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Prehistoric man - early Homo sapiens timeline

Prehistory (before history) is the name given to early times about which we have no written records. We know about such times mainly from the objects people made (see Archaeology). The discovery of writing occurred when craftsmen and merchants came into existence and towns were built. Prehistoric man did not live in towns; he was a wandering huntsman and later a villager.

the skull - early Homo sapien timeline     tools - early Homo sapien timeline

Prehistoric man - early Homo sapiens timeline

A reconstruction of the skull of Pithecanthropus, a primitive man who lived about half a million years ago (right). Prehistoric men once used stone and flint tools. The flints and arrowheads  were discovered at a prehistoric lakeside settlement (left).

Man is unique among the animals because he can make tools and talk. By talking, men passed their skills on to others. Man advanced as he learned to use new tools, to make more and better things. Prehistory is divided into periods named after the material Man used for his tools: Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages. Man's advance was very slow at first, so the long Stone Age is divided into the Paleolithic (old stone), Mesolithic (middle stone) and Neolithic (new stone) ages.

tips of spears - early Homo sapien timeline hunting baboons - early Homo sapien timeline

Prehistoric man - Homo sapiens timeline

Some early men hardened the tips of spears by fire (right). The Australopithecus may have hunted baboons with primitive weapons.(left).

Paleolithic hunters lived during the Ice Ages, when mammoths roamed the margins of the glaciers in Europe, Asia and North America. For hundreds of thousands of years they gradually improved their flint tools. As the last Ice Age ended, about 10000 B.C., Mesolithic societies appeared. The people fished and gathered food. They domesticated dogs. Most fish traps, nets and knots date back to Mesolithic times. The Neolithic Age began when women in western Asia learned to farm, to make pots which held food, and to spin and weave. The men continued to hunt.

The Stone Age - old branch in timeline - ended when Homo sapiens learned to melt ore and make metal. Copper was smelted first. Mixed with tin it made the stronger bronze. This advance coincided with the invention of the plow and the discovery of how to use animals to drag plows and sleds. Soon wheels were invented and wheeled carts and chariots appeared. Iron, a much harder metal than bronze, began to be widely used about 1000 B.C. Civilization first appeared in Asia.

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