehistoric chronology. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press.
  3. ^ a b Fagan, Brian. 2007. World Prehistory: A brief introduction New York: Prentice-Hall, Seventh Edition, Chapter One
  4. ^ a b c Renfrew, Colin. 2008. Prehistory: The Making of the Human Mind. New York: Modern Library
  5. ^ Fagan, Brian (2017). World prehistory: a brief introduction (Ninth ed.). London: Routledge. p. 8. ISBN 978-1-317-27910-5. OCLC 958480847.
  6. ^ Forsythe, Gary (2005). A critical history of early Rome : from prehistory to the first Punic War. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-520-94029-1. OCLC 70728478.
  7. ^ Connah, Graham (2007-05-11). "Historical Archaeology in Africa: An Appropriate Concept?". African Archaeological Review. 24 (1–2): 35–40. doi:10.1007/s10437-007-9014-9. ISSN 0263-0338.
  8. ^ a b Matthew Daniel Eddy, ed. (2011). Prehistoric Minds: Human Origins as a Cultural Artefact. Royal Society of London.
  9. ^ Eddy, Matthew Daniel (2011). "The Line of Reason: Hugh Blair, Spatiality and the Progressive Structure of Language". Notes and Records of the Royal Society. 65: 9–24. doi:10.1098/rsnr.2010.0098.
  10. ^ Eddy, Matthew Daniel (2011). "The Prehistoric Mind as a Historical Artefact". Notes and Records of the Royal Society. 65: 1–8. doi:10.1098/rsnr.2010.0097.
  11. ^ The Prehistory of Iberia: Debating Early Social Stratification and the State edited by María Cruz Berrocal, Leonardo García Sanjuán, Antonio Gilman. Pg 36.
  12. ^ Historical Archaeology: Back from the Edge. Edited by Pedro Paulo A. Funari, Martin Hall, Sian Jones. p. 8.
  13. ^ Through the Ages in Palestinian Archaeology: An Introductory Handbook. By Walter E. Ras. p. 49.
  14. ^ The Essence of Anthropology 3rd ed. By William A. Haviland, Harald E. L. Prins, Dana Walrath, Bunny McBrid. Pg 83.
  15. ^ Race and Human Evolution. By Milford H. Wolpoff. p. 348.
  16. ^ Vanishing Voices : The Extinction of the World's Languages. By Daniel Nettle, Suzanne Romaine Merton Professor of English Language University of Oxford. pp. 102–103.
  17. ^ Earle, Timothy (1989). "Chiefdoms". Current Anthropology. 30 (1): 84–88. doi:10.1086/203717. JSTOR 2743311.
  18. ^ "Songlines: the Indigenous memory code". Radio National. 2016-07-08. Retrieved 2019-02-18.
  19. ^ "Hagarqim « Heritage Malta". Archived from the original on 2009-02-03. Retrieved 2009-02-20.
  20. ^ "World Museum of Man: Neolithic / Chalcolithic Period". World Museum of Man. Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  21. ^ Lyras; et al. (2008). "The origin of Homo floresiensis and its relation to evolutionary processes under isolation". Anthropological Science.
  22. ^ Figure 3.3 from First Farmers: The Origins of Agricultural Societies by Peter Bellwood, 2004
  23. ^ The Perfect Gift: Prehistoric Massacres. The twin vices of women and cattle in prehistoric Europe Archived 2008-06-11 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ Winn, Shan (1981). Pre-writing in Southeastern Europe: The Sign System of the Vinča Culture ca. 4000 BC. Calgary: Western Publishers.
  25. ^ Leonard D. Katz Rigby; S. Stephen Henry Rigby (2000). Evolutionary Origins of Morality: Cross-disciplinary Perspectives. United kingdom: Imprint Academic. p. 158. ISBN 978-0-7190-5612-3.
  26. ^ Harris, Susanna (2009). "Smooth and Cool, or Warm and Soft: Investigatingthe Properties of Cloth in Prehistory". North European Symposium for Archaeological Textiles X. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  27. ^ "Aspects of Life During the Neolithic Period" (PDF). Teachers' Curriculum Institute. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 May 2016. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  28. ^ Gibbs, Kevin T. (2006). "Pierced clay disks and Late Neolithic textile production". Proceedings of the 5th International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  29. ^ Green, Jean M (1993). "Unraveling the Enigma of the Bi: The Spindle Whorl as the Model of the Ritual Disk". Asian Perspectives. 32 (1): 105–124. Archived from the original on 2015-02-11.
