Ancient history is the aggregate of past events from the beginning of recorded human history and extending as far as the Early Middle Ages or the Postclassical Era. The span of recorded history is roughly 5,000 years, beginning with Sumerian Cuneiform script, the term classical antiquity is often used to refer to history in the Old World from the beginning of recorded Greek history in 776 BC. This roughly coincides with the date of the founding of Rome in 753 BC, the beginning of the history of ancient Rome. In India, ancient history includes the period of the Middle Kingdoms, and, in China. Historians have two major avenues which they take to better understand the ancient world, archaeology and the study of source texts, primary sources are those sources closest to the origin of the information or idea under study. Primary sources have been distinguished from secondary sources, which cite, comment on. Archaeology is the excavation and study of artefacts in an effort to interpret, archaeologists excavate the ruins of ancient cities looking for clues as to how the people of the time period lived. The study of the ancient cities of Harappa, Mohenjo-daro, the city of Pompeii, an ancient Roman city preserved by the eruption of a volcano in AD79. Its state of preservation is so great that it is a window into Roman culture and provided insight into the cultures of the Etruscans. The Terracotta Army, the mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor in ancient China, the discovery of Knossos by Minos Kalokairinos and Sir Arthur Evans. The discovery of Troy by Heinrich Schliemann, most of what is known of the ancient world comes from the accounts of antiquitys own historians. Although it is important to take account the bias of each ancient author. Some of the more notable ancient writers include Herodotus, Thucydides, Arrian, Plutarch, Polybius, Sima Qian, Sallust, Livy, Josephus, Suetonius, furthermore, the reliability of the information obtained from these surviving records must be considered. Few people were capable of writing histories, as literacy was not widespread in almost any culture until long after the end of ancient history, the earliest known systematic historical thought emerged in ancient Greece, beginning with Herodotus of Halicarnassus. He was also the first to distinguish between cause and immediate origins of an event, the Roman Empire was one of the ancient worlds most literate cultures, but many works by its most widely read historians are lost. Indeed, only a minority of the work of any major Roman historian has survived, prehistory is the period before written history. The early human migrations in the Lower Paleolithic saw Homo erectus spread across Eurasia 1.8 million years ago, the controlled use of fire occurred 800,000 years ago in the Middle Paleolithic. 250,000 years ago, Homo sapiens emerged in Africa, 60–70,000 years ago, Homo sapiens migrated out of Africa along a coastal route to South and Southeast Asia and reached Australia
The oldest mummy in the world, nicknamed Ötzi, 3300 BC, found with equipment considered advanced for its time, north of Bolzano in Italy
The Mediterranean in c. the 4th century BC. Phoenician cities are labelled in yellow, Greek cities in red, and other cities in grey.