Prehistory, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.

Prehistory is the period of human history that conventionally precedes writing. Prehistory is conventionally subdivided, at first approximation, at different times:

Stone Age: lithic, wood, bone, skin.

Paleolithic, a very long period, compared to other periodization, over 2 million years; beginning and evolution of the modification of stone tools.

Mesolithic, a shorter period, the use of microlithic techniques and the beginning of animal domestication.


Neolithic, honing of artifacts, use of pottery, progressive abandonment of nomadism, widespread agricultural practices.


Copper Age, which is superimposed over the last phases of the Neolithic, coexisting the use of metal with the lithic industry.


Bronze Age

The age of iron, flowing abundantly in history in the narrow sense.

Man is part of the great group of monkeys called monkeys of the old world, separated from the monkeys of the new world at least 40 million years ago. Five to seven million years ago, from paleontological and biomolecular data, the chimpanzee divergence from chimpanzees to us is more similar. The group from which our species will emerge is Australopithecus, a branch of which from about 4 million years ago gave birth to different species and progenitors of the future new Homo genus. The first known person in the Homo genus is the Homo habilis whose oldest remains, from the Kenyan Lakes region in Africa, dating back to the beginning of the quaternary, about 2.5 million years ago, and contributed to the creation of the Olduvaian culture.

The evolution, always occurring in Africa, of Homo habilis is the Homo erectus, which has a completely erect posture, a remarkable development of the skull and above all the development of superior technology; the tools of erectus are not just objected that nature provides, or little modified but are worked, modified, adapted to needs with different techniques. Archaeological remains, mainly traces of camps, confirm that the erectus possessed fire control. This greater technological knowledge and therefore the ability to adapt to different environments is perhaps what allows the astronaut to migrate, colonizing all those parts of the world that are in direct connection with Africa: Europe and Asia. The earliest European fossil residue so far found is a mandible found in Germany in Heidelberg.

Approximately dating seems to date back to 650,000 years ago. From 200-150 thousand years ago to today: Homo sapiens, it seems independent today, starting about 200,000 years ago. The first modern humans are found at the Kibish site near the Omo River, Ethiopia, and the Qafzeh-Skhul site in present-day Israel. 12,000 years ago, after great and different expansions in the different geographic regions, the end of the last glacial era began. With the end of the last glaciation and with the break-up of a new economy based on agriculture replacing the hunting and gathering economy in the most socially evolved human groups, the traditional nomadism of the human species begins for a sedentarism that with time will be more and more pushed and the process of urbanization will be the most striking symptom.

 In prehistoric societies, the memory of the events, myths, and technical knowledge was handed down orally from generation to generation; this wealth of knowledge disappears most often with the extinction of the group. Archeology is, therefore, the only means of rebuilding prehistoric events through the examination of the material testimonies left by peoples: dwellings, utensils, waste, changes in the environment, monuments and works of art. Everything is then summed up, in a single predisposition, in one thought: Everything is born from the discovery of fire! At this point the questions arise spontaneously: Are we sure the fire was discovered by our ancestors? Can it be true that the technology of fire has been brought to Earth by Extraterrestrials intelligence? Why did human evolution and the beliefs of Mythologies have had a scary acceleration at that time?

Prehistory, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.



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Prehistory, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.