  30. ^ Cook, M (2007). "The clay loom weight, in: Early Neolithic ritual activity, Bronze Age occupation and medieval activity at Pitlethie Road, Leuchars, Fife". Tayside and Fife Archaeological Journal. 13: 1–23.
  31. ^ "Serbian site may have hosted first copper makers". ScienceNews. July 17, 2010.
  32. ^ Shea, J.J. 2003. Neanderthals, competition and the origin of modern human behaviour in the Levant. Evolutionary Anthropology 12: 173–187.
  33. ^ Toups, M.A.; Kitchen, A.; Light, J.E.; Reed, D. L. (September 2010). "Origin of Clothing Lice Indicates Early Clothing Use by Anatomically Modern Humans in Africa". Molecular Biology and Evolution. 28 (1): 29–32. doi:10.1093/molbev/msq234. PMC 3002236. PMID 20823373.
  34. ^ "Mount Toba Eruption – Ancient Humans Unscathed, Study Claims". Retrieved 2008-04-20.
  35. ^ Zimmer, Carl (September 21, 2016). "How We Got Here: DNA Points to a Single Migration From Africa". New York Times. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  36. ^ a b This is indicated by the M130 marker in the Y chromosome. "Traces of a Distant Past", by Gary Stix, Scientific American, July 2008, pp. 56–63.
  37. ^ Macey, Richard (2007). "Settlers' history rewritten: go back 30,000 years". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  38. ^ "Aboriginal people and place". Sydney Barani. 2013. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  39. ^ Sandra Bowdler. "The Pleistocene Pacific". Published in 'Human settlement', in D. Denoon (ed) The Cambridge History of the Pacific Islanders. pp. 41–50. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. University of Western Australia. Archived from the original on 16 February 2008. Retrieved 26 February 2008.
  40. ^ Gary Presland, The First Residents of Melbourne's Western Region, (revised edition), Harriland Press, 1997. ISBN 0-646-33150-7. Presland says on p. 1: "There is some evidence to show that people were living in the Maribyrnong River valley, near present day Keilor, about 40,000 years ago."
  41. ^ James Trager, The People's Chronology, 1994, ISBN 0-8050-3134-0
  42. ^ Gene S. Stuart, "Ice Age Hunters: Artists in Hidden Cages." In Mysteries of the Ancient World, a publication of the National Geographic Society, 1979. pp. 11–18.
  43. ^ "Venus of Willendorf". Khan Academy. Retrieved 2019-02-18.
  44. ^ Stuart, Gene S. (1979). "Ice Age Hunters: Artists in Hidden Cages". Mysteries of the Ancient World. National Geographic Society. p. 19.
  45. ^ The Origin of Cultivation and Proto-Weeds, Long Before Neolithic Farming Ainit Snir et al., PLOS July 22, 2015 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0131422
  46. ^ Stuart, Gene S. (1979). "Ice Age Hunters: Artists in Hidden Cages". Mysteries of the Ancient World. National Geographic Society. pp. 8–10.
  47. ^ "Shift from Savannah to Sahara was Gradual", by Kenneth Chang, New York Times, May 9, 2008.
  48. ^ Kislev et al. (2006a, b), Lev-Yadun et al. (2006)
  49. ^ Kiple, Kenneth F. and Ornelas, Kriemhild Coneè, eds., The Cambridge World History of Food, Cambridge University Press, 2000, p. 83
  50. ^ "No-Till: The Quiet Revolution", by David Huggins and John Reganold, Scientific American, July 2008, pp. 70–77.
  51. ^ Fagan, Brian M, ed. The Oxford Companion to Archaeology, Oxford University Press, Oxford 1996 ISBN 978-0-521-40216-3 p 363
  52. ^ Glassner, Jean-Jacques. The Invention of Cuneiform: Writing In Sumer. Trans.Zainab, Bahrani. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003. Ebook.
  53. ^ Caroline Alexander, "Stonehenge", National Geographic, June 2008.

