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 adopted, it was not used in some human cultures until the 19th century or until the present. The end of prehistory therefore came at different dates in different places, the term is less used in discussing societies where prehistory ended recently. Sumer in Mesopotamia, the Indus valley civilization, ancient Egypt were the first civilizations to develop their own scripts and to keep historical records. 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 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 and much of Sub-Saharan Africa.
These areas with some exceptions in Pre-Columbian civilizations in the Americas, did not develop complex writing systems before the arrival of Eurasians, their prehistory reaches into recent periods. The period when a culture is written about by others, but has not developed its own writing is known as the protohistory of the culture. By definition, 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; 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 called "prehistoric". Beginning The term "prehistory" can refer to the vast span of time since the beginning of the Universe or the Earth, but more it refers to the period since life appeared on Earth, or more to the time since human-like beings appeared. End The date marking the end of prehistory is defined as the advent of the contemporary written historical record.
The date varies from region to region depending on the date when relevant records become a useful academic resource. For example, in Egypt it is accepted that prehistory ended around 3200 BCE, whereas in New Guinea the end of the prehistoric era is set much more at around 1900 common era. In Europe the 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, historians must decide how much weight to give to the highly prejudiced accounts of these "prehistoric" cultures in Greek and Roman literature. Time periods In dividing up human prehistory in Eurasia, historians use the three-age system, whereas scholars of pre-human time periods 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: Stone Age Bronze Age Iron Age 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.
The first use of the word prehistory in English, occurred in the Foreign Quarterly Review in 1836. The use of the geologic time scale for pre-human time periods, of the three-age system for human prehistory, is a system that emerged during the late nineteenth century in the work of British and Scandinavian archeologists and anthropologists; the main source for prehistory is archaeology, but some scholars are beginning to make more use of evidence from the natural and social sciences. This view has been articulated by advocates of deep history; the primary researchers into human prehistory are archaeologists and physical anthropologists who use excavation and geographic surveys, other scientific analysis to reveal and interpret the nature and behavior of pre-literate and non-literate peoples. Human population geneticists and historical linguists are providing valuable insight for these questions. 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.
Therefore, data about prehistory is provided by a wide variety of natural and social sciences, such as paleontology, archaeology, geology, comparative linguistics, 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 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. 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 sta
Experimental archaeology is a field of study which attempts to generate and test archaeological hypotheses by replicating or approximating the feasibility of ancient cultures performing various tasks or feats. It employs a number of methods, techniques and approaches, based upon archaeological source material such as ancient structures or artifacts, it is distinct from uses of primitive technology without any concern for archaeological or historical study. Living history and historical reenactment, which are undertaken as a hobby, are the non archaeological person's version of this academic discipline. One of the main forms of experimental archaeology is the creation of copies of historical structures using only accurate technologies; this is sometimes known as reconstructional archaeology. In recent years, experimental archaeology has been featured in several television productions, such as BBC's "Building the Impossible" and the PBS's Secrets of Lost Empires. Most notable were the attempts to create several of Leonardo da Vinci's designs from his sketchbooks, such as his 15th century armed fighting vehicle.
A good example is Butser Ancient Farm in the English county of Hampshire, a working replica of an Iron Age farmstead where long-term experiments in prehistoric agriculture, animal husbandry, manufacturing are held to test ideas posited by archaeologists. In Denmark, the Lejre Experimental Centre carries out more ambitious work on such diverse topics as artificial Bronze Age and Iron Age burials, prehistoric science and stone tool manufacture in the absence of flint. Other examples include: The Kon-Tiki expedition, a balsa raft built by Thor Heyerdahl, sailed from Peru to Polynesia to demonstrate the possibility of cultural exchange between South America and the Polynesian islands. Attempts to transport large stones like those used in Stonehenge over short distances using only technology that would have been available at the time; the original stones were moved from Pembrokeshire to the site on Salisbury Plain. Since the 1970s the re-construction of timber framed buildings has informed understanding of early Anglo Saxon buildings at West Stow, England.
