This chapter is organized around the two goal posts of agriculture and civilization. Section II concludes humanity’s pre-agricultural highlights. Section III describes the Neolithic period during which people were agricultural but not yet “civilized”. Finally, the beginnings of civilization are the subject of section IV.
The Pleistocene Epoch or “ice ages” persisted until about 12 TYA, when glaciers most recently retreated to the polar zones. We now live in the present interglacial, aka the Holocene Epoch, and that brings us to the end of the geological time scale.
Archaeological time scales are not standardized by years. They differ by region, because people adopted tools and practices at different times throughout the world. The Latin names for the middle and new stone ages are the Mesolithic and Neolithic, respectively. The Neolithic is characterized by agriculture. In the Old World, many cultures then proceeded through a bronze age and entered an iron age about 3 TYA. The timeline shows dates that are typical but not universal.
(Timeline coming soon)
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