External links

Central Africa

Central Africa is the core region of the African continent which includes Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda. Middle Africa (as used by the United Nations when categorizing geographic subregions) is an analogous term that includes Angola, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, the Republic of the Congo, and São Tomé and Príncipe. All of the states in the UN subregion of Middle Africa, plus those otherwise commonly reckoned in Central Africa (11 states in total), constitute the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). Since its independence in 2011, South Sudan has also been commonly included in the region.

East Africa

East Africa or Eastern Africa is the eastern region of the African continent, variably defined by geography. In the United Nations Statistics Division scheme of geographic regions, 20 territories make up Eastern Africa:

Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan are members of the East African Community (EAC). The first five are also included in the African Great Lakes region. Burundi and Rwanda are at times also considered to be part of Central Africa.

Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia – collectively known as the Horn of Africa. The area is the easternmost projection of the African continent, and is sometimes considered a separate region from East Africa.

Comoros, Mauritius and Seychelles – small island nations in the Indian Ocean.

Réunion and Mayotte – French overseas territories also in the Indian Ocean.

Mozambique and Madagascar – often considered part of Southern Africa, on the eastern side of the sub-continent. Madagascar has close cultural ties to Southeast Asia and the islands of the Indian Ocean.

Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe – often also included in Southern Africa, and formerly constituted the Central African Federation (also known historically as the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland).

Sudan and South Sudan (newly independent from Sudan) – collectively part of the Nile Valley. Situated in the northeastern portion of the continent, the Sudans are often included in Northern Africa. Also members of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) free trade area.Due to colonial territories of the British East Africa Protectorate and German East Africa, the term East Africa is often (especially in the English language) used to specifically refer to the area now comprising the three countries of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. However, this has never been the convention in many other languages, where the term generally had a wider, strictly geographic context and therefore typically included Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia.

Geologic time scale

The geologic time scale (GTS) is a system of chronological dating that relates geological strata (stratigraphy) to time. It is used by geologists, paleontologists, and other Earth scientists to describe the timing and relationships of events that have occurred during Earth's history. The table of geologic time spans, presented here, agree with the nomenclature, dates and standard color codes set forth by the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS).

History of Djibouti

Djibouti is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Somalia to the southeast, Eritrea and the Red Sea to the north and northeast, Ethiopia to the west and south, and the Gulf of Aden to the east.

In antiquity, the territory was part of the Land of Punt. The Djibouti area, along with other localities in the Horn region, was later the seat of the medieval Adal and Ifat Sultanates. In the late 19th century, the colony of French Somaliland was established following treaties signed by the ruling Somali and Afar Sultans with the French. It was subsequently renamed to the French Territory of the Afars and the Issas in 1967. A decade later, the Djiboutian people voted for independence, officially marking the establishment of the Republic of Djibouti.

History of Turkey

See History of the Republic of Turkey for the history of the modern state.The history of Turkey, understood as the history of the region now forming the territory of the Republic of Turkey, includes the history of both Anatolia (the Asian part of Turkey) and Eastern Thrace (the European part of Turkey).

For times predating the Ottoman period, a distinction must be made between the history of the Turkish peoples, and the history of the territories now forming the Republic of Turkey, essentially the histories of ancient Anatolia and Thrace.The name Turkey is derived from Middle Latin Turchia, i.e. the "land of the Turks", historically referring to an entirely different territory of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, which fell under the control of Turkic peoples in the early medieval period.

From the time when parts of what is now Turkey was conquered by Turks, the history of Turkey spans the medieval history of the Seljuk Empire, the medieval to modern history of the Ottoman Empire, and the history of the Republic of Turkey since the 1920s.

History of the Czech lands

The history of what are now known as the Czech lands (Czech: České země) is very diverse. These lands have changed hands many times, and have been known by a variety of different names. Up until the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy after the First World War, the lands were known as the lands of the Bohemian Crown and formed a constituent state of that empire: the Kingdom of Bohemia (in Czech: "Království české", the word "Bohemia" is a Latin term for Čechy).

Prior to the Battle of Mohács in 1526, the Kingdom was an independent state within the Holy Roman Empire. After that battle the Lands of the Bohemian Crown were incorporated into the Austrian Empire, and later into the aforementioned Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.

They came to be known as the Czech lands after the fall of the Empire, and the rise of the First Czechoslovak Republic, when the term Bohemia (Czech: Čechy), which also refers to the core region of the former kingdom, was no longer deemed acceptable by those in Moravia and Czech Silesia (historically, other two core lands of the Bohemian Crown). These three integral Czech lands (Bohemia, Moravia and Czech Silesia) now form the boundaries of the Czech Republic.