This extensive program of research through experiment and experience continues today. The reconstruction of part of Hadrian's Wall at Vindolanda, carried out in limited time by local volunteers. Greek triremes have been reconstructed by skilled sailors from plans and archaeological remains and have been tried at sea. Attempts to manufacture steel that matches all the characteristics of Damascus steel, whose original manufacturing techniques have been lost for centuries, including computational fluid dynamics reconstructions by the University of Exeter of the Sri Lanka furnaces at Samanalawewa, thought to be the most sources for Damascus steel. Experiments using reproduction bâtons de commandement as spear throwers. Guédelon Castle, a medieval construction project located in Treigny, France. Ozark Medieval Fortress, a sister project to Guédelon The Pamunkey Project – Dr. Errett Callahan led a series of extended Late Woodland living experiences in Tidewater Virginia. Marcus Junkelmann constructed Roman devices and gear for various museums.
He tested and analyzed them in various reenactments, among them a group of legionaries in full authentic gear crossing the Alps from Augsburg to Verona. Ma'agen Michael II, A replica of a 2400 year old merchantman. Reconstruction of Lomonosov's discovery of Venus's atmosphere. Construction of a monastic community according to the ninth-century Plan of Saint Gall at Campus Galli. Janet Stephens utilizing her own skill as a hairdresser to reconstruct Roman-era hairstyles, rebutting held theories about single-prong pins being used to hold them in place. Ben Marwick trampled experimentally-produced flaked stone artefacts into sediments excavated from Malakunanja II to show that it was unlikely that they had moved extensively through the deposit during the Pleistocene. Killian Driscoll undertook a series of experiments to examine the prehistoric use of vein quartz; this involved experimental knapping to understand the fracture mechanics of the material. Other types of experimental archaeology may involve burying modern replica artifacts and ecofacts for varying lengths of time to analyse the post-depositional effects on them.
Other archaeologists have built modern earthworks and measured the effects of silting in the ditches and weathering and subsidence on the banks to understand better how ancient monuments would have looked. One example is Overton Down in England; the work of flintknappers is a kind of experimental archaeology as much has been learnt about the many different types of flint tools through the hands-on approach of making them. Experimental archaeologists have equipped modern professional butchers and lumberjacks with replica flint tools to judge how effective they would have been for certain tasks. Use wear traces on the modern flint tools are compared to similar traces on archaeological artifacts, making probability hypotheses on the possible kind of use feasible. Hand axes
Middle Stone Age
The Middle Stone Age was a period of African prehistory between the Early Stone Age and the Later Stone Age. It is considered to have begun around 280,000 years ago and ended around 50–25,000 years ago; the beginnings of particular MSA stone tools have their origins as far back as 550–500,000 years ago and as such some researchers consider this to be the beginnings of the MSA. The MSA is mistakenly understood to be synonymous with the Middle Paleolithic of Europe due to their contemporaneous time span, the Middle Paleolithic of Europe represents an different hominin population, Homo neanderthalensis, than the MSA of Africa, which did not have Neanderthal populations. Additionally, current archaeological research in Africa has yielded much evidence to suggest that modern human behavior and cognition was beginning to develop much earlier in Africa during the MSA than it was in Europe during the Middle Paleolithic; the MSA is associated with both anatomically modern humans as well as archaic Homo sapiens, sometimes referred to as Homo helmei.
Early physical evidence comes from the Gademotta Formation in Ethiopia, the Kapthurin Formation in Kenya and Kathu Pan in South Africa. There are MSA archaeological sites from across the African continent, conventionally divided into five regions: northern Africa, comprising parts of the modern countries of Morocco, Algeria and Libya. In northern and western Africa, the wet-dry cycles of the modern Sahara desert has led to fruitful archaeological sites followed by barren soil and vice versa. Preservation in these two regions can vary, yet the sites that have been uncovered document the adaptive nature of early humans to climatically unstable environments. Eastern Africa represents some of the most reliable dates, due to the use of radiocarbon dating on volcanic ash deposits, as well as some of the earliest MSA sites. Faunal preservation, however, is not spectacular, standardization in site excavation and lithic classification was, until lacking. Unlike northern Africa, shifts between lithic technologies were not nearly as pronounced due to more favorable climatic conditions that would have allowed for more continuous occupation of sites.
