Timeline of prehistory

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This timeline of prehistory covers the time from the appearance of Homo sapiens 315,000 years ago in Africa to the invention of writing, over 5,000 years ago, with the earliest records going back to 3,200 BC. Prehistory covers the time from the Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) to the beginning of ancient history.

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

Middle Paleolithic[edit]

See Timeline of human evolution, Timeline of natural history for earlier evolutionary history.

Upper Paleolithic[edit]

"Epipaleolithic" or "Mesolithic" are terms for a transitional period between the Last Glacial Maximum and the Neolithic Revolution in Old World (Eurasian) cultures.

Lion-man sculpture (Aurignacian, 40,000–35,000 years old)


The terms "Neolithic" and "Bronze Age" are culture-specific and are mostly limited to cultures of the Old World. Many populations of the New World remain in the Mesolithic cultural stage until European contact in the modern period.

Cave painting of a battle between archers, Morella la Vella, Spain, the oldest known depiction of combat. These paintings date from 7200 to 7400 years ago.[49]

4th millennium BC[edit]

3rd millennium BC[edit]


Researchers deduced in a scientific review that "no specific point in time can currently be identified at which modern human ancestry was confined to a limited birthplace" and that current knowledge about long, continuous and complex – e.g. often non-singular, parallel, nonsimultaneous and/or gradual – emergences of characteristics is consistent with a range of evolutionary histories.[76][77] A timeline dating first occurrences and earliest evidence may therefore be an often inadequate approach for describing humanity's (pre-)history.

Post-historical prehistories[edit]

  • 3,800 years ago (1800 BC): Currently undeciphered Minoan script (Linear A) and Cypro-Minoan script developed on Crete and Cyprus.
  • 3,450 years ago (1450 BC): Mycenaean Greece, first deciphered writing in Europe
  • 3,200 years ago (1200 BC): Oracle bone script, first written records in Old Chinese
  • 3,050–2,800 years ago (1050–800 BC): Alphabetic writing; the Phoenician alphabet spreads around the Mediterranean
  • 2,300 years ago (300 BC): Maya script, the only known full writing system developed in the Americas, emerges.
  • 2,260 years ago (260 BC): Earliest deciphered written records in South Asia (Middle Indo-Aryan)
  • 1800s AD: Undeciphered Rongorongo script on Easter Island may mark the latest independent development of writing.

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]