Homo luzonensis

Homo luzonensis is an extinct species of primitive human in the genus Homo. In 2007, a third metatarsal bone (MT3) was discovered in Callao Cave, Luzon, Philippines by Philip J. Piper and initially identified as modern human by Florent Détroit. This find was dated using uranium series ablation to an age of 66,700 ± 1000 years before present, while associated faunal remains and a hominin tooth found in 2011 delivered dates of around 50,000 years ago.In 2019, Florent Détroit et al. described the subsequent discovery of "twelve additional hominin elements that represent at least three individuals that were found in the same stratigraphic layer of Callao Cave as the previously discovered metatarsal" and identified the fossils as belonging to a newly discovered species, Homo luzonensis, on the basis of differences from previously identified species in the genus Homo. This included H. floresiensis and H. sapiens. However, some scientists think additional evidence is required to confirm the fossils as a new species, rather than a locally adapted population of other Homo populations, such as H. erectus.


The jaguar (Panthera onca) is a wild cat species and the only extant member of the genus Panthera native to the Americas. The jaguar's present range extends from Southwestern United States and Mexico in North America, across much of Central America, and south to Paraguay and northern Argentina in South America. Though there are single cats now living within the Western United States, the species has largely been extirpated from the United States since the early 20th century. It is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List; and its numbers are declining. Threats include loss and fragmentation of habitat.

Overall, the jaguar is the largest native cat species of the New World and the third largest in the world. This spotted cat closely resembles the leopard, but is usually larger and sturdier. It ranges across a variety of forested and open terrains, but its preferred habitat is tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forest, swamps and wooded regions. The jaguar enjoys swimming and is largely a solitary, opportunistic, stalk-and-ambush predator at the top of the food chain. As a keystone species it plays an important role in stabilizing ecosystems and regulating prey populations.

While international trade in jaguars or their body parts is prohibited, the cat is still frequently killed, particularly in conflicts with ranchers and farmers in South America. Although reduced, its range remains large. Given its historical distribution, the jaguar has featured prominently in the mythology of numerous indigenous American cultures, including those of the Maya and Aztec.


Micronesia ((UK: , US: ); from Greek: μικρός mikrós "small" and Greek: νῆσος nêsos "island") is a subregion of Oceania, composed of thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It has a shared cultural history with two other island regions: Polynesia to the east and Melanesia to the south.

The region has a tropical marine climate and is part of the Oceania ecozone. There are four main archipelagos along with numerous outlying islands.

Micronesia is divided politically among several sovereign countries. One of these is the Federated States of Micronesia, which is often called "Micronesia" for short and is not to be confused with the overall region. The Micronesia region encompasses five sovereign, independent nations—the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands and Nauru—as well as three U.S. territories in the northern part: Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and Wake Island.

Micronesia began to be settled several millennia ago, although there are competing theories about the origin and arrival of the first settlers. The earliest known contact with Europeans occurred in 1521, when Spain reached the Marianas. The coinage of the term "Micronesia" is usually attributed to Jules Dumont d'Urville's usage in 1832; however, Domeny de Rienzi had used the term a year previously.

Prehistoric Europe

Prehistoric Europe is the designation for the period of human presence in Europe before the start of recorded history, beginning in the Lower Paleolithic. As history progresses, considerable regional irregularities of cultural development emerge and increase. The region of the eastern Mediterranean is, due to its geographic proximity, greatly influenced and inspired by the classical Middle Eastern civilizations, and adopts and develops the earliest systems of communal organization and writing. The Histories of Herodotus (from around 440 BC) is the oldest known European text that seeks to systematically record traditions, public affairs and notable events. In contrast, the European regions furthest away from the ancient centers of civilization tended to be the slowest, regarding acculturation. In Northern and Eastern Europe in particular, writing and systematic recording was only introduced in the context of Christianization, after 1000 CE.

Prehistoric Scotland

Archaeology and geology continue to reveal the secrets of prehistoric Scotland, uncovering a complex past before the Romans brought Scotland into the scope of recorded history. Successive human cultures tended to be spread across Europe or further afield, but focusing on this particular geographical area sheds light on the origin of the widespread remains and monuments in Scotland, and on the background to the history of Scotland.

The extent of open countryside untouched by intensive farming, together with past availability of stone rather than timber, has given Scotland a wealth of accessible sites where the ancient past can be seen.