Central Africa reflects similar patterning to eastern Africa, yet more archaeological research of the region is required. Southern Africa consists of many cave sites, most of which show punctuated starts and stops in stone tool technology. Research in southern Africa has been continuous and quite standardized, allowing for reliable comparisons between sites in the region. Much of the archaeological evidence for the origins of modern human behavior is traced back to sites in this region, including Blombos Cave, Howiesons Poort, Still Bay, Pinnacle Point; the term "Middle Stone Age" was proposed to the African Archaeological Congress by Goodwin and Van Riet Lowe in 1929. The use of these terms was abandoned in 1965. Although the term remains in use in the context of sub-Saharan Africa, beginning with a transitional late Acheulean period known as the Fauresmith industry; the Fauresmith industry is poorly dated, according to Herries beginning around 511–435 kya. This time, rather than the actual end of the Achaeulean around 130 kya is taken as the beginning of the MSA.
The MSA so defined is associated with the gradual replacement of archaic humans by anatomically modern humans. In a different convention, MSA refers to sites characterized by the use of Levallois methods for flake production, to the exclusion of Acheulean sites with large cleavers or handaxes. Following McBrearty and Tryon, the term "early MSA" refers to sites predating the 126 kya interglacial, "later MSA" refers to site younger than 126 kya. In this convention, Fauresmith sites of 500 to 300 kya are within the ESA, the MSA begins after about 280 kya and is associated with H. sapiens, the earliest reliably dated MSA site in East Africa being Gademotta in Ethiopia, at 276 kya. The Middle Awash valley of Ethiopia and the Central Rift Valley of Kenya constituted a major center for behavioural innovation, it is that the large terrestrial mammal biomass of these regions supported substantial human populations with subsistence and manufacturing patterns similar to those of ethnographically known foragers.
Archaeological evidence from eastern Africa extending from the Rift Valley from Ethiopia to northern Tanzania represents the largest archaeological evidence of the shift from the Late Acheulian to the Middle Stone Age tool technologies. This transition is characterized by stratigraphic layering of Acheulian stone tools, a bifacial handaxe technology and contemporaneous with MSA technologies, such as Levallois tools, flaked tools, pointed flakes, smaller bifaces that are projectile in form, and, on rare occasions, hafted tools. Evidence of the gradual displacement of Acheulian by MSA technologies is further supported by this layering and contemporaneous placement, as well as by the earliest appearance of MSA technologies at Gademotta and the latest Acheulian technologies at the Bouri Formation of Ethiopia, dated to 154 to 160 kya; this suggests a possible overlap of 100-150 thousand years. Late Acheulean artefacts associated with Homo sapiens have been found in South African cave sites; the Cave of Hearths and Montague Cave in South Africa contain evidence of Acheulian technologies, as well as MSA technologies, however there is no evidence of crossover in
History is the study of the past as it is described in written documents. Events occurring before written record are considered prehistory, it is an umbrella term that relates to past events as well as the memory, collection, organization and interpretation of information about these events. Scholars who write about history are called historians. History can refer to the academic discipline which uses a narrative to examine and analyse a sequence of past events, objectively determine the patterns of cause and effect that determine them. Historians sometimes debate the nature of history and its usefulness by discussing the study of the discipline as an end in itself and as a way of providing "perspective" on the problems of the present. Stories common to a particular culture, but not supported by external sources, are classified as cultural heritage or legends, because they do not show the "disinterested investigation" required of the discipline of history. Herodotus, a 5th-century BC Greek historian is considered within the Western tradition to be the "father of history", along with his contemporary Thucydides, helped form the foundations for the modern study of human history.
Their works continue to be read today, the gap between the culture-focused Herodotus and the military-focused Thucydides remains a point of contention or approach in modern historical writing. In East Asia, a state chronicle, the Spring and Autumn Annals was known to be compiled from as early as 722 BC although only 2nd-century BC texts have survived. Ancient influences have helped spawn variant interpretations of the nature of history which have evolved over the centuries and continue to change today; the modern study of history is wide-ranging, includes the study of specific regions and the study of certain topical or thematical elements of historical investigation. History is taught as part of primary and secondary education, the academic study of history is a major discipline in university studies; the word history comes from the Ancient Greek ἱστορία, meaning'inquiry','knowledge from inquiry', or'judge'. It was in that sense; the ancestor word ἵστωρ is attested early on in Homeric Hymns, the Athenian ephebes' oath, in Boiotic inscriptions.
