How did humans live before written records?
Prehistoric Ages: How Humans Lived before Written Records
Humans have lived on Earth for millions of years and archaeologists have uncovered artefacts that explain life before written records
The Prehistoric period began 2.5 million years ago. This website page will inform you of the extraordinary archaeological periods: the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age. This period is famous because of the great transformations that happened during this time. From the invention of tools from bones to bronze from copper and tin, the Prehistoric periods are one of the most interesting times in history.
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The Stone Age was split into 3 periods: Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic. During the Palaeolithic period (or Old Stone Age) the use of tools was developed by our early human ancestors (who evolved around 300,000 B.C). These tools were often made of flint and created by flint knapping. Flint knapping is the sharpening, shaping and trimming of stone. Tools such as spears, hand axes, harpoons and arrowheads could be used for hunting, scraping out the guts of an animal or carving out beautiful cave art.
The early humans would often live in caves that were a little higher than ground level to protect them from predators. As well as hunting, they would gather berries, fruits and nuts as part of their diet. A trickier method of collecting food would be to fish. The humans had to stand very still and wait until the fish was close enough and then would quickly strike down and stab the fish with their harpoon. Once the food was caught, they cooked their prey, including woolly mammoths, deer and bison, using controlled fire.
Ancient humans in the Palaeolithic era were also the first to leave behind art. The people of the Stone Age used combinations of materials such as ochre, burnt bone meal and charcoal mixed into water, blood, animal fat and trees. They left behind cave art (pictures of bisons and other animals).
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During the Mesolithic period, which lasted from 10,000 BC – 8000 BC, humans continued to use small stone tools however, now they were polished and sometimes crafted with points. These stones could be attached to long wood, bone or antlers to help create tools or weapons such as spears or arrowheads. The Mesolithic period was famous for the human technology evolving their houses going from caves to huts providing better living conditions. People of this time loved to live by rivers so they could have easy access to water and fish.
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In the Neolithic period, there was a change in attitude from hunting and gathering to creating farms, domesticating animals and growing crops. During this time, families and groups of people began to stay in one place (settle) which allowed them to switch to this new way of living. Improvements were made in home construction with roundhouses being developed and an advancement in tools saw better-quality art, pottery, sewing and weaving.
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During the Bronze Age (about 3,000 B.C to 1,300 B.C), the smelting of tin and copper enabled the creation of bronze and the advancement of metalwork. Now weapons and tools were made of bronze creating a harder, sharper material to help make new structures and tools for farming.
This time period was also famous for the Beaker Culture. They were a group of people who migrated from Europe and Asia who taught the people of Britain how to make bronze. They brought their knowledge of bronze pots which were often used to drink from, store food or precious jewellery.
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The Iron Age started between 500 B.C and lasted until around 43 A.D. The discovery of ways to heat and forge iron ore, led by the Celtic people, changed the way humans lived. Although Iron was easy to make because it was readily available, bronze was more durable, and stronger, making it a better metal. Iron was used to make sharp objects for hunting, it could also be used as your spearhead, arrow or a harpoon.
During this time the Celts migrated from Europe to Britain. Celts taught the people of Britain how to make Iron. Celts lived in roundhouse, a round house hut with a thatched roof. Some had 4 rooms and some were with stables for animals. In the Iron Age, they also started to build hillforts. Hillforts were great to protect themselves from other tribes that may want to attack and steal belongings. Some examples of tribes would have been the Atrebates, Cantiaci, Catuvelluni, Dobunni, Dumnonii and Regni.
As well as advancements in houses, this period of time saw the mass production of steel tools and weapons. Agriculture (farming), art and religion all became more sophisticated, and writing systems and written documentation, including alphabets, began to emerge.
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