Prehistoric numerals

Counting in prehistory was first assisted by using body parts, primarily the fingers.

This is reflected in the etymology of certain number names, such as in the names of ten and hundred in the Proto-Indo-European numerals, both containing the root *dḱ also seen in the word for "finger" (Latin digitus, cognate to English toe).

Early systems of counting using tally marks appear in the Upper Paleolithic.

The first more complex systems develop in the Ancient Near East together with the development of early writing out of proto-writing systems.

Prehistoric religion

Prehistoric religions are the religious beliefs and practices of prehistoric peoples. The term may cover Paleolithic religion, Mesolithic religion, Neolithic religion and Bronze Age religions.

Prehistory and protohistory of Poland

The prehistory and protohistory of Poland can be traced from the first appearance of Homo species on the territory of modern-day Poland, to the establishment of the Polish state in the 10th century AD, a span of roughly 500,000 years.

The area of present-day Poland went through the stages of socio-technical development known as the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages after experiencing the climatic shifts of the glacial periods. The best known archeological discovery from the prehistoric period is the Lusatian-culture Biskupin fortified settlement. As ancient civilizations began to appear in southern and western Europe, the cultures of the area of present-day Poland were influenced by them to various degrees.

Among the peoples that inhabited various parts of Poland up to the Iron Age stage of development were Scythian, Celtic, Germanic, and Baltic tribes. In the Early Middle Ages, the area came to be dominated by Slavic tribes and finally became home to a number of West Slavic Polish tribes that formed small states in the region beginning in the 8th century.

Prehistory of Australia

The prehistory of Australia is the period between the first human habitation of the Australian continent and the colonization of Australia in 1788, which marks the start of consistent documentation of Australia. This period is estimated to have lasted between 40,000 and 60,000 years, or longer.

This era is referred as prehistory rather than history because there was no consistent written documentation of human events before 1788. As no metal technology was developed, the whole period falls into the Stone Age. Australia, in contrast to New Guinea, has generally been held not to have had a Neolithic period, with a hunter-gatherer lifestyle continuing until the arrival of Europeans. This view can be challenged in terms of the definition of agriculture, but "Neolithic" remains a rarely-used and not very useful concept in discussing Australian prehistory.

Prehistory of Southeastern Europe

The prehistory of Southeastern Europe, defined roughly as the territory of the wider Balkan peninsula (including the territories of the modern countries of Albania, Croatia, Kosovo, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece, Bosnia, Romania, Bulgaria, and European Turkey) covers the period from the Upper Paleolithic, beginning with the presence of Homo sapiens in the area some 44,000 years ago, until the appearance of the first written records in Classical Antiquity, in Greece as early as the 8th century BC.

Human prehistory in Southeastern Europe is conventionally divided into smaller periods, such as Upper Paleolithic, Holocene Mesolithic/Epipaleolithic, Neolithic Revolution, expansion of Proto-Indo-Europeans, and Protohistory. The changes between these are gradual. For example, depending on interpretation, protohistory might or might not include Bronze Age Greece (2800–1200 BC), Minoan, Mycenaean, Thracian and Venetic cultures. By one interpretation of the historiography criterion, Southeastern Europe enters protohistory only with Homer (See also Historicity of the Iliad, and Geography of the Odyssey). At any rate, the period ends before Herodotus in the 5th century BC.

Prehistory to 1st century BC in Canada

Events from the BCs in Canada.

Rhea (bird)

The rheas () are large ratites (flightless birds without a keel on their sternum bone) in the order Rheiformes, native to South America, distantly related to the ostrich and emu. Most taxonomic authorities recognize two extant species: the greater or American rhea (Rhea americana) and the lesser or Darwin's rhea (Rhea pennata). The IUCN lists the puna rhea (Rhea tarapacensis) as a separate species. The IUCN currently rates the greater and puna rheas as near-threatened in their native ranges, while Darwin's rhea is of least concern. In addition, a feral population of the greater rhea in Germany appears to be growing.

Timeline of human prehistory

This timeline of human prehistory comprises the time from the first appearance of Homo sapiens in Africa 300,000 years ago to the invention of writing and the beginning of historiography, after 5,000 years ago.

It thus covers the time from the Middle Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) to the very beginnings of the world history.

All dates are approximate subject to revision based on new discoveries or analyses.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.