The Greek word was borrowed into Classical Latin as historia, meaning "investigation, research, description, written account of past events, writing of history, historical narrative, recorded knowledge of past events, narrative". History was borrowed from Latin into Old English as stær, but this word fell out of use in the late Old English period. Meanwhile, as Latin became Old French, historia developed into forms such as istorie and historie, with new developments in the meaning: "account of the events of a person's life, account of events as relevant to a group of people or people in general, dramatic or pictorial representation of historical events, body of knowledge relative to human evolution, narrative of real or imaginary events, story", it was from Anglo-Norman that history was borrowed into Middle English, this time the loan stuck. It appears in the 13th-century Ancrene Wisse, but seems to have become a common word in the late 14th century, with an early attestation appearing in John Gower's Confessio Amantis of the 1390s: "I finde in a bok compiled | To this matiere an old histoire, | The which comth nou to mi memoire".
In Middle English, the meaning of history was "story" in general. The restriction to the meaning "the branch of knowledge that deals with past events. With the Renaissance, older senses of the word were revived, it was in the Greek sense that Francis Bacon used the term in the late 16th century, when he wrote about "Natural History". For him, historia was "the knowledge of objects determined by space and time", that sort of knowledge provided by memory. In an expression of the linguistic synthetic vs. analytic/isolating dichotomy, English like Chinese now designates separate words for human history and storytelling in general. In modern German and most Germanic and Romance languages, which are solidly synthetic and inflected, the same word is still used to mean both'history' and'story'. Historian in the sense of a "researcher of history" is attested from 1531. In all European languages, the substantive history is still used to mean both "what happened with men", "the scholarly study of the happened", the latter sense sometimes distinguished with a capital letter, or the word historiography.
The adjective historical is attested from 1661, historic from 1669. Historians write in the context of their own time, with due regard to the current dominant ideas of how to interpret the past, sometimes write to provide lessons for their own society. In the words of Benedetto Croce, "All history is contemporary history". History is facilitated by the formation of a "true discourse of past" through the production of narrative and analysis of past events relating to the human race; the modern discipline of history is dedicated to the institutional production of this discourse. All events that are remembered and preserved in some authentic form constitute the historical record; the task of histori
Prehistoric technology is technology that predates recorded history. History is the study of the past using written records. Anything prior to the first written accounts of history is prehistoric, including earlier technologies. About 2.5 million years before writing was developed, technology began with the earliest hominids who used stone tools, which they may have used to start fires and bury their dead. There are several factors that made the evolution of prehistoric technology necessary. One of the key factors is behavioral modernity of the developed brain of Homo sapiens capable of abstract reasoning, language and problem solving; the advent of agriculture resulted in lifestyle changes from nomadic lifestyles to ones lived in homes, with domesticated animals, land farmed using more varied and sophisticated tools. Art, architecture and religion evolved over the course of the prehistoric periods; the Stone Age is a broad prehistoric period during which stone was used in the manufacture of implements with a sharp edge, a point, or a percussion surface.
The period lasted 2.5 million years, from the time of early hominids to Homo sapiens in the Pleistocene era, ended between 6000 and 2000 BCE with the advent of metalworking. The Stone Age lifestyle was that of hunter-gatherers who traveled to hunt game and gather wild plants, with minimal changes in technology; as the last glacial period of the current ice age neared its end, large animals like the mammoth and bison antiquus became extinct and the climate changed. Humans adapted by maximizing the resources in local environments and eating a wider range of wild plants and hunting or catching smaller game. Domestication of plants and animals with early stages in the Old World Mesolithic and New World Archaic periods led to significant changes and reliance on agriculture in the Old World Neolithic and New World Formative stage; the agricultural life led to significant technological advancements. Although Paleolithic cultures left no written records, the shift from nomadic life to settlement and agriculture can be inferred from a range of archaeological evidence.
