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The following "outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to prehistoric technology.
"Prehistoric technology – "technology that predates "recorded history. History is the study of the past using written records; it is also the record itself. Anything prior to the first written accounts of history is "prehistoric (meaning "before history"), 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, hunt, cut food, and bury their dead.
Nature of prehistoric technology
Prehistoric technology can be described as:
- "Prehistoric – "before we had written records," from the Latin word for "before," præ. Prehistory is the span of time before recorded history, that is, before the invention of writing systems.
- "Technology – making, modification, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems, and methods of organization, in order to solve a problem, improve a preexisting solution to a problem, achieve a goal, handle an applied input/output relation or perform a specific function.
Old World prehistoric technology
- "Three-age system – in archaeology and physical anthropology, the periodization of human prehistory into three consecutive time periods, each named after the main material used in its respective tool-making technologies: the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age.
- Beginning of prehistoric technology – the earliest technology began (2.5 million years) before recorded history, that is, at the beginning of the Stone Age.
- Latest prehistoric technology – the level of technology reached before true writing was introduced differed by region (and usually included proto-writing)...
- Latest prehistoric technology in the Near East – cultures in the Near East achieved the development of writing first, during their Bronze Age.
- Latest prehistoric technology in the rest of the Old World: Europe, India, and China reached Iron Age technological development before the introduction of writing there.
Stone Age technology in the Old World
- "Stone Age – broad prehistoric period, lasting roughly 2.5 million years, during which stone was widely used in the manufacture of implements with a sharp edge, a point, or a percussion surface. The period began with hominids and ended between 6000 and 2000 BCE with the advent of metalworking.
- "Paleolithic – prehistoric period of human history distinguished by the development of the most primitive stone tools discovered (Grahame Clark's Modes I and II), and covers roughly 99% of human technological prehistory.
Lower Paleolithic technology
Middle Paleolithic technology
- "Middle Paleolithic period – in Europe and the Near East during which the "Neanderthals lived (c. 300,000–28,000 years ago). Their technology is mainly the "Mousterian. The earliest evidence ("Mungo Man) of settlement in "Australia dates "to around 55,000 years ago when modern humans likely crossed from Asia by island-hopping. The "Bhimbetka rock shelters exhibit the earliest traces of human life in "India, some of which are approximately 30,000 years old.
- "Homo neanderthalensis
- "Homo sapiens – the only living "species in the genus "Homo originated in "Africa about 200,000 years ago. Greater mental capability and ability to walk erect provided freed hands for manipulating objects, which allowed for far greater use of "tools.
- "Art of the Middle Paleolithic – INSERT MISSING TEXT HERE
- Burial – intentional burial, particularly 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 were discovered in the Skhul cave at "Qafzeh, Israel with a variety of grave goods.
Upper Paleolithic Revolution
- "Upper Paleolithic Revolution – theoretical occurrence between 60,000 and 30,000 years ago, possibly the origin of language, resulting in "modern human behavior, accompanied radical advancements in technology made possible by it.
- "Behavioral modernity – a set of traits that distinguish "Homo sapiens from extinct "hominid lineages. Homo sapiens reached full behavior modernity around 50,000 years ago due to a "highly developed "brain capable of abstract "reasoning, "language, "introspection, and "problem solving.
- Tools – included "Aurignacian tools, such as stone bladed tools, tools made of antlers, and tools made of "bones.
- "Clothing – evidence, such as possible sewing needles from around 40,000 years ago and dyed "flax fibers dated 36,000 "BP found in a prehistoric cave in the "Republic of Georgia suggest that people were wearing clothes at this time. Human beings may have begun wearing clothing as far back as 190,000 years ago.
- "Art of the Upper Paleolithic – included cave painting, "sculpture such as the "Venus figurines, carvings and engravings of bone and ivory, and musical instruments such as flutes. The most common subject matter was large animals that were hunted by the people of the time.
- Mesolithic – the transitional period between the Paleolithic "hunter-gatherers, beginning with the "Holocene warm period around 11,660 "BP and ending with the "Neolithic introduction of farming, the date of which varied in each geographical region. Adaptation was required during this period due to climate changes that affected environment and the types of available food.
- "Neolithic Revolution – first agricultural revolution, representing a transition from "hunting and gathering nomadic life to an "agriculture existence. It evolved independently in six separate locations worldwide circa 10,000–7000 years "BP (8,000–5,000 "BC). The earliest known evidence exists in the tropical and subtropical areas of "southwestern/"southern Asia, "northern/"central Africa and "Central America.
- Defining characteristics
- "Architecture – included houses and villages built of "mud-brick and "wattle and daub and the construction of storage facilities, tombs and monuments.
- "Metalworking – "copper use began as early as 9000 BC in the Middle East; and a copper pendant found in northern Iraq dated to 8700 BCE.
- "Numeric counting – record keeping evolved from a system of counting using small clay tokens that began in "Sumer about 8000 BCE.
- "Proto-writing – ideographic and/or early mnemonic symbols used to convey information, probably devoid of direct linguistic content. These systems emerged in the early Neolithic period, as early as the 7th millennium BCE.
- Neolithic signs in Europe
- "Neolithic signs in China – at a range of Neolithic sites in China, small numbers of symbols of either pictorial or simple geometric nature have been unearthed which were incised into or drawn or painted on artifacts, mostly on pottery but in some instances on turtle shells, animal bones or artifacts made from bone or jade.
- "Stone tools – ground and polished tools were created during the Neolithic period.
- Religious structures – such as the "Göbekli Tepe built about 12,000 years ago.
- "Wheel – in the late Neolithic period, the wheel was introduced for making pottery.
Prehistoric Bronze Age technology in the Old World
- "Bronze Age – stage of development characterized by the use of "copper and its alloy "bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons and of developing trade networks.
Prehistoric Iron Age technology in the Old World
- "Iron Age – age characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel, which coincided with other changes in society, including differing agricultural practices, religious beliefs and artistic styles.
- Tools – best tools and weapons were made from steel.
End of prehistory and the beginning of history
Transition from proto-writing to true writing
- General developmental stages leading from proto-writing to true writing:
- Picture writing system: glyphs directly represent objects and ideas or objective and ideational situations. In connection with this the following substages may be distinguished:
- The mnemonic: glyphs primarily a reminder;
- The pictographic (pictography): glyphs represent directly an object or an objective situation such as (A) chronological, (B) notices, (C) communications, (D) totems, titles, and names, (E) religious, (F) customs, (G) historical, and (H) biographical;
- The ideographic (ideography): glyphs represent directly an idea or an ideational situation.
- Transitional system: glyphs refer not only to the object or idea which it represents but to its name as well.
- Phonetic system: glyphs refer to sounds or spoken symbols irrespective of their meanings. This resolves itself into the following substages:
- The verbal: glyph ("logogram) represents a whole word;
- The syllabic: glyph represent a syllable;
- The alphabetic: glyph represent an elementary sound.
Prehistoric technology of the Americas
The New World, or American, periods began with the crossing of the "Paleo-Indians, "Athabaskan, "Aleuts, "Inuit, and "Yupik peoples along the "Bering Land Bridge onto the North American continent. In their book, Method and Theory in American Archaeology, Gordon Willey and Philip Phillips defined five cultural stages for the Americas, including the three prehistoric "Lithic, "Archaic and "Formative stages. The historic stages are the "Classic and "Post-Classic stages.
Archaic period technology
- "Archaic – was dated from 8,000 to 2,000 years before present. People were hunters of small game, such as deer, antelope and rabbits, and gatherers of wild plants, moving seasonally to hunting and gathering sites. Late in the Archaic period, about 200-500 CE, corn was introduced into the diet and pottery-making became an occupation for storing and carrying food.
Formative stage technology
Prehistoric technologies by type
- "Prehistoric art – art produced in preliterate, prehistorical cultures beginning somewhere in very late geological history, and generally continuing until that culture either develops writing or other methods of record-keeping, or makes significant contact with another culture that has, and that makes some record of major historical events.
Domestication of animals
Language / numbers
Stone Age tools
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