03. Prehistory

The Prehistory is the period from 2.5 million years ago with the arising of the first individuals of the genus Homo until the invention of writing around 3,500 BC. It is during this period that occurs in human evolution.

Human evolution is the evolution of homo sapiens as a distinct species from other hominids(apes). The term "human" in the context of human evolution refers to the genus Homo which includes modern humans and their close relatives (all extinct). The first individuals of the genus Homo appeared around 2.5 million years ago and evolved into Homo sapiens around 200,000 years ago.

Species Period (years ago)
Homo habilis 2,500,000 to 1,800,000
Homo erectus 1,800,000 to 700,000
Homo heidelbergensis 800,000 to 300,000
Homo neanderthalensis 250,000 to 30,000
Homo sapiens 200,000 today

The Prehistory splits in the Stone Age and Iron Ages. The Stone Age is divided into 3 periods (Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic). And the Metal Age is divided into two periods (Bronze Age and Iron Age).

Stone Age begins around 2.5 million years ago until about 5,000 BC. During this period that the home language develops, learns to use fire, starts the art and believes in magic and religious sentiments have as belief in life after death, characterized by the appearance of burial rituals and cults of dead ancestors.

Important facts of the Stone Age:

  • 200,000 BC - Onset of homo sapiens.
  • 100,000 BC - The first burial rituals of humans.
  • 70,000 BC - Traces of the cult of snakes found in Ngamiland.
  • 50,000 BC - Human develop some skills such as language, abstract, symbolism and religious thought.
  • 40,000 BC - There are plenty of fossils including elaborate burial of dead rock art and ceremonies. The Venus figurines are considered goddesses of fertility. The cave paintings in Lascaux and Chauvet are considered representative of the manifestation of religious thought.
  • 10,000 BC - End of the last glacial period.

Age of Metals covers the last two millennia prior to the appearance of writing in 3,500 BC. During this period initiates the formation of cities and subsequently the formation of states as the Mesopotamian and Egyptian. Appears the trade and agriculture gained momentum with new techniques. There was also a discovery of the use of minerals such as copper, brass and iron.


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