Such evidence includes ancient tools, cave paintings, other prehistoric art, such as the Venus of Willendorf. Human remains provide direct evidence, both through the examination of bones, the study of mummies. Though concrete evidence is limited and historians have been able to form significant inferences about the lifestyle and culture of various prehistoric peoples, the role technology played in their lives; the Lower Paleolithic period was the earliest subdivision of the Old Stone Age. It spans the time from around 2.5 million years ago when the first evidence of craft and use of stone tools by hominids appears in the current archaeological record, until around 300,000 years ago, spanning the Oldowan and Acheulean lithic technology. Early human used stone tool technology, such as a hand axe, similar to that used by primates, which are found to have intelligence levels of modern children aged 3 to 5 years. Intelligence and use of technology did not change much for millions of years; the first "Homo" species began with Homo habilis about 2.4 to 1.5 million years ago.
Homo habilis created. Homo ergaster lived in eastern and southern Africa about 2.5 to 1.7 million years ago and used more diverse and sophisticated stone tools than its predecessor, Homo habilis, including having refined the inherited Oldowan tools and developed the first Acheulean bifacial axes. Homo erectus lived about 1.8 to 1.3 million years ago in West Asia and Africa and is thought to be the first hominid to hunt in coordinated groups, use complex tools, care for infirm or weaker companions. Homo antecessor the earliest hominid in Northern Europe lived from 1.2 million to 800,000 years ago and used stone tools. Homo heidelbergensis lived between 600,000 and 400,000 years ago and used stone tool technology similar the Acheulean tools used by Homo erectus. European and Asian sites dating back 1.5 million years ago seem to indicate controlled use of fire by Homo erectus. A northern Israel site from about 690,000 to 790,000 years ago suggests. Homo heidelbergensis may have been the first species to bury their dead about 500,000 years ago.
The Middle Paleolithic period occurred in Europe and the Near East, during which the Neanderthals lived. The earliest evidence of settlement in Australia dates to around 40,000 years ago when modern humans crossed from Asia by island-hopping; the Bhimbetka rock shelters exhibit the earliest traces of human life in India, some of which are 30,000 years old. Homo neanderthalensis used Mousterian Stone tools that date back to around 300,000 years ago and include smaller, knife-like and scraper tools, they buried their dead in shallow graves along with stone tools and animal bones, although the reasons and significance of the burials are disputed. Homo sapiens, the only living species in the genus Homo, originated in Africa about 200,000 years ago; as compared to their predecessors, Homo sapiens had greater mental capability and ability to walk erect, which provided freed hands for manipulating objects and far greater use of tools. There was art created during this period. Intentional burial with grave goods, may be one of the earliest detectable forms of religious practice since it may signify a "concern for the dead that transcends daily life."
The earliest undisputed human burial so far dates back 130,000 years. Human skeletal remains stained with red ochre w
History of agriculture
The history of agriculture records the domestication of plants and animals and the development and dissemination of techniques for raising them productively. Agriculture began independently in different parts of the globe, included a diverse range of taxa. At least eleven separate regions of the Old and New World were involved as independent centers of origin. Wild grains were collected and eaten from at least 20,000 BC. From around 9500 BC, the eight Neolithic founder crops – emmer wheat, einkorn wheat, hulled barley, lentils, bitter vetch, chick peas, flax – were cultivated in the Levant. Rye may have been cultivated earlier but this remains controversial. Rice was domesticated in China by 6200 BC with earliest known cultivation from 5700 BC, followed by mung and azuki beans. Pigs were domesticated in Mesopotamia around 11,000 BC, followed by sheep between 11,000 BC and 9000 BC. Cattle were domesticated from the wild aurochs in the areas of modern Turkey and Pakistan around 8500 BC. Sugarcane and some root vegetables were domesticated in New Guinea around 7000 BC.
Sorghum was domesticated in the Sahel region of Africa by 5000 BC. In the Andes of South America, the potato was domesticated between 8000 BC and 5000 BC, along with beans, llamas and guinea pigs. Bananas were hybridized in the same period in Papua New Guinea. In Mesoamerica, wild teosinte was domesticated to maize by 4000 BC. Cotton was domesticated in Peru by 3600 BC. Camels were domesticated late around 3000 BC; the Bronze Age, from c. 3300 BC, witnessed the intensification of agriculture in civilizations such as Mesopotamian Sumer, ancient Egypt, the Indus Valley Civilisation of South Asia, ancient China, ancient Greece. During the Iron Age and era of classical antiquity, the expansion of ancient Rome, both the Republic and the Empire, throughout the ancient Mediterranean and Western Europe built upon existing systems of agriculture while establishing the manorial system that became a bedrock of medieval agriculture. In the Middle Ages, both in the Islamic world and in Europe, agriculture was transformed with improved techniques and the diffusion of crop plants, including the introduction of sugar, rice and fruit trees such as the orange to Europe by way of Al-Andalus.
After the voyages of Christopher Columbus in 1492, the Columbian exchange brought New World crops such as maize, sweet potatoes, manioc to Europe, Old World crops such as wheat, barley and turnips, livestock including horses, cattle and goats to the Americas. Irrigation, crop rotation, fertilizers were introduced soon after the Neolithic Revolution and developed much further in the past 200 years, starting with the British Agricultural Revolution. Since 1900, agriculture in the developed nations, to a lesser extent in the developing world, has seen large rises in productivity as human labour has been replaced by mechanization, assisted by synthetic fertilizers and selective breeding; the Haber-Bosch process allowed the synthesis of ammonium nitrate fertilizer on an industrial scale increasing crop yields. Modern agriculture has raised social and environmental issues including water pollution, genetically modified organisms and farm subsidies. In response, organic farming developed in the twentieth century as an alternative to the use of synthetic pesticides.
Scholars have developed a number of hypotheses to explain the historical origins of agriculture. Studies of the transition from hunter-gatherer to agricultural societies indicate an antecedent period of intensification and increasing sedentism. Current models indicate that wild stands, harvested started to be planted, but were not domesticated. Localised climate change is the favoured explanation for the origins of agriculture in the Levant; when major climate change took place after the last ice age, much of the earth became subject to long dry seasons. These conditions favoured annual plants which die off in the long dry season, leaving a dormant seed or tuber. An abundance of storable wild grains and pulses enabled hunter-gatherers in some areas to form the first settled villages at this time. Early people began altering communities of flora and fauna for their own benefit through means such as fire-stick farming and forest gardening early. Exact dates are hard to determine, as people collected and ate seeds before domesticating them, plant characteristics may have changed during this period without human selection.
An example is the semi-tough rachis and larger seeds of cereals from just after the Younger Dryas in the early Holocene in the Levant region of the Fertile Crescent. Monophyletic characteristics were attained without any human intervention, implying that apparent domestication of the cereal rachis could have occurred quite naturally. Agriculture began independently in different parts of the globe, included a diverse range of taxa. At least 11 separate regions of the Old and New World were involved as independent centers of origin; some of the earliest known domestications were of animals. Domestic pigs had multiple centres of origin in Eurasia, including Europe, East Asia and Southwest Asia, where wild boar were first domesticated about 10,500 years ago. Sheep were domesticated in Mesopotamia between 11,000 BC and 9000 BC. Cattle were domesticated from the wild aurochs in the areas of modern Turkey and Pakistan around 8500 BC. Camels were domesticated late around 3000 BC, it was not until after 9500 BC that the eight so-called founder crops of agriculture appear: first emmer and einkorn wheat hulled barley, lenti
The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric period during which stone was used to make implements with an edge, a point, or a percussion surface. The period lasted 3.4 million years and ended between 8700 BCE and 2000 BCE with the advent of metalworking. Stone Age artifacts include tools used by modern humans and by their predecessor species in the genus Homo, by the earlier contemporaneous genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus. Bone tools were used during this period as well but are preserved in the archaeological record; the Stone Age is further subdivided by the types of stone tools in use. The Stone Age is the first period in the three-age system of archaeology, which divides human technological prehistory into three periods: The Stone Age The Bronze Age The Iron Age The Stone Age is contemporaneous with the evolution of the genus Homo, the only exception being the early Stone Age, when species prior to Homo may have manufactured tools. According to the age and location of the current evidence, the cradle of the genus is the East African Rift System toward the north in Ethiopia, where it is bordered by grasslands.
The closest relative among the other living primates, the genus Pan, represents a branch that continued on in the deep forest, where the primates evolved. The rift served as a conduit for movement into southern Africa and north down the Nile into North Africa and through the continuation of the rift in the Levant to the vast grasslands of Asia. Starting from about 4 million years ago a single biome established itself from South Africa through the rift, North Africa, across Asia to modern China, called "transcontinental'savannahstan'" recently. Starting in the grasslands of the rift, Homo erectus, the predecessor of modern humans, found an ecological niche as a tool-maker and developed a dependence on it, becoming a "tool equipped savanna dweller"; the oldest indirect evidence found of stone tool use is fossilised animal bones with tool marks. Archaeological discoveries in Kenya in 2015, identifying the oldest known evidence of hominin use of tools to date, have indicated that Kenyanthropus platyops may have been the earliest tool-users known.
The oldest stone tools were excavated from the site of Lomekwi 3 in West Turkana, northwestern Kenya, date to 3.3 million years old. Prior to the discovery of these "Lomekwian" tools, the oldest known stone tools had been found at several sites at Gona, Ethiopia, on the sediments of the paleo-Awash River, which serve to date them. All the tools come from the Busidama Formation, which lies above a disconformity, or missing layer, which would have been from 2.9 to 2.7 mya. The oldest sites containing tools are dated to 2.6–2.55 mya. One of the most striking circumstances about these sites is that they are from the Late Pliocene, where previous to their discovery tools were thought to have evolved only in the Pleistocene. Excavators at the locality point out that: "...the earliest stone tool makers were skilled flintknappers.... The possible reasons behind this seeming abrupt transition from the absence of stone tools to the presence thereof include... gaps in the geological record."The species who made the Pliocene tools remains unknown.
Fragments of Australopithecus garhi, Australopithecus aethiopicus and Homo Homo habilis, have been found in sites near the age of the Gona tools. In July 2018, scientists reported the discovery in China of the oldest stone tools outside Africa, estimated at 2.12 million years old. Innovation of the technique of smelting ore began the Bronze Age; the first most significant metal manufactured was bronze, an alloy of copper and tin, each of, smelted separately. The transition from the Stone Age to the Bronze Age was a period during which modern people could smelt copper, but did not yet manufacture bronze, a time known as the Copper Age, or more technically the Chalcolithic, "copper-stone" age; the Chalcolithic by convention is the initial period of the Bronze Age. The Bronze Age was followed by the Iron Age; the transition out of the Stone Age occurred between 6000 BCE and 2500 BCE for much of humanity living in North Africa and Eurasia. The first evidence of human metallurgy dates to between the 5th and 6th millennium BCE in the archaeological sites of Majdanpek and Pločnik in modern-day Serbia, though not conventionally considered part of the Chalcolithic or "Copper Age", this provides the earliest known example of copper metallurgy.
Note the Rudna Glava mine in Serbia. Ötzi the Iceman, a mummy from about 3300 BCE carried with him a flint knife. In regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa, the Stone Age was followed directly by the Iron Age; the Middle East and southeastern Asian regions progressed past Stone Age technology around 6000 BCE. Europe, the rest of Asia became post-Stone Age societies by about 4000 BCE; the proto-Inca cultures of South America continued at a Stone Age level until around 2000 BCE, when gold and silver made their entrance. The Americas notably did not develop a widespread behavior of smelting Bronze or Iron after the Stone Age period, although the technology existed. Stone tool manufacture continued after the Stone Age ended in a given area. In Europe and North America, millstones were in use until well into the 20th century, still are in many parts of the world; the terms "Stone Age", "Bronze Age", "Iron Age" were never meant to suggest that advancement and time periods in prehistory are only measured by the type of tool material